Portland has incredible indie and punk rock legacies tied to its hipster culture, but ask any local and they’ll tell you that there is a burgeoning underground hip hop scene that is stronger than it has ever been. While some artists are just trying to have a good time, others are driven by a higher purpose to create their art and pursue a career. Que’s music decidedly lands in the latter camp. A crooner and a rapper, he has all the potential to be the next Portland artist to enter the limelight.
It’s hard to identify Que as either a rapper or a singer, as his music combines both of these elements. Ultimately you could call him a melodist. Everything from his cadences to the beats, and the texture of his vocals, contain natural melodicism that is then amplified by the catchiness of his artistry.
Emotionally-laden but never sappy, Que’s songs are passionate and poignant, but also float nicely through the mind. Listening to a song like “Hold That Thought”, from the album “Why Wait”, is like signing up for musical body massage; you’re a little taut and tense at first but, but as soon as the music kicks, it’s ultimately very soothing and cathartic.
Que’s lyrics are also often freewheeling which, when paired with his drum-tight vocals, help keep his tracks from sinking due to any emotional or sentimental baggage they may carry. His multi-faceted pool of influences has also led Que to amass a musically diverse pool of songs with vastly different vibes.
The single “Worry Bout It”, has every bit of the intrigue of melodic rap while maintaining a core of R&B and pop catchiness and easy listenability. With its mellow electronic beat and smooth vocals, the song undoubtedly deserves the attention it has received.
To strike this balance, Que uses everything inside and outside of the lyrics to make the messages they contain more digestible. He is careful when choosing everything from his beats to flow patterns that catch the ear, in order to make the music as relatable and as accessible as possible.
In his lyrics, Que also strikes a balance between the embrace of freedom and the innate search for love. His commentary does not center on ignoring norms, but rather on bending them in the interest of freedom and independence. Cataloging and unpacking what bothers Que, is his path to freedom.
Que’s honesty as a lyricist, his golden ear for a flow and melody, and his ambition, is proof that he’s on a quest to improve himself. “Worry Bout It” does the job of a great follow-up release: It builds on what came before it and opens up new avenues for the artist to pursue in the future.
Vocally, Que is firmly invested, without forcing things, while the track is infectious from the jump. Superbly produced, beyond the slick production work, this is a well-rounded song, with Que sharing the desires of his heart, and the thoughts pursuing his mind. Like many of his other songs, “Worry Bout It” offers ample hit-potential.