It’s been a year or so since my last visit, but in the last week I’ve gotten to hang out with a few hip hop artists. My first encounter with DJ Qualls was on a Friday night for one of those “we’re back, we’re cool” nights that DJ’s are usually so damn good at. My first encounter with Tophat was on another Thursday night and it was the first time I’ve had an opportunity to see the singer (I haven’t yet had the chance to check out her full album yet). For some reason both DJ Qualls and Qualls were from the same town as me and they invited me to DJ a free set. And my first response to this was “I don’t know what that is, but if I wanted to do something like that I don’t think I’d be here doing this”.
One thing I noticed was that DJ Qualls is much more comfortable in his own skin than Tophat was.
I think that’s the point: Qualls is able to be happy where he is, no matter where he is. A couple of months ago when I saw her perform in Nashville I thought she’d be way more confident as an artist because she was clearly a big name. But she was still a lot funnier (and maybe a bit more authentic) than she was as someone I’d come to know over time. And Qualls, while perhaps being more polished than Tophat, is also a more confident performer.
In addition to having a similar voice, Qualls and Tophat are obviously incredibly talented; Tophat even seems to be a little faster than Qualls…so they should be able to make music together. Even though Qualls is clearly better at DJing than Tophat, I still think she could be an awesome MC. Both have an amazing sense of rhyme and a great ability to hook and hook out with something so simple and to the point. Even though I’m a big fan of Qualls’s own music, we never actually really played together before we both played in Nashville together.
Tophat is obviously a very talented singer; I think she’s got her own unique style, but I don’t think her voice will ever be on the same level as Qualls’. But you don’t want a singer to be too raw, so Qualls just goes in there and puts her own thing together. And while I’m sure Tophat is still learning as a singer,
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