When you hear the phrase, “everything’s fine,” we immediately understand it as emotional shorthand. In daily life, we depend on those perfunctory clichés (hope all is well, good to hear from you, etc.) to spare ourselves from the psychological unpacking that the truth requires. For that, there’s art. For that, there’s ‘Everything’s Fine‘ from Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, a jagged, acerbic odyssey that brilliantly riffs on this dystopian zeitgeist.
Released on Mello Music Group, this album replaces that reflexive cliché with honest and eloquent tangents. It’s specific and subtle in its execution, achieving equilibrium between lackadaisical detours to smell the flowers and the frantic acknowledgement that there’s an inferno raging outside.
It’s rare to find a record where two rappers are so seamlessly intertwined. Yes, that’s partially a by-product of the teamwork that goes into being in any normal relationship where you wake, sleep, and dream together. But the album also bears the hallmarks of two singular creative geniuses trading bars, collaborating on beats, and combining fun with internal therapy and external observations. It features indelible cameos from Denmark Vessey, Grammy Award winner Anna Wise, Your Old Droog and Big Tone, as well as comics Ashok “Dap” Kondabolu, John Hodgman, Michael Che, Nick Offerman, and Hannibal Burress.
In the streaming era, we tend to naturally overlook albums that require multiple listens. This is a record that will grab you on first listen, but it’s greatness only reveals itself through its careful construction, slick wordplay, and esoteric allusions. It’s spontaneous and free, yet refined and meticulous. Even if everything is abject, it’s a reminder that music can transcend.