words by Eamon Whalen
photo by Katrina Jayne
This summer I spent an afternoon with some of the most promising Hip Hop talent in Chicago, the anachronistic trio Hurt Everybody. From where I sat, their bond as friends seemed to be as strong as their bond as bandmates. That's why it took me by surprise when they recently announced that the forthcoming Potion(s) EP with Mick Jenkins would be their last as a group. They've been mum on reasons behind the split, so I can only speculate that Qari, Supa Bwe and Mulatto Beats thought forging solo careers would be the best option going forward. After all, Rap groups are inherently tough to maintain. One must forego creative autonomy and reign in their ego, a task that's difficult for an artist in any creative field.
One of the most effective parts of Hurt Everybody as a group was the interplay on the mic between Supa Bwe and Qari. The contrast, as Supa succinctly put it, was like a "sniper rifle" and a "bazooka." Supa was the brash, antagonistic missile of the group, while Qari's verses were vivid, detail oriented and intimately sensitive of his surroundings. On his first post-Hurt release, Caterpillar, Butterfly Qari taps into that sensitivity. There are butterflies in his stomach and he's scatter-brained as he grapples with how to put his best foot forward as a young father in a city where street violence persists, and the state terror of Homan Square looms even larger.