As the Chicago stop on Kota the Friend’s Flight Night Festival approaches, it is essential to remember the true purpose of the tour, and of the fltbys brand. That mission is clearly restated in a fltbys Instagram Post:
“Ever since 2008 we’ve been giving people the opportunity to get on stage, when no one else was giving the opportunity,” said Kota. “Fltbys has always been a young company of people who just want to do something but have no platform.”
Embracing the concept of connecting up-and-coming talent to their community, we will showcase a stacked lineup of opening acts in Chicago, before Kota takes the stage at The Metro on April 29th. One of those performers will be vocally agile, and insightful rapper Joel Q.
Joel Q is from the Roseland/West Pullman area of Southside Chicago. He very much fits and expands the mold of some of his cities most celebrated acts. Lyrical, self-aware and poetic, Joel Q creates from a place that is authentic and socially conscious. You can feel his respect for Chicago’s rich hip-hop tradition, and desire to better his community.
“Being from the Southside is something to be proud of but also a place where dreams don’t come true often for various reason. So, I look at myself as an example to my peers and neighborhood overall…”
Joel Q’s talent and potential have not gone unnoticed. In 2021, Q won a giveaway contest by Remixd Magazine and Cozz, appearing on the Dreamville rapper’s social media and receiving exclusive merch. A co-sign from a star like Cozz speaks volumes to the ability and commercial viability of Joel Q.
Joel Q’s crystal-clear vocals, and smooth delivery allow a listener to appreciate his advanced storytelling and wordplay. He deftly pairs bars with beats, using superb cadence and silky switch-ups to touch all corners of each instrumental. While vocal performance is certainly a strength, Joel Q differentiates himself most through compelling songwriting. Socially aware, specific, but never self-important, he weaves intricate tapestries of his city, experiences and hopes for community growth.
Since 2017, Joel Q has released four studio albums, and a multitude of singles and features. His prolific nature, and work ethic are clear through consistent progression and growth as an artist. Joel Q’s propensity for strong writing are most clear when addressing the stark realities of Southside Chicago and the paths available to uplift its people and the community. Q took the time to highlight a recent track and project that he felt best represent him as an artist.
“I think my project Crazy Road to Glory and one of my latest songs Champion Pt. 3 best represent who I am as a person and an artist. Crazy Road to Glory was written for independent artists and my fans to give more insight into my mental process of chasing this dream that’s not promised unless you keep going. Champion 3 also represents me well because I am a champion to myself and to my community. Being from the Southside is something to be proud of but also a place where dreams don’t come true often for various reason. So, I look at myself as an example to my peers and neighborhood overall of somebody who kept going, still went to school (College) still work a job (teacher) but I won’t stop because I believe in myself and now, they do to.”
This self-belief will not only serve Joel Q personally as he looks to progress his career as an emcee. Doing so will also provide scaffolding for the people of his community who seek to pursue similar dreams.
Joel Q continues to gain more exposure but understand the grind necessary to make a career out of music as an independent. While there are certainly challenges, he is gaining more and more confidence in the reality of reaching new heights autonomously.
“I’m learning to be more appreciative of being independent. Early on in my music career, being an independent artist was something that I didn’t plan on being for long due to the lack of knowledge I had of the industry and the business side of it. However, after doing my homework and really understanding the power indie artist have combined with my work ethic, I began to embrace the position and take on the challenges that come with it. One of the biggest challenges for me is not having resources at hand to best represent you for opportunities and being able to financially balance being a civilian and artist at the same time.”
An opportunity like Flight Night includes access to a network of artists, industry professionals and fans. It could be just the boost Joel Q needs to take his career to the next level.
An opportunity to share a stage with Kota the Friend does not come every day. Joel Q understands the good fortune of the moment, but also that he earned it.
“It’s just a blessing man. I am very appreciative of this opportunity because moments like don’t happen often especially for artist like myself. In all honesty, I was still in slight disbelief even after the email was sent confirming that I was part of the show. It’s just one of those moments where I was reminded that my strong support and hard work/talent was not unnoticed. So, I’m thankful for it all.”
Joel Q is positioned to wow fans with his indelible rap repertoire. Next Friday, he will share his talents with the city that made him.
Stay tuned as we will be highlighting each local act on the roster for Chicago Flight Night. Limited tickets are available.