Written by: PrimeFortune Staff
On Qari and GreenSLLIME’s first collaborative tape - Operation Hennessy - Qari’s rhymes roll over each other like waves on top of GreenSLLIME’s mesmerizing beats. The tape sounds as if they were watching Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic” in the studio, as samples from the film fill every nook and cranny in GreenSLLIME’s beats. “The Life Aquatic” may be an indie film telling the story of Steve Zissou, but on the tape, Qari and GreenSLLIME use the samples to tell a different story.
Right off the bat during the opening title track, Qari proclaims “this ain’t no whiskey, this is Operation Hennessy.” As Hennessy is associated with Black culture and whiskey with white culture, Qari is saying that this music is not a part of white culture, and him and GreenSLLIME want to make that clear. This opening to the tape begins us on a story about Qari, and his quest (or as he calls it, an operation) to steal hipster culture from white people.
It's no secret that white people like Game of Thrones. This is an undisputed fact of our times. But, on “Billy Blanks,” Qari begins to describe where he’s from as a land where people murder dance and sell percocets while he watches Game of Thrones. Throughout the tape, Qari describes living in Chicago and the violence and drugs that Black communities deal with, and juxtaposes it with discussing trademark hipster things such as using Air Bnb, and watching Game of Thrones. I mean the tape’s whole theme, Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic,” is about as quintessentially hipster a movie as you can find. But Qari doesn’t think that art should only be reserved for white hipsters, he wants it for himself and his people. Qari and GreenSLLIME repurpose the samples of The Life Aquatic into their own Black art, and in turn have created something completely new and fresh. He continues to describe this on “Rothschild Liquors.” When talking about struggle to his Day 1’s, Qari raps “this shit ain’t made for us, why be regular? I come from hustlers.” Qari almost seems as if he’s trying to hustle white people out of what they’ve claimed as theirs, and tell everyone that white culture needs to stop claiming things as their own. Operation Hennessy is his way of fighting back.
Qari has a short conversation with God describing his ability to cross over the lines dividing cultures, as he says “Whatup Lord? Whatup God. I’m up north, I’m westside, I’m out south like Rothschild.” If you know the segregated layout of Chicago, you know that the South and West sides are largely Black neighborhoods, while the north side is largely white. Qari describing himself as hailing from all of these areas shows his emphasis on creating his own path and navigating through multiple cultures, culminating in the illustrious Operation Hennessy.
Qari’s effort to take these things from whiteness and use them in their art is not only what this album is about. The vast amount of metaphors and motifs within the tape allow listeners to connect with and find their own meaning within the lyrics. This album is a tale of friendship, a tale of love, and a tale of rebellion. This album is a piece of culture in itself, offering a new creative direction for Chicago. *And, someone needs to give GreenSLLIME an award for these beats. His marvelous and at times haunting beats create the perfect canvas for Qari to tell this story.
After listening to the tape through many times, one thing becomes absolutely clear. Just like drinking a bottle of Hennessy, Operation Hennessy take us to many highs and lows - and every moment is absolutely intoxicating.
Listen to Operation Hennessy for yourself below.