Artist Spotlight by Evan Mack
Rapper, producer, self-proclaimed “A student,” Felly embodies it all. Born Chris Felner in Trumbull, Connecticut, 19 year-old Felly is turning heads with his enchanting and masterfully produced tracks. Currently a USC student, he has never toured. Instead, he lives the life of a normal college kid, albeit one with a gift and lifestyle of a talented rapper. His loyal Internet fan base waits impatiently for more content, while Felly imbues a sense of sophistication in his work that is hard to find, especially amidst the seas of online rappers, all the while maintaining his image as a college kid. After dropping his most recent mixtape, Waking Up To Sirens, and a brilliantly constructed beat package on SoundCloud, Felly’s future appears bright, should the young rapper decide to temporarily eschew his homework and grace us with his presence.
Though his mystique reinforces his appeal, it is Felly’s work that is his trademark (a refreshing thing to say in this era of glam hip-hop). Felly’s tracks are varied one to the next, but are always enthralling. His samples, one of the most notable components of his work, introduce everything from lightly energetic jazz piano to aggressive bass-snare combinations. Even when the transition between songs is abrupt, the underlying openness to new sounds provides a bridge of artistic intent among the songs – a sense of continuity within the work. In an interview with Craymer Pellaton Technologies from 2012, Felly explained his creative process, “I’ll just play something random and just find some inspiration from these sounds that no one really listens to anymore… half the shit I don’t even know.” The breadth of sounds present in his work shows the flexibility of his craft and is immediately contagious.
In an especially melodious track called Fabrics, Felly writes, “I spit that shit that give the feeling of the seaside.” Listening to many of Felly’s rhymes, he often spins tales of careless college days – a refreshing component of his work. His lyrics are complex. Below the catchy audio, his depth and variability shines. Though hip-hop has historically offered refuge for the condemned, Felly writes extensively about the lighter sides of life; warm days on the beach, and beautiful women. In this sense, he enters a family of artists whom he has idolized since the onset of his career – artists like fellow east-coast rapper Asher Roth, and Atmosphere. Similarly, hip-hop blogs like Earmilk and others have taken notice of the young rapper’s many writing talents, and are highly anticipating his next release. The closest that most have come to his work, though, is when he was a warm-up act for Madlib.
Having released a line of merchandise highlighting his move from Connecticut to California, he reinforces the coastal influence that is so pervasive in his work. His breezy, relaxed photos, artwork, and social media offer the perfect cover for his very complex work. Both lyrically and musically, he boasts his heritage. As an aside, he sports a tank top and long hair in most of his pictures, which only adds to the very vibey feel of his music.
Felly has generated a massive online presence through his sophisticated and artistic choice of sound, and lyrical proficiency. His coastal roots is personified in his music; his nonchalant digital image, an extension of Waking Up To Sirens. However, the question is not whether he will continue making creative music. What remains unanswered is whether his escalating digital presence will finally draw him out of the college life, and into the world of touring and promotion. If his chill music indicates anything, he doesn’t seem too worried.