DJ Quick Chris was a Guiding Light for Dallas Hip-Hop: R.I.P.
Last Sunday, Dallas lost a true beacon in the scene. Christopher Evans Kelly, a.k.a. DJ Quick Chris, died of pneumonia and congestive heart failure after a year-long fight with lymphoma.
"Even through his ongoing stays in the hospital, Chris continued to create new and original sounds," says his sister, Melanie Kelly. "Anyone lucky enough to visit him would be... inspired by his talent and creativity, as he would explain his thought process in creating his new works."
Kelly was a founding member of Neva Dug Disco, the hip-hop collective & label home to artists like Wordlife and Tape Mastah Steph. He was an incredibly talented turntablist, and spread his passion for true school, four elements hip-hop throughout the community. In his DJ career, he shared the stage with the likes of Hieroglyphics, Planet Asia, Wu-tang Clan, and Questlove. But in speaking with his friends and family, I soon realized that Kelly's legacy carries much more than an accomplished hip-hop CV.
Kyle Elrod, aka Molek Ular was a close friend and collaborator of Kelly's for upwards of 10 years. In speaking of his first impression of Chris, Elrod paints a picture of a teenage hip hop zealot, at that time a rarity in suburban Dallas.
"He was a grade above me, we met during summer school in 1999. Back then he was unlike anyone I'd ever met... especially in Plano, rockin' old school jean jackets and Adidas shell toes without laces. He had this aura that embodied old school 80's hip hop, and a prodigy-like skill-level with the turntables. I was blown away. He was definitely one of my main influences towards becoming completely Infatuated with Hip Hop Culture and music..." says Elrod, "This guy was a walking American culture encyclopedia. Chances were he knew what year... who was involved in any random song, movie, TV show... it was quite impressive."
In the early '00s, Elrod and Kelly began taking hip hop and deejaying more seriously. Among collaborators, the pair brought the spirit of '77 in the Bronx to the northern DFW suburbs. With their "Park Jams' series, they held free all-ages hip hop festivals in local parks. "Chris was the heartbeat of these events, holding down the 1's and 2's for the breakdancers that would show up. He kept the music going." Says Elrod. "We started connecting with artists all over the metroplex and created the first bridge, hip-hop-wise, north into the suburbs from Dallas." This eventually led to the formation of the Neva Dug Disco crew.