• Photo of Qwel by Santos-Isensee Photography

Local rapper Qwel has earned a reputation for his distinctive lyrics and his outspoken views on controversial topics, both as a solo artist and as a member of Typical Cats, a group that coalesced around Hyde Park’s WHPK in the late 90s and gained an underground following with the release of a self-titled debut in 2001. Since then Qwel has put out a flurry of albums, EPs, and singles (at least 17 total, all on Galapagos4), touching on subjects ranging from commercialism to creationism, and his style has been described by J. Edward Keyes for Rolling Stone as “occupying[ing] the same bleak terrain as Francis Bacon paintings or The Dark Knight . . . Old-school attitude with a manic edge.” Qwel is one of the support acts for Doom and Mos Def this Saturday at the Congress Theater, and I caught up with him for a talk in advance of the big show: