Tag Archives: Chali 2na

CHALI 2NA: Comin’ Thru’ (2020 version)

CHALI 2NA: Comin' Thru' (2020 version)‘Verbal Herman Munster’ Chali 2Na continues his current campaign of re-imagining cuts off his ten year old solo LP debut Fish Outta Water with a re-rub of the best track on the album in question, the Nu-Mark-produced Comin’ Thru. The original’s success lay in the simplicity of its boom-bap dancefloor dynamics delivering all the vibe of the best Jurassic 5 cuts but with only one of

CHALI 2NA & KRAFTY KUTS: Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero Tour 2018

CHALI 2NA & KRAFTY KUTS:  Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero Tour 2018Jurassic 5’s Chali 2Na and veteran DJ/ Producer Krafty Kuts are soon to embark on a twenty-two date European tour named for Krafty’s forthcoming Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero album. And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility so you can understand it if Krafty adopts an album and tour title that reflects both his and Mr 2Na’s desire to eschew the limelight

KRAFTY KUTS & CHALI 2NA: Hands High 7″ (2017)

krafty-kuts-chali-2na-hands-highRating: ★★★★★ If you’ve already released one banger recently you’d think it would be sportsmanlike to at least let the competition feel like they had something of a chance before dropping another one. No such mercy from Krafty Kuts and Chali 2Na though who follow-up early March’s funky boom-bap collab. It Ain’t My Fault on which they were joined by Dynamite MC with

KRAFTY KUTS & DYNAMITE MC feat. CHALI 2Na: It Ain’t My Fault (2017)

Rating: ★★★★★ If news of a third studio LP from Krafty Kuts fluffed your nuts at the end of last year, this new single featuring both Dynamite MC and Jurassic 5’s Chali 2Na is going to make you blow your load by setting the bar massively high for dancefloor boom-bap in 2017. It Ain’t My Fault bangs and let that be the last word on the subject. Oh – except to say that Krafty’s ‘Hands High’ 2017 tour featuring both emcees has been well under

BREAKESTRA: Dusk Till Dawn – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★½☆

L.A.s. funk ‘orchestra’ return with their difficult third LP and prove once again that they should never be in charge of their own vocals. I don’t mean that Miles and Wolf can’t sing, it’s just that when Miles is on mic duty he lacks the growl – a la early 90s jazz-funk bastards – while Wolf has got the growl but not (apparently) the range and ends up doing more of a jazzy scatman thing. With the breaks the ‘Stra are dropping surely we ought to be treated to someone of the calibre of Aaron Neville or Ernie K Doe? Come on boys – can’t you poach Fallon Williams from the Australians or something? You can’t fault the musicianship though – fat rhythms, and the sense to let the spaces in the music speak. Too many modern deep funk bands seem to feel compelled to weigh the rhythm section down by slathering layer on layer of organs, horns and Christ knows what else on top continuously throughout any given track instead of doing what was really done quite a lot back in the day which was to deploy melody sparingly and employ the instruments traditionally used to create it in ways that accentuated the funky rhythm. The Meters knew all about that and as with the last two LPs (in common with many other deep funk bands) this owes a lot to Art Neville and co. You also get the latin-tinged Dark Clouds, Rain Soul and hip-hop bump Posed To Be. Roping in former Jurassic 5 rapper Chali 2Na (and let’s face it – they’ve done him a massive favour after the lame Fish Outta Water) as well as Mixmaster Wolf and the late DJ Dusk this one boasts an epic bassline and percussion but still manages to remain curiously subdued. Every time I spend nearly spent six minutes listening to it, I find myself wanting some huge horns to kick in during the chorus. There’s a remix opportunity in there somewhere.

Listen to Breakestra – Dusk Till Dawn



Breakestra – Myspace

BREAKESTRA: Joyful Noise – 2009 – 12″ review

Rating: ★★★★★

There might be a global shortage of cash money right now but we live in a world awash in retro deep funk. Presumably not content to let the influx of Australian and European offerings from said genre flood their market, LA’s very own funk ‘orchestra’ take it to the bridge with a quality 12” package (off forthcoming LP Dusk Til Dawn) that thankfully recalls the second LP by acid jazz purveyors Galliano in name only. I’m not a massive fan of Miles Tackett’s vocals – they’re always a bit too smooth for me but even so Joyful Noise is an effortless, loose-limbed, late-sixties style, funky soul brother workout that chugs along quite nicely. And, as if to remind us that Breakestra always sound better when they aren’t in charge of vocals (either sung or rapped), we get Posed To Be – a tastefully understated funk-fuelled, late-nineties style hip hop bump with Chali 2Na making amends for Fish Outta Water.

Listen to Breakestra – Joyful Noise

Breakestra – Myspace


CHALI 2NA: Fish Outta Water – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★½☆☆

I’m tempted to ask if fish out of water suck or blow as there are times when this does a bit of both – musically anyway. Now before you get all, “Whoah – someone’s bitter because Jurassic 5 split up!” – it’s not like that – although I can see when I tell you the most Jurassic 5-like track on this (arguably Comin’ Thru) is not only far and away the best one – a banger even – it isn’t going to help my case. I think J-5’s number was up when they split anyway – at least collaboratively – with rumours of metastasizing egos and all, though Feedback wasn’t a bad LP. In any case, while Comin’ Thru maintains the J-5 penchant for a funky boom-bap break and hook (perhaps because it was produced by Nu-Mark) it dispenses with the ’dusty breaks’ sound and offers a noticeably cleaner modern-sounding production. And it’s not just the groove that works, for 2Na’s lyrics on it, while playful, are clever enough, “I’m much more than just some backpack crap/ Intelligent rap act or militant black cat… I’m/ Killin’ venemous platinum plaque rats” – so I was kind of hoping for more in this vain. Which brings me to the rest of the LP.
I’m all for 2Na wanting to move away from the J5 sound – he quite clearly wanted to expand his comfort zone – something the LP title reflects and which is both understandable and laudable – what’s a pity is that he didn’t have more success. The paths he has chosen to move in are largely avenues of dullness and the rest of the LP is a hotch-potch of styles and guest spots (including one from the ubiquitous Damien Marley) that never really finds its stride. 2Na’s knack for giving things ironic titles continues with opener Get Focused. If only. A sparse funky bounce, it’s a so-so intro in which 2Na gets the first hit in at the haters in that unmistakeable baritone, “Pigeonholed by people who hate change/ A decision broken can never be maintained.” It is succeeded by the Beenie Man-featuring synth-clap annoyance (complete with a chorus that I swear uses the melody from 80s Brit-kids cartoon Dangermouse) So Crazy. It’s fair to say that quite a lot of the tracks on this have that minimal synth sound (presumably to emphasise his stylistic move away from J-5) but there’s nothing distinctive about any of these that you haven’t heard a million times before. Don’t Stop is mid-tempo RnB-hop with a vocal ‘hook’ from Anthony Hamilton but fails to quicken the pulse – something it has in common with Choklate vehicle Keep Goin. Love’s Gonna Getcha’s Black-Eyed Peas-minus-Fergie style is at least memorable enough to constitute a 2Na bid for chart recognition and Righteous Way would be affecting were the pathos of a tale about fatherhood not undermined by the bathos of scratching with a baby’s cry. I shit you not. Controlled Coincidence sees Kanetic Source drop by and it’s muted strings and handclap combo sounds quite good but by this time I’m not sure whether that’s ‘quite good’ as in ‘quite good’ or ‘quite good’ as in ‘ quite good in comparison to the rest of the LP’. I can’t be arsed to tell you about any more tracks.
In short, 2Na is as lyrically competent as always, and the production on Fish Outta Water (which includes turns by some heavy hitters – Scott Storch and Jake One to name two) is ok. Shame about the music then. Beg, borrow, steal (or actually buy) Comin’ Thru (incidentally first released four years ago) and ponder on what might have been and may be in the future. It’ll be interesting to see which track(s) off this will be remembered four years hence.
Out now on Decon US

Listen to Chali 2Na – Fish Outta Water

Chali 2Na – Myspace

THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS – Droppin’ Science Fiction – 2008 – Album review

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Mighty Underdogs project finds MCs Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Lateef The Truthspeaker (Latyrx) teaming up with producer Headnodic of Crown City Rockers. Not dissimilar to previous Quannum-related stuff and more interesting than (for example) the last Blackalicious LP or Gift Of Gab’s solo LP by dint of the fact that some of the tracks on here are actually memorable, this nevertheless alternates between ‘back-packer hip-hop’ by numbers and soul-hop blandness by numbers a lot of the time. Bear with me till I get to the good stuff though as this isn’t exclusively the case.
So what’s the problem? Well, perhaps it’s familiarity that breeds contempt, but then again maybe it’s just something as minor (no pun intended) as the kids’ voices that kick this LP off. Kids’ voices on a record are never big or clever so why the fuck do I need some kids book-ending a song? Don’t get me wrong – kids are great – but I don’t want to them in my face while I’m trying to enjoy a beer either. Anyway despite the fact that Monster has some of the best cuts and one of the best b-lines on the LP, it’s hard to shake the idea that this first track was an also-ran hip-hop contender for the theme tune to some animated Pixar film. It might be called Hands In The Air but the second track is a crappy lightweight slice of RnB tinged, kettle-drum-fringed cack which would be better titled ‘hands on the skip button’ notwithstanding lyrical queries about does “anyone remember when music still was relevant”. So Sad continues in an RnB-ish vein but fares a lot better, not because it features both Julian and Damien Marley but because DJ/Producer Headnodic has a keen ear for a good break. The lumbering Gunfight will be familiar to many as the video was making internet rounds a while back though, and despite featuring MF Doom, it really does sound like Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. Nevertheless its ‘high noon’ scenario is also the first time the LP has any memorable lyrical impact “I stepped out the saloon at a quarter to noon/ Might as well have been a quarter to doom”. Lyrics Born pops by to do his comedy ‘speed-muttering thing on Ill Vacation but that shit is old now and while it was clever the first time it has become rapidly wearing ever since. Science Fiction is an attempt at cyber hip-hop but Deltron 3030 put that to bed a long time ago and this is a pale shadow (no pun intended no. 2) of the DJ Shadow/ Divine Styler collab. on Quannum’s classic Spectrum LP. Hiero stalwart Casual has been spreading his love widely of late but he’s wasted over the backdrop of Laughing At You, the break of which seems to be compiled from chopped up beatboxing and yelping. Quite unusual but also quite shit. Akrobat and Mr Lif drop by for Escape but make little impact, Folks is an unremarkable slice of hip-hop soul which leaves it to DJ Shadow to be the first guest to light a fire under this LP’s ass with his cuts on the UFC remix…but then it’s back to soul-lite dullness with Want You Back. Surprisingly for an LP it’s the rear-end (normally the album equivalent of the graveyard shift) that provides the quality on Dropping Science Fiction. Aye’s minimal bongo-fuelled beat brings some well-needed head-nod(ic) hip-hop pressure and Lateef and Gift of Gab finally sound like they’ve woken up which is just as well because they’re in time for posse-cut Warwalk which is next up. This is the point where The Mighty Underdogs finally seem to arrive at where they’ve threatened to be heading all LP – i.e. a genuine piece of quality hip-hop. Headnodic lines up a fairly sizeable dancehall reggae bassline and break and some fuzzed up guitars – it’s one of the few occasions where the guests Raashan Ahmad, Tash, Zion and especially Chali 2na sound like they’re more than decoration. Closer Victorious is an upbeat oddity to end the LP on but it’s string-fired loops work and Lateef and Gab still sound awake. In summary – this is a patchy – claims otherwise are fiction – but when it’s good they do drop science.
Out now on Definitive Jux.
Buy Droppin’ Science Fiction @ Amazon.co.uk

Listen to The Mighty Underdogs – Droppin’ Science Fiction

The Mighty Underdogs – Myspace