Chali 2na Fish Market

[Self-Released; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: underground hip-hop
Others: Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Planet Asia

Jurassic 5 does hip-hop right; everyone knows it. They get tagged with that whole "old school revivalist" title too often than they should have. The type of hip-hop they make isn't too far off in the past. One of the most recognizable figures in Jurassic 5 is the tall guy, the dude with the deep voice, the one with the weird spelling to his name -- Chali 2na. Chali 2na is arguably the strongest vocalist and lyricist in the group. Poised to release his first official solo album in the coming months, we are first given his solo mixtape, Fish Market. Like the Jurassic 5 material that we all know and love (and when I say "all," I pretty much mean it -- Jurassic's fanbase reaches far beyond rap lovers), 2na's solo outing stays grounded in the ethics his group consistently puts forth. We have the never-tiring boom-bap drums, the infectious loops, and the finely-tuned flows. However, the major drawback of the Fish Market is the list of guests. Every song on the album has at least one guest. I suppose the whole mixtape phenomenon calls for such a structure, but it doesn't help the listener in gaining anything new from Chali 2na. Chali should be the focus here, it being his first solo product and all. All we get is the same amount of him we would get on a Jurassic 5 album. It leaves us wondering why even bother going solo. There's no doubt that Chali's official release, Fish Outta Water, will be much of the same as far as style and force go. Here's to hoping that he doesn't fill out his back cover with the long-winded names of guests. Leave some room for the damn UPC to breathe.

1. Intro
2. Welcome To The Fish Market
3. Work It Out
4. Full Contact
5. Lunch Time
6. Join The Dots
7. Sha Born (Interlude)
8. MC Material
9. Revolution 9
10. Please Believe
11. Whose 2 Blame
12. Linguistics (DJ Dez Remix)
13. 4 GT 10
14. Sweet Science
15. Oh No
16. Chicagorillas
17. Come On