Sunday, 23 August 2009

'Fish Outta Water' - Chali 2na (album review)

A Chali 2na album – quite different to a Chali 2na verse be that with Jurassic 5 or on one of the many tracks he guested on. What you get is more than 30 2na verses – most of which consist of high quality rhymes, rhythms and rapping. What you don’t get is that delightful moment when his unmatched baritone kicks in after another entirely differently toned rapper finishes – and that was half of the fun.

The beats are pretty modernistic and entirely unlike J5’s selected productions. ‘Fish Outta Water’ shouldn’t be held up against any of his group’s work but even if it wasn’t many of the instrumentals on it would be considered weak. What they do achieve is to provide Chali the opportunity to show his diversity and versatility.

There are some pretty odd choices of guests too – Damien and Stephen Marley and Beanie Man stand out like a sore thumb. Talib Kweli drops probably the most lack-lustre and off beat verse of his career on ‘Lock Sh** Down’ but Anthony Hamilton lends some suitable soul on ‘Don’t Stop’ – one of the LP’s highlights (and probably one originally intended as a J5 cut). Elzhi’s opening verse works well on ‘When Will I See You Again’ which isn’t a bad track. ‘Comin’ Thru’ is another J5-esque one which sounds pretty fresh and ‘Righteous Way’ is a great exploration of how love and life go round in circles.

‘Fish Outta Water’ sees Chali spit the type of verse he is lauded for, some awful beats (that blatantly say “We want the mainstream)some good beats, some strange guests and some great ones – overall, it’s patchy with some standout moments. I still love Chali 2na though.

'Fish Outta Water' is out now on Decon and is available to buy now.

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