Chali 2na took some time to sit down with DJ INI during his trip to Seattle for a question and answer session for the Red Bull music academy. He talks about his upcoming solo album, Jurassic 5's new album, and reflects on the late, great J Dilla. Originally aired on The Saturday Night Grind on KAOS 89.3 FM in Olympia, Wa (www.saturdaynightgrind.com).
MVRemix: What are you out here for?
Chali 2na: For the Red Bull music academy. I'm not exactly sure of the whole of the aspect of it - they're putting together a DVD and it's a cool little interview, in depth I guess. My man Jonathan Moore, you know, and I'm gonna go to that beat battle tonight.
MVRemix: Yeah, you’re hosting that?
Chali 2na: Yeah, for sure
MVRemix: So you got a couple of projects comin' down; the J5 obviously, and then you got your own solo, and you just told me about this new mixtape. Let’s rap 'em all up.
Chali 2na: Well, J5, “Feedback” is the title, July 25th we've been working on that for about year and ˝, 2 years now. We also took a break for me and Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark to do solo projects as well as Marc 7 is writing scripts and stuff… I.. I shouldn't let the cat out the bag just yet, I'll just shut up about that one.. [laughs] It's gonna blow pretty soon, so basically we took a break to do different projects and just stretch our legs for a second and take a break off the road because we were like road rats. So, Cut Chemist got signed to Warner brothers, I got signed to Interscope solo joints. My solo stuff is called “Fish Out of Water.” Basically it's self explanatory [laughs], it’s really an adventure in who I am as a being that exists on this planet, aside from what you see from the group. And my “Fish Market 2,” is the second installment of a bunch of just extra circular activities of Chali 2na.
MVRemix: There have been a lot of delays with this solo album, what's the deal with that?
Chali 2na: Well the delay situation basically stems from a fact that we felt it was more along with the company, like at first it was a thing where the company kind of let us loose, and as I got close to getting finished the importance of us being established as Jurassic 5 and not being out for that long period of time. It took like 2, 2 ˝ years… so almost three years, and we was like we should probably put the group out first before we come with some other stuff, so we was like, “Alright, cool.”
MVRemix: It was a personal decision more then anything else?
Chali 2na: Yeah, I mean you know, along with, I wouldn't say pressure from the label, it was more so guidance… In a lot of ways we wasn't really well versed in the release dates… Not necessarily the release dates, just really the projects coinciding with each other. Usually we concentrate on one project at a time, but this particular time we had a bunch of projects on our plate at the same time, so we was like, “What's the priority? Well let's put the foundation out first,” and after that we'll build the solos off of that.
MVRemix: With all these collaborations you've been doing, a lot of people call you J5's ambassador.
Chali 2na: I appreciate that.
MVRemix: What are some of the collaborations that you really wanted to do, but just haven't reached out to the person and just haven't gone all the way and connected it?
Chali 2na: Wow, um… I would love to do a song with Sizzla, I would love to do a song with Erykah Badu, I would love do write a song with…. Dwele. I'd love to do just a whole project again with Roots Manuva, that was just fun, mad fun. I would love to do a whole project with Supernatural, I'd love to do a project with my little brother. I don't know, me, I just like to do this music man, and I hope it can continue to be an inspiration of mine as well as a source of income that it's providing for the family, but more so something that is the outlet for all the stuff that be bubblin' inside my chest. I'm not gonna front.
MVRemix: What's the one collaboration of someone who isn't around anymore that you would have really liked to do?
Chali 2na: Jay Dilla, no question. It's like, I got the pleasure of knowin' that dude, I got the pleasure of chillin' wit him, know what I'm sayin', hangin' out, vibin' and the whole nine. I got the pleasure of knowin' his group, slum village, his cousins, his other group Frank-n-Dank and different people through Detroit through my family which is DJ Dez. People like Dwele, and [DJ] Houseshoes, and all them, Guilty Simpson, everybody who just, dope dudes man. That dude was just a real… gem. You know, when it comes to the treasure that is hip hop, he was one of the more priceless pieces that we lost. And he was one of the most underrated cats of all time when it came to production and rappin'. The dude could rhyme! I mean rhyme on some drummer shit, like he rhymed like drum patterns. I mean he'd set between the one and the two, he'd play around, he just didn't care. And he made it sound effortless. I'm gonna definitely miss him in the hip-hop game because it was cool to watch his gradual rise, even on a humble, under tip because that dude didn't really seem like he was into the fame aspect of it, more then he was just into getting his stuff out there… and makin' people know how good he was, know what I'm sayin', by any means. At times, from what I hear, he was contributing a lot to the Tribe Called Quest project without getting a lot of credit for it, and things of that nature, and doin' different things for different people and just kinda stayin' out of the public eye more so then you hearin' the force comin' through your speakers, that dude, I will gravely miss him, and I wish I had the chance to work with him before he passed…