From the depths of Cali's underground scene emerge Planet Asia and Rasco, otherwise known as the Cali Agents. Planet Asia and Rasco have helped put the West Coast underground back on the map during its resurgence over the last couple of years. After appearing on each others solo albums on numerous occasions, the duo decided to come together and drop their debut LP "How The West Was One".
How The West Was One features Rasco AKA Cali Agent #1 and Asia AKA Cali Agent #2 spitting their usual lyrical fire combined with solid West Coast production. The production varies from many different producers throughout the album, such as: Paul Nice, M-Boogie, Mad Lib and The Molemen. Even though the album isn't filled with big named producers, the production still delivers beyond expectations. It stays varied and remains rugged yet beautiful throughout its entirety.
The album opens up with the title track "How The West Was One". Which features both Rasco and Asia rhyming with their usual dope wordplay and fierce lyricism. Paul Nice laces the track while both emcees spit memorable verses. Rasco's verse especially stands out among the two. "It's not about running round toting your guns it's all about who can sound the illest to beats and not how many brothers that you shot in the street". "Neva Forget" is a dedication to what seems to becoming harder and harder to do these days, keeping it real. The track puts both emcees in a usual position, repping for the underground. "I heard you went platinum on your first album. But tell me this: why is it now I heard you only sold about 200'000? Now what's that telling you? That your fans was never down. Got you wondering now 'Maybe I shoulda stayed underground? But you can't come back, cause real rap fans, they hate you. You over-did your image, now you can't stay true" - Planet Asia.
"Crash The Boards" is a scratch filled M-Boogie track that not only showcases the Cali Agents lyrical talent, but their ability to stay consistent on various types of production. "Up Close and Personal" featuring Chuck Taylor, "The Good Life" and "Just When You Thought It Was Safe" are also some of the standout tracks on "How The West Was One". However, it's Rasco's "Talking Smack" that ends up as the albums highlight. "Talking Smack" is Rasco's message to the Hip-Hop world that he represents. Fed up with the game itself and most of its fans, Rasco steals the show with his emotion and energy on the mic. "Now this is dedicated to the ones that be all up on the Internet, talking that trash you get smashed. I'm telling your ass that I'm out to make cash and I'ma revoke your little hip-hop pass. You can just save the little praise and accolades. I'm more concerned with my bills getting paid. I'm not in the game to try to brake my neck; my little baby girl can't eat your respect. And that's real and I don't care how you feel"
Throughout the album Rasco and Planet Asia compliment each other on the mic flawlessly. It seems as if the two were almost meant to be on the same mic together. Their chemistry on each track brings out the best in each of them every time. Overall "How The West Was One" remains one of the most consistent albums in recent memory. The whole album is filled with superb tracks, which rarely make for the listener to hit the fast forward button. Not one track stands out more than the rest, which is the beauty of the album. Every track is good enough to holds its own ground and is an entity in itself. In the end "How The West Was One" is one of the finer West Coast underground albums to come out in the last couple of years, and is definitely one of the best albums for the year 2000.