Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
Chali 2na (Jurassic 5)
Jurassic 5's most recognizable member, Chali 2na, is finally stepping out on his own as a solo artist. Chali is in no way leaving J5, but in his words, "There is a lot of different topics that I may want to speak on that I can't totally get out with the group. So my solo album became an outlet for that, and it also became my therapy session". With his solo debut "Fish Outta Water" set to drop first quarter next year, Chali is looking to build up some hype by releasing his "Fish Market" mixtape, a compilation of various songs Chali has done outside of J5 over the years. MVRemix recently caught up with the humble Chali 2na to speak about his new mixtape, as well as his highly anticipated debut album.
MVRemix: Let's talk about the status of the west coast right now, because a lot of people feel that mainstream wise the west is dead. Do you feel that way?
Chali 2na: Well, you know, I think every ten or fifteen years Hip Hop flips itself. Whatever was on the under, comes to the top, and whatever was on top, kind of falls off. That is the way that gangsta rap prevailed. You had conscious rap on top, at its peak with such artists as Krs-One and Public Enemy. Then you had an off shoot of PE, who were the west coast version, and of course I'm talking about NWA. Because they were just talking about what was going on around them, just like Chuck was doing. Anybody who built off of that coin phrase "gangsta rap", is always kind of watered down from where it started, in my opinion. So with the over ground, and all these years of the gangsta thing holding things down, especially in the west, it got lost in the midst of the southerplayalistic and pimp aspect of rap. So now, as far as the west goes, the people who are making some noise are the "underground" acts, such as us, Dilated and Blackalicious. So hopefully, its that time now, where the table flips and we start to get more shine than we used to. But that is what I am hoping happens, because I feel we are on the verge right now.
MVRemix: I talked to another underground group of out Cali recently, Potluck, and they said there has been a war going on between gangsta rap and underground rap in Cali. Is that true?
Chali 2na: In certain instances, because places like The Good Life were formed because they couldn't get signed unless they were doing gangsta rap. In a lot of ways, we have been in competition with them cats. But in a lot of ways the underground can learn from those cats, in terms of starting independent labels and eventually blowing them up to statuses where they get big distribution deals. Because you will see a lot of gangsta rappers who have no qualms about collaborating with each other. You will get crips and bloods from different sides collaborating with each other and doing cool music. So in that instance, the underground can take notice, because some of us undergrounders are elitists in a lot of ways. Because some people feel they are better than the rest because they are making underground music. And to me, that is a bunch of bullshit. I was watching this interview with Fat Joe, and he was like, "man I don't like Talib Kweli". And I was like, "Damn, why is he saying that". But he was like, "its not because I don't like what he says, because I think the nigga is talented. But I'm just like, why the fuck is he always talking about us, we don't talk about you". And I was like wow, that makes a lot of sense, totally! So I look at it from that perspective, because I come from the underground. We even get criticized by some fans for being on MTV, and that trips me out. Because, that is where I saw Run DMC the first time, so why are y'all tripping?
MVRemix: What's up with the next J5 album, have you guys started on that?
Chali 2na: Yeah, we are about seven or eight songs deep right now. So we are just tightening things up, but right now I am loving the direction that it is going in. It is kind of returning to what we started with, but at the same time incorporating what we have learned over the years. We have found a placed within our sound that is a cool mixture of everything, and I can't explain it any better than that. I feel like we have matured, and we know what we are up against. So I am extremely happy with the music that we are doing now.
MVRemix: Do you guys have a title for the album yet?
Chali 2na: Na, we don't have a title yet. A lot of times with us, are titles come midway or towards the end of when we are finishing the album. Then we'll be like, "Yo, we should call it this".
MVRemix: When can fans expect it to be released?
Chali 2na: It should actually be out in April or May, that is what we are shooting for. Hopefully around the summer time, no later than that.
MVRemix: What else do you have going on that you would like fans to know about?
Chali 2na: Just the mixtape, the new solo album that is coming out....I got a porn career….na I'm just playing (Laughter). But what else do I have going on? I just met DJ Tricky, and I wanna do some stuff with him, and in the end I hope it works out, because I'm a big fan of his. So just any kind of musical collaborations that I feel would come out dope, I'm with that shit!
MVRemix: Any last words?
Chali 2na: Big respect to anybody who has supported us, and big respect to anybody who is just now finding out who we are and liking what we are doing. For those who are real big fans of Jurassic 5, any solo project that is coming out does not mean we are breaking up. It is not happening like that, because we are just trying to saturate the market with every drop of talent that we have. So support Cut Chemist's new album, "Audiences Listening", coming off of Warner Brothers Records. Support the two Nu-Mark solo joints, "Blend Crafters" and "Hands On". Hopefully, support my albums, "Fish Market" and "Fish Outta Water" when it comes out. The new J5 as well, plus anything you may see us on.