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 are 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.
As with any mixtape, "Fish Market" has its share of highs and lows. For those wanting to hear some more material from the west's fastest rhyme slinger, than the "Fish Market" is a nice pickup. Chali's sick wordplay, multi syllabic rhymes and head turning flow have never sounded better on efforts such as "Welcome To The Fish Market" featuring LaidLaw, "Work It Out" featuring Supernatural and "Lunch Time" featuring J5. All three feature satisfying production, good guest appearances and of course, crazy rhymes.
One of Chali's standout tracks on the album is the DJ Dez' remix of "Linguistics" featuring Jurassic 5. With their usual combination of a singsong hook and poignant rhymes, the J5 crew never fails to impress. However, DJ Dez' contribution to the track should not be overlooked, as he adds a breezy California vibe with his mixture of vocal samples and precise scratching. Conceptually, Chali's strongest effort on the "Fish Market" is the politically and socially conscious "Whose 2 Blame" featuring Don Coleon. Over a hypnotizing Middle Eastern influenced beat, Chali asks the age-old question of who is to blame for society's failures and the corrupt political state of the world. "Secret political interests are confused, we police the planet, but who protects us from you. While wars are waged over pathetic turf, we elect leaders with no regard for planet earth".
With the "Fish Market" mixtape you are getting a variety of hot verses from Chali, however, some of the production does falter. The simple and dull drums on "Revolution 9" with Roots Manuva is an uninspiring combination of reggae and revolutionary warfare that finds Chali slowing down his flow considerable just to stay on beat. "Please Believe" with Kardinal Offishal & Solitaire, is another awkward attempt that tries to blend Kardinal's distinct style with the singsong harmony that J5 utilizes. Unfortunately, neither style blends well with the other. In addition, "Oh No" featuring Ang 13, "Chicagorillas" featuring Shockwave, LaidLaw, Ang 13, Anyi & Al Master, and "Come On" featuring Tippa Irie are all bland efforts that suffer from average production and lifeless guest appearances
While the production on certain tracks is average at best, Chali is able to spice up any beat with his creative flare and energy, making the "Fish Market" worth your pickup in the end. Chali 2na is an extremely talented emcee who has no limits on what he can do. If you did not realize that before, than the "Fish Market" will certainly convince you and get your taste buds wet for his solo debut "Fish Outta Water".