Against The Current – EP
Chali 2na’s EP, Against The Current is the first in a series of five – the aim is to explore the influences and antecedents around his career as an MC. He was the power forward of Jurassic 5 (and is still, sporadically, with reunion dates popping up on the calendar) but as a solo artist he’s searching forward for a future-sound to house his approach to hip-hop. Here we have the smooth flow and chilled beat of Outspoken, to kick things off. Then it’s to Remember The Future, a mix of reggae and dubstep, the big boom of 2na’s voice does well to work over this warped, warbling electro dropsheet. He teams again with Ozamatli for Alone, the sort of song you might still hear one day on one of those Santana collaboration albums, again it’s the inimitable flow of Chali 2na that lifts this up and away from any parody-sound.
Movin’ On has some cool honks of R’n’B as 2na spits his most impressive display of stuttered bass rapping, the constant consonants peppering the tune. Ivan Neville guests.
But the best is saved for last here – Ming Xia guesting on the title track, a hark back to the Dr. Dre productions on his 2001 and the Liquid Swords album by GZA/Genius. It’s a great pop song – with a huge hook – thanks to Xia providing the sort of refrain Eminem just clips from an existing pop song.
It’s going to be interesting to hear where he goes next – there’s already enough happening here across five tracks. The rest of the series promises further forays into reggae and dance music. The big baritone remains remarkably flexible. And there’s no chance that 2na is out of ideas.