Record Review: Chali 2na, Fish Market Part 2

Categories: album review
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When the hip hop group Jurassic 5 disbanded in 2007, fans were left wondering what would happen to the six talented individuals who made up the ensemble. Would they stick with a career in the music industry, or fade away into the daily grind of everyday life?

For Chali 2na, the instantly-recognizable baritone of Jurassic 5, fading away appears to be the furthest thing from his mind. After releasing a full-length solo album last June (Fish Outta Water), 2na decided to follow it up with his second album in as many years. The album Fish Market Part 2 is the sequel to Fish Market: The Official Mixtape, an album that 2na first released back in 2004. That first album featured a huge guest cast, including many of Chali's allies in J5.

This time around, things are different.

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The second "Fish Market" installment still features a talented guest cast--including reggae songstress Tanya Stephens, New York MC J-Live, and hip hop legends X-Clan--but a new sound emerges here for Chali; a darker, more adult sound that might surprise a few fans.

DJ Dez Andres (Humberto Andres Hernandez) mixed and produced the album, so its tone lies heavily on him. But even beyond the beats, the album's lyrics feel a little more frustrated and pissed off than what we're used to hearing from Chali; almost as if this is both a new chapter and a new 2na we're dealing with.

It's a welcomed and interesting change. Musicians often get caught up in creating the same thing over and over again. Here, we're given a new take on a familiar sound. It's not a perfect album by any means (it's a little long and a few of the disc's 22 tracks definitely should have been left back in the studio), but for the first time since the break up of his band we're getting a new taste of Chali 2na without feeling the need to compare it to his work with Jurassic 5.

Love it or hate it, "Fish Market 2" is entirely Chali 2na's album. And for Chali and fans alike, that's a good thing.

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