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Rumors of an impending Rasco /Planet Asia collaboration have been floating ever since these two united to flip “Take It Back Home” from Rasco’s stellar debut. While that track gave us the first glimpse of what was too come, Rasco and Asia have been nearly inseparable since, spending the better part of the last year solidifying their ties on a number of Cali underground projects. However, with How The West Was One, two of the left coasts most promising emcees make it official, as the Cali Agents have finally brought their bond to fruition.

Though Rasco and Asia attack with contrasting styles, their undeniable chemistry is multifaceted, as it transforms into a subtle underlying balance, which in turn gives both the maneuverability needed to shine in their own distinct fashion. While there are not a wealth of topics explored here, there is certainly a statement made, as the whole concept of this LP revolves around reppin the coast they call home, and represent they do; highlighted by “This Is My Life” “Up Close and Personal” and “Neva Forget” all of which stress the importance of staying true to your roots. Staying true to your roots, the CA?s relay a bevy of mixed signals regarding that topic, as there are numerous references, which suggest that the group is ready to explore commercial avenues. Rasco uses his venomous solo-track “Talking Smack”, too chastise all the Internet naysayers, and he lets everyone know that there are higher stakes involved— “you can just save your little praise and accolades, I’m more concerned with my bills getting paid, I’m not in the game to break my neck, my baby girl can’t eat your respect, and that’s real, and I don’t care how you feel”. Yet, all of that talk seems to be nothing more then posturing. There is very little evidence of the CA’s compromising their artistic integrity, and with the exception of the oddly-placed clunker “Real Talk”, How The West Was One is a solid underground LP that will strike a chord with the backpacking populous.

Although Rasco and Asia prove to be a formidable, oft-times spectacular duo, their highly anticipated union is soured by bland production, as the minimalist grooves of “Faces Of Death”, and “Just When You Thought It Was Safe “, plow a monotonous course. While the West was founded on dope beats, and rhymes, the Cali Agents only bring one part of that equation (lyrics in abundance) to the table with their debut.

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