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by Christopher Yuscavage
2 March, 2005@12:00 am
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Mixtape / Compilation – No Rating Given.     

      As the wise old saying goes, “There are other fish out there in the sea.”

      Chali 2NA (pronounced Tuna), of Jurassic 5 fame, is out to prove that, by name, he may be one of the smaller fish in the sea, but in the crowded fish market, he still deserves his proper respect and love from the masses. Unfortunately, The Fishmarket, Chali’s mixtape in promotion of his upcoming Fish Out Of Water solo album on Interscope, may do just the opposite as he relies heavily on guest appearances to save Fishmarket from a sea of mediocrity.

       For any fan of Jurassic 5, The Fishmarket may be a welcomed treat with tracks like “Work It Out” and “Linguistics (DJ Dez Remix)” featuring full head-on collisions between Chali’s solo career and his career as a member of the group. Elsewhere, Chali is noticeably absent altogether with “Oh No” being handled entirely by femcee Ang 13 and the packed “Chicagorillas” pairing Chali 2NA with 5 other emcees, all equally vying for a portion of the limelight cast down upon the fish market. “Welcome to the Fish Market” and “MC Material” join Chali and Laidlaw, who receives considerably more time on the microphone than Chali lending to the question: On a Chali 2NA mixtape, why are there so many other fish swimming amongst him?

      Not all goes wrong for the big 2NA on The Fishmarket though, as the unbelievable tag-team effort of Chali and Rasco on “Sweet Science” should surround both with some well-deserved hype. Using a boxing ring concept, Rasco spits, “Me and Chali tune-for-tune, you cats better give us some room, I side-stepped and I lowered the boom, You cats better call your goons tonight ’cause I’m ending it soon, First round put your back on the ground, I’m the best pound-for-pound.” To which Chali retorts, “The ring is now a disaster scene, After trainer’s apply Vaseline, I come to smash the king.” The back-and-forth concept lands squarely on the jaw with punches flying throughout the entire track. ”4 GT 10,” which appeared on Linkin Park’s Reanimation disc sounds just as revolutionary on The Fishmarket, combining the energized rocked-out performance of Linkin Park coupled with the social pen of Chali 2NA (“City governments are eternally napping, Trapped in gritty covenants causing urban collapsing”). The snake-charming production of “Whose 2 Blame” finds Chali getting conscious again, this time with the help of Don Coleon with the two striking against the injustices of society.

     Still, with the help of over a dozen guests, it’s not hard for the 2NA to get buried amongst the numerous guest appearances and showcases for Jurassic 5 and other underground acts. On a mixtape in promotion of Fish Out Of Water, Chali finds himself playing second fiddle to other emcees all too often wasting valuable time to establish his own solo career on the microphone. In a sea full of fish (The Fishmarket), Chali 2NA struggles to stand out often on his own mixtape. “There are other fish out there in the sea,” as the wise saying goes. Unfortunately for Chali, they all seem to show up on one mixtape ? his. Something that could keep Chali from ever becoming a big fish in the big pond of hip-hop.

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