It was a sad day back in early 2007 when the news came in that Jurassic 5 were splitting after nearly 15 years together. The LA-based rap group were one of the few around who still embraced the conscious hip-hop ethos and as a result garnered accolades for their 3 albums and hi-energy live shows.
Things have been quiet from the 4 MCs since the split, maybe signalling that they only really worked when they were together in their former incarnation. The one member who always looked most likely to go solo and shine, though, was gentle giant Chali 2na, contributing most to outside collaborations, an erstwhile member of salsa-funk collective Ozomatli, and having always been a fan favourite when J5 played live.
Now back in his own right, with crunchy, all-killer new album “Fish Outta Water”, 2na is still doing what he does best - dropping carefully-considered, rubbery rhymes in his gravel-deep tenor - with the emphasis less on the daisy-age beats of old, the rapper favouring instead old-skool electro samples (maybe inspired by buddy Roots Manuva) and big-name hook-ups including Beenie Man, Talib Kweli and Raphael Saadiq.
With a raft of solo live appearances behind him, 2na comes to London tomorrow night as part of a short European jaunt to promote the new album. In the intimate surroundings of Cargo, with special guests promised, there’s sure to be a feel-good vibe, with proceedings destined to go late into the night, sweat running from the walls. Welcome back, big man.
Tickets are £12 available from Cargo, doors 7-1.