San Diego

Chali 2na Fights the Power

Interrupted by a power outage at his last Music Box show, Chali 2na's back to finish what he started

In 2016, rapper Chali 2na was two songs into a set at Little Italy's Music Box when the power went out "and stayed out, the whole night," he told me during a recent phone call. And that was it, his show was over. But let's rewind a bit, before that performance, even before he was a soloist.

He's probably best known for fronting Jurassic 5, holding down the quartet's bottom end, riffing through rap patterns via a crisp baritone and compound syllables. After their independently released self-titled debut in '98, the group (two DJs and four MCs) released three albums on Interscope Records -- 2000's "Quality Control," 2002's "Power In Numbers," and 2006's "Feedback" -- before going their separate ways after the last full-length.

He kept busy though, working on solo material, and in 2009, delivered his first proper studio album, "Fish Outta Water." After that, there was the 2010 mixtape, "Fish Market Part 2," and in 2012, he started an EP series dubbed "Against the Current." He's almost completed the set, with four projects from a volume of five already released, and says the fifth will be finished as soon as he comes up with a title.

In 2013, Chali 2na reconvened with Jurassic 5 at that year's Coachella festival, and they've been doing shows ever since.

"Just recently, we've been talking about trying to put together a new album," he says. "It's just talk at the moment -- I ain't saying it ain't serious but we haven't put anything down just yet."

For now, the hard-working MC is touring and on June 17, he'll be back at the Music Box headlining the venue's Funk Soul Social to finish what he started, before the power started acting up -- and to "do what I was supposed to do the first time."

Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are on sale now here.

J. Smith, aka 1019, is a San Diego native, rap fan and one half of the rap duo Parker & the Numberman. You can follow him on Instagram at 1019_the_numberman or on Twitter

Contact Us