Interview with Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 on
words and flicks by Amalia J. Nickel

Vancouver, B.C. – There’s something irresistible about Chali 2na. Maybe it’s the smile that divides his face, or could be his deep baritone or even his slick dance moves as he entertains the masses on stage, but one thing is sure: the man has an aura about him. 2na was one of the original renaissance artists of hip-hop: South Central L.A’s Good Life Cafe hosted him and other members of Jurassic 5 in the early nineties when a more melodic and introspective style of rapping was on the rise. 2na was a founding member of the salsa funk band Ozomatli, and the rhythmic rumble behind J5’s harmonic sound; he’s worked with everyone from Roots Manuva to Beenie Man, sharing his weighty tome on an international scale. HipHopCanada’s Amalia Judith chased down the tall dark and mysterious MC to glean a few facts on his new album, his work with K’naan and of course, Monotheism.

HipHopCanada: Do you feel you get typecast as that guy with the low voice, do you get bored of that?

Chali 2na: I’m a believer in that you can’t really choose your audience, your audience chooses you, so I’m not bored, I’m just grateful and happy for all this: I don’t have to be sitting here, and you don’t have to be interested in even talking to me. I do get typecast though, people are like, I can hear you on this chorus, your voice, but I’m happy to just be working.

Interview with Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 on HipHopCanada.comHipHopCanada: When you perform you remind me of the jazz singer/bandleader Cab Calloway.

Chali 2na: It’s crazy you said that, ’cause I just did a show in Martha’s Vineyard 2 weeks ago. Bill Paxton was there, and he’s one of my favorite actors, I was like, “that’s Bill Paxton, damn!” I’m really a fan of his. We were talking at the end of the show and he was like, “Dude, you really remind me of Cab Calloway.” I was like, “Yo, ┬álet’s make a movie about him and I’ll play him! ”

HipHopCanada: It’s your vibe, maybe the way you smile.

Chali 2na: Thank you!

HipHopCanada: Let’s hear about your new solo project, Fish Outta Water:

Chali 2na: It’s out now! In stores, iTunes, it features Damien and Steve Marley, Elzhi from Slum Village, Anthony Hamilton, Talib Kweli, DJ Nu-Mark, Vitamin D, Jake One. The album is an identification process of who I am outside what you might know me for, I get deep in certain aspects and then fun in a lot of others. It’s all to tell a story of who I am from start to finish.

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