Chali 2na makes his near-annual Victoria appearance this Friday (June 30) and an appearance from the Verbal Herman Munster is always a reason to look back at why and how this giant of hip-hop has remained such an unmissable act wherever he appears. Ask me on any given day for my top 3 Mcs and Chali 2na will be somewhere on that list. Obviously the beginning is Jurassic 5, but it's his never-ending stream of consistently great, inventive solo work and guest appearances that has made him such a mainstay on the headphones and stereos in my life. As much as any MC on the planet, 2na has kept up with modern sounds in the ever-shifting hip-hop landscape, never hollowly imitating them but always taking the pieces that suit his sound and style, making them his own. More impressive than almost anything he's done, is his willingness to embrace EDM, in all of its forms. His ubiquitous presence in electronic music has kept him at the forefront of the genre and his status as a hip-hop legend has helped introduced new music fans to the roots of the music that helped spawn all of this. It's a logical progression and one that I'm shocked more rappers haven't leaned into. But luckily for everyone who likes those real goods, Chali 2na remains everywhere, smothering everything he touches with that good, classic hip-hop flavour. Now I'll take a look back at a dozen of the homies best, most diverse tracks and appearances (Or at least my favourites) to present a mere glimpse of the versatility of one of the GOATs.
“I listen to the whole of Hip-Hop. I don’t segregate between it because I know and understand where it all was spawned and I give everybody their space to be an artist, where a lot of fans are probably like “What?! You listen to Snoop Dogg?!” But yeah, I listen to it all...I feel like I’ve done a lot Hip-Hop wise and now it’s a journey through music more than it is just Hip-Hop. Changing the band and all that, I’m just trying to tap into music. If it’s good music, I’m just trying to be a part of it.” - Chali 2na, interview with Rags Music, 2014
N.A.S.A – There's a Party feat. George Clinton and Chali 2na
This might be an odd one to start this list off, but it made its way onto a lot of my playlists after Chali explained to me the significance of the song. “You know, to be perfectly honest, it’s not one of my best guest appearances, but the fact that he is who is… I did a song called ‘There’s a Party' on the NASA album, ‘Spirit of Apollo’, a song with George Clinton and I’m so proud of that. Just the experience of doing that song with him is just priceless, you can’t trade that for the world. Like I said, it may not be one of my best songs but it’s definitely a milestone for me.”