Chali 2na swimming solo 

Jurassic 5 emcee and founder of Ozomatli steps out on his own with solo debut album, North American tour

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"To be perfectly honest it was like all of the names I'm fans of, and it was just a series of trying to see if they were willing to help me realize my project, and they were."

As an emcee, it kind of goes without saying that Chali is something of a word nerd (his lyrical flow is consistently clever and tight), but he's also wise enough to recognize that you can't neglect the beat when crafting a track.

"There's no real method to the madness," the humble fixture on the hip hop scene reflected.

"Sometimes, it's beat first, sometimes it's verse first, sometimes it's an idea. There's never really one real way."

The project was a real labour of love, and ultimately served as an "identification process" for the artist. A lot of blood, sweat and tears (and time) went into perfecting the project. In fact, Chali actually compares the process of finishing the album to a painter finishing a piece.

"They say that when you paint, you don't finish a painting, you just agree to stop painting," he laughed. "So it's kind of like that."

"It was a personal accomplishment of mine and it boosted my confidence in a lot of ways."

So, does that mean there's another solo album on the way? Chali paused, then let out a deep chuckle.

"Yes, ma'am!

"At this particular point, I'm working on just a kind of organic feeling, kind of sounding album, and I want it to feel organic in a way that counteracts what's actually going on right now," he explained. "...So just to push the envelope back to more musicianship, more melodic, a more music-practice album."

Hmm.... so, no auto-tuner, then?

"Um, no," he laughed.

But right now, Chali is touring North America, hitting lots of stops along the West Coast on the way.

"They've been good, they've been really good," he said as he made his way from Banff to Golden for another show on Tuesday. "Really good turnout, really good response."

He'll roll into Whistler this weekend for a show at the GLC, playing with a live band, The House of Vibe All Stars. He'll be bringing with him some material from his J5 days and his solo album, as well as a bit of new material from his mix tapes and his newest album-in-the-works to test-drive on the crowds.

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