Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cali Agents (Rasco & Planet Asia)

Cali Agents are American rap group from California made up of rappers Rasco and Planet Asia.Bringing together the talents of respected West Coast solo rappers Rasco and Planet Asia, both of whom had piled up music awards and critical praise within the hip-hop community, Cali Agents issued their debut album in 2000 with How the West Was Won. The recording, which reflected influences from both coasts, combined the strength of Rasco's powerful delivery with the fluid lyrics of Planet Asia.




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Rasco and Planet Asia, two West Coast MCs who had enjoyed mildly successful and well-respected solo careers, joined forces in 2000 to produce a group much stronger than the sum of its parts. Their individual releases, although technically sound, had been a bit monotonous at times, but as a tag team duo they complement each other perfectly. Rasco plays the part of the grumpy, serious old veteran, scolding those he doesn't approve of, while Planet Asia personifies the younger, wilder side, playing off his partner to include some fun in the mix. Together with a diverse lineup of producers, they create an incredibly simple yet effective sound, combining hard drumbeats with a violin, piano, or guitar sample in a formula heavily influenced by Gang Starr's DJ Premier. Lyrically, the duo tiptoes between pleasing an underground audience highly suspicious of the mainstream and attempting to make a living and enjoy success. Planet Asia sums up the group's approach on "This Is My Life," rhyming, "Not only do we rock fresh gear, but when it comes to hip-hop we're like a breath of fresh air, like yeah!/And just to let y'all side busters know, we rep the underground but still we're out to make dough." Cali Agents craft a surprising debut that strikes a balance between different hip-hop crowds, East and West Coast, underground and above, but manage to maintain their artistic integrity.

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A long-anticipated yet under-the-radar late-2006 release, the Cali Agents' follow-up to their excellent 2000 debut, How the West Was One, presents more decidedly dark, East Coast-flavored production over Rasco and Planet Asia's West Coast flow. Despite its lack of much press, Fire & Ice is a pretty good record, showing off the two MCs' skills on tracks like "The Science," "Bang," and the Stones Throw-esque sounding "Something New." Though California's mainstream hip-hop scene has been lacking some in the past few years, the underground has been very strong and has produced a lot of notable, important artists (Jurassic 5, Madlib, Blackalicious, Del, Ras Kass, just to name a few), and both rappers here have had impressive solo careers. And their collaboration as Cali Agents just shows how strong they, and the West Coast, really are.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

very nice, thank you!

balo said...

I am going to stop to buy generic viagra because I will buy this albums, I love the Rap music and hip.hop,I lived in California and I had been in many parties with this kind of music.

Macronia said...

I think they can't surpassed what they did on "How the West Was One", it was an explosive debut and ever since they started to decrease. if69
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Thomas said...

I admire the works of Cali Agents. It is good to know that they have managed to perform underground rap music but still earning money out of it. I hope they stay within their style.

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