I remember back when I was a baby in the '80s my pops would have my uncles and his homies over on the weekends and they’d pound away bottles of Rum, Vodka and chase ‘em down with beers and cigarettes. While doing this and playing cards they’d play their homemade mixtapes laced with everything BUT hip-hop. One of my favorite songs that would constantly get played during those alcohol infused weekends was “Hotel California” by The Eagles. I didn’t really know what they were singing about, but the guitar strings and melodic hook had me at “Hotel.” I thought this song was lost to the hip-hop culture, but here we have this kid Kali out of Cali and it seems we have the same appreciation for that certain song though I’m sure for very different reasons.

More recently known for his Midnight Club: Los Angeles videogame gig (son did the theme song), Kali seems to pride himself on being a California lyricist who’s determined to continue the development of the New West. Son’s style and flow adapted well to the hard beat on “The Code,” the bouncy rhythm on “Rollin Down The Freeway” and the lighter themed “Cali Kali,” but in my opinion his lyricism left much to be desired.

Every rapper in the game done made a song about their love affair with Marijuana, so I wasn’t surprised to see Kali venture down the road more traveled than Amber Rose, but with lines like, “I’m so high/blood shot eyes/cranberry kush got me feeling so fly/I’m up in the sky/see me ride by/like a brand new jet, baby, we can take a ride/that weed smell good/let me get a dub/ I’ma smoke this in the back of the club/my Mercedes’ on dubs/all these ladies on drugs/all these ladies on me and I’m fucked up,” it’s evident that he’s just setting himself up to get lost in the shuffle.

His club attempts like “Have Some Fun” or “Get Focused” where he spit, “Miami on Monday/Tuesday in Tennessee/Wednesday I’m in DC sippin’ Hennessey/Thursday, Texas/Friday, New Orleans/Saturday I’m back on the beach up in OC/Sunday’s Spain, spend a week in France/next Monday I’ll start it all over again,” sounded as formulaic as you can get with it. Where’s the creativity? Where’s the originality?

I’ll say that I was a bit disappointed with Kali’s overall effort. I figured him being a fan of that one song would show some sort of appreciation for music and he’d push himself to be extra original and just different. Plus these Cali MCs have been coming out the woodworks with straight forest fires. But aside from the good choice of beats, versatile flow and style that allow him to rock on street bangers and club crawlers alike, the lyrics and rhymes aren’t anything that hasn’t been said to death already. With so many Cali MCs vying for a spot in the game, Kali has his work cut out for him. Unless he becomes more creative and original with his writing, he might have to use that check from Rock Star Games to take Hotel & Business Management classes.—The Infamous O

Hottest Joint: “The Code”

Weakest Joint: “Have Some Fun”