Published Aug 14, 2012American hip-hopper and former Jurassic 5 member Chali 2na has built a reputation for being a relentless touring machine, but also as one of the humblest musicians around. Given its reputation for peace and love (and, well, drugs and sex), Shambhala was the perfect venue for Chali 2na (aka Charles Stewart). And while he did dig into the Jurassic 5 bag of tricks for a couple of classic tracks, he mostly focused on Chali originals, spurred on by his House of Vibe, one of the hottest live hip-hop/funk bands since the last go-around of Public Enemy.
All the while, Chali's stage energy was infectious, a little goofy and always downright precious. When he wasn't sticking his tongue out at us in a classic "wassup" gesture, he was being genuinely touched by the packed audience's loving reception to what were essentially tricked-out funk jams with Chali's fluid rhymes leading the way. One song about his sick dad had him on the verge of tears, so much so that it was unfathomable that not one of the Shambhaloonies in attendance was able to bum-rush the stage and lock the big man in a healing embrace.
Regardless, the show went on and Chali was able to make a full recovery as he launched into other funky numbers, his fluid rhymes and sporadic freestylin' leading him and the House of Vibe through something he called "Chali Radio," the kind of radio station where everything sounds like summery goodness. And damn if that station didn't get our dials locked, so much so that when Chali's set ended it felt like it had only begun.