Cali Life Style - Mexican Invasion
If there’s one truth that was said on "Mexican Invasion", it was “West Coast on hit, & C.C is legit”. Often overlooked for their contributions to the Chicano Rap game, the Central Coast shares much of the sentiment that Orange County and the Inland Empire have: we are quick to give praise to San Diego and Los Angeles for their contributions but forget that the Southland is much more than SD & L.A.
The 805’s favorite duo has been paying dues since day one. I first heard parts of this album in the mid 2000s when I was downloading random songs off Limewire. Years later I bought this and "Tell It Like It Is" for a deal. While the sophomore album was an improvement over their first effort, "Mexican Invasion" dropped when L.A was buzzing with Frost, Slow Pain and Brownside while San Diego was hitting hard with the Knightowl, Mr. Lil One and Aztec Tribe. It put the 805 on the map, and rightfully so, considering they pushed more party and funk oriented rhymes. Half the album is composed of thumping funk samples and the other is made up of smoother R&B samples mixed in. The intro track stands out for its hyped up loop of “Bounce Rock Skate” with an upbeat flow from a young CLS. I assume it’s one of their first tracks recorded.
Continuing with the dope vibes, "Time To Glide" kicks off with a funky synthesizer and meshes with a sample of a Patrice Rushen jam. To be quite frank, the synth and the loop don’t really go together, I would have preferred the synth over an upbeat funk sample, the rapping however was legit. Notable for its references and diss to Lighter Shade, "Down From The Get Go" is one of the more distinguished songs in the album, almost sounds like it belongs in a future release. Albeit there are times when the snare would have sounded better if it was a clap. Party jams like "Freakin'" were meant to for kicking bass in your face. One of their most enjoyable tracks, you can even feel the fun emanating from the production.
The cleanest production is boasted on "Coastin'" almost as if Tony A The Wizard or one of the legendary KDAY DJs had a say in it. Some shade is thrown at LSOB, illuminates some of the obscurity around their beef (coincidentally the instrumental appears on one of LSOB’s biggest hits). Can’t listen to the song too long, I get bored by it after 2 minutes. As for "Down For My Crown", there is something about it that sounds out of tune to me, as if the different parts of the song are not in synchronization. Among the best songs is "Sucka Free". T Dre and Delux did an outstanding job rapping to the beat and staying on point. The chorus is just as good as the rapping, a full embodiment of the West Coast sound.
As I stated before, when I was first getting into Chicano Rap, I had downloaded a few songs from this album, at first "Very Next Day" really stood out and easily became a favorite track. The guys could rap, the upbeat instrumental with the DJ Quik-like cowbells and the synth made it for an enjoyable song. I am not fond of love songs and I wasn’t convinced otherwise when I heard "Float On". Bringing the debut to an end, "Lost" will forever be a classic in the barrio. The sample is well looped, the chorus sounds dope, and the cuts by DJ Bishop (I assume that’s who did it since CLS mentions his name in the song) are fantastic. Triple C even used a portion of the song as their chorus on "Times Are Getting Crazy".
I bought the version with the bright blue cover, the one with the altered parental advisory logo on the bottom center. Old English on the cover probably overdone but it is eye catching. On the back panel, they did an homage to the famous James Bond 007 barrel of the gun with the silhouette of Delux and T Dre in the center. Overall the album is at perfect length, no fillers. The “Mexican Avengers” (as they referred to themselves several times) provided a sound and style that should be much more prevalent, more party jams less gangster rap, a true California life style. Gotta reciprocate the love back to the 805 for always giving San Diego a proper shout out, "S.D, The Knightowl, 8•0•5•6•1•9" is written in the liner notes. Gotta give Tomas Solis his due credit for the production, he really gifted Chicano Rap fans a gem.
01. Ordinary Day
02. Time To Glide
03. Down From The Get Go
05. Coastin' (feat. Raylene)
06. Down For My Crown
07. Sucka Free (feat. Raylene)
08. Very Next Day
09. Float On (feat. Buddy Luv)