Album review: Cali Swag District's 'The Kickback'
A hit dance song is the music industry equivalent of hitting a hole in one — a fluke that you could conceivably spend the rest of your life seeking to replicate. So credit Inglewood's Cali Swag District, the disseminator of “Teach Me How to Dougie,” for attempting to avoid the pitfalls of being pigeonholed as last year's novelty.
After a tumultuous gestation involving an amicable departure from previous label Capitol Records and the tragic shooting death of member Montae “M-Bone” Talbert, its debut, “The Kickback,” positions the crew as Kid 'N Play for the swag set: eclectic iPod-era kids always up for a house party.
Parties are now called functions. High-top fades are far less common than tattoos and YouTube. However, teenagers inevitably gravitate toward identical themes: fast cars, adolescent lust and songs that make them want to dance. Thus, “Roof Back,” “Burn Out (Drive Fast),” “Me and U,” “I'm Freaking You,” “Can't Live Without My Music,” and the once-ubiquitous “Dougie” stick to the script like a presidential candidate in October.
As rappers and personalities, Smoove, Yung and Jay are relaxed and affable.
With “Kickback,” they prove they know how to throw a good party. Next time, the threesome will need to strive for better than par.
Cali Swag District
Two and a half stars (Out of four)
— Jeff Weiss