Cali Swag District

The Kickback

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It’s tragic that the album where the massive party hit “Teach Me How to Dougie” finds its home includes a dedication to the memory of one of its members. This isn’t gangsta rap, and Cali Swag District are arguably just a less strange version of the Pack with some added mass appeal, but a drive-by shooting cut member M-Bone down in his prime, and this debut effort is dedicated to him. Past that sour note, The Kickback is a cool, slick, and easy party for the most part, with the occasional ballad slowing things down a bit too much. What this crew lack in pillow talk abilities they make up for with club skills, creating a massively worthy phenomenon with their love-it-or-hate-it “Dougie,” and getting wonderfully “dumb” on good-time follow-ups like the disco-crunk “Can’t Live Without My Music” and the kinetic monster “Disgusting,” which brilliantly loops a bit of the Onyx chestnut “Shiftee.” Cute how "9th Inning" piles on the baseball references and the electro-punch of “Roof Back” is worth a rumble in the trunk, but at 15 tracks, there’s some editing to be done.

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