Aretha Franklin

Cali Swag District, "The Kickback"

News
3.5
<p>Until earlier this year Los Angeles' <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/cali-swag-district/1502383">Cali Swag District</a> was best-known for "Teach Me How to Dougie," the 2010 hip-hop hit whose various viral videos have racked up tens of millions of views on YouTube. On May 15, though, the rap foursome's reputation changed dramatically when its 22-year-old dancer, Montae Talbert (known as M-Bone), was killed in a drive-by shooting. Cali Swag District's surviving members memorialize M-Bone in the artwork of The Kickback, the group's debut full-length, which was originally set for release last year through Capitol before arriving in stores independently through a distribution deal with Sony RED. That dedication is a rare glimmer of gravity on a set filled with buzzy, lightweight odes to whips ("Burn Out [Drive Fast]"), women ("I'm Freaking You") and weed ("I Don't Need Your Money"). In the <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/rick-ross/690440">Rick Ross</a>-sampling "Roof Back" the group economizes, rolling all three interests into one track, and the result feels like a postcard from simpler days.</p>