How Cali Life Style put the 805 on the map with their dark synth rap, Sureno rap flow, and 80’s electro-funk samples
Cali Life Style was a Chicano rap duo that rocked the underground rap scene in Southern California and beyond in the 90s and early 2000s. They came from Santa Maria, CA, bringing a new sound and style to Chicano rap. They were also one of the first groups to represent the 805 California gang culture and the struggles of the youth in their area. But where is Cali Life Style now? And what legacy did they leave behind?
The debut album, The Mexican Invasion
The duo consisted of rapper T-Dre (Terry Funk) and Delux (Dominick??), as well as Producer/DJ Dominator (Alex Dominguez). A new underground label called Familia Records signed them in 1993. Their debut album, The Mexican Invasion, dropped in 1995, and it was a huge hit. It was played in the Southwestern United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The single “Coastin” showcased their dark synth rap, Sureno rap flow, and 80’s electro-funk samples. They also gave a voice to the 805 California gang culture with their lyrics and references. They differed from other Chicano rappers from LA and San Diego who used 70’s soul samples or 50’s rare groove and soul samples.
You can listen to some of their songs from this album on YouTube.
The second album, Tell It Like It Is
Their second album, Tell It Like It Is, came out in 1999 after being recorded in 1998. It didn’t get much attention when it was released because Chicano rap had changed by then. Acts like Lil Rob and Knightowl dominated with their 50’s rare groove and soul samples. But later on, people realized that Tell It Like It Is was a dope album. It used 80’s electro-funk samples creatively and strongly. Dominator, a DJ member of Cali Life Style, was influenced by this and formed Central Coast Clique the following year. He changed the Chicano rap scene to 805 -CA- 80’s electro-funk rap.
You can read more about their biography and discography on Last.fm.
Side view close-up of modern black microphone and headphones for recording trendy songs. Concept of special musical equipment in the professional music studio.
The third album, Sun Up 2 Sun Down
Their third and last album before hiatus, Sun Up 2 Sun Down, was released on Sep. 11, 2001. The third album also went under the radar because Chicano rap had moved towards the NB Ridaz style with its Zapp&Rogger, POP love ballads. But Sun Up 2 Sun Down still did better than Tell It Like It Is with its popularity boost from the LA radio show Pocos Pero Locos from the lead single “1st Thang’s First”. Like Tell It Like It Is, it blended Miami bass and synth-pop in their flow. It was a rare case in Chicano rap. DJ Dominator did not fully produce Sun Up 2 Sun Down but co-produced with a young Fingazz.
The hiatus and the comeback
The duo then took a break and made individual appearances for other acts throughout the 2000s. They worked with Central Coast Clique, Chino Grande, Don Cisco, E-Dub, and Paul Dateh.
So where is Cali Life Style now? Well, according to their Last.fm biography, they are still active as of 2020. They maintain a presence on Facebook, regularly sharing updates on their dedicated page. And videos of their music. and also have a YouTube channel where they upload their songs and interviews. They have not released any new albums since Sun Up 2 Sun Down, but they have collaborated with other artists like Mr. Criminal, Mr. Capone-E, Lil Cuete, Mr. Shadow, Lil Rob, Conejo, etc.
Feel free to stay connected with them on Facebook platforms.
Cali Life Style is one of the pioneers of Chicano rap and one of the most influential groups in the underground rap scene in Southern California and beyond. They have a loyal fan base that still supports their music and legacy. And have also inspired many other rappers to follow their style and sound. They are not just a rap duo; they are a Cali lifestyle.
In this blog post, we have looked at where it is Cali Life Style now and what legacy it left behind. We have seen that they are still active as of 2020 and have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel where they post their music and videos. We have also seen that they released three albums in the 90s and early 2000s that rocked the underground rap scene in Southern California and beyond with their dark synth rap, Sureno rap flow, and 80s electro-funk samples. They are one of the pioneers of Chicano rap and one of the most influential groups in the underground rap scene. They are not just a rap duo; they are a Cali lifestyle.