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CD REVIEW: M.O.N.E.Y. by Challenga

From Manhattan, New York, parents divorced at the age of 5. Relocated with grandparents in Hong Kong from age 5 to 9. Went back to New York and lived in Brooklyn with Mom and Brother til 14, mom remarried and moved out to Vancouver, Canada and lived there for a year and then moved again to Oakland California, attended skyline high for half of freshmen year and switch to Oakland High School. Graduated Oakland High school in 07 and attended University of California Davis. And that is all there is to know about Challenga from where he currently stands, with his first official EP entitled M.O.N.E.Y.

If I knew more I’d report it, but Challenga is new to me and apparently new to the world with M.O.N.E.Y. This June 2017 release comes with five numbers that are all outstanding in their own field, with production honors going to 40K. It gets riding straight out of the gate on “604” with some casual beats before they really get poppin’. But it’s mostly a laid-back beat throughout, but a cool one at that. A chance to get the feel for his delivery is the first thing that comes to mind, and it gets better from there without losing any interest. Then it comes back with a sweet little outro, for what results in an excellent lead jam. “Blow” is up next with all the ingredients of the past going for it, with ego measurement galore, which should be expected in hip-hop by now. So, it checks out with flying colors. If there is such a thing as classic hip-hop and rap, this would fit the mold perfectly. It contains the usual hater vs the successful movers and shakers stuff, which is once again par for the course for any veteran or even new rapper on the scene. You can’t find any fillers on this EP, it needs more songs for that. You won’t be able to start here or anywhere else if you’re trying to shoot anything down about it.

“It Will Be No Different” is where you really get that impression, as he makes it count for all it’s worth, even if the language is heavy, some things are called for if you can handle them. He might get a little harsh on this but it’s not rap lovers aren’t used to. He’s taking no prisoners with this and it’s ok because fortunately music does the business over and above the words, and it’s right up there with the best of modern hip-hop. So, it all evens out in the balance and this track is where it all peaks for me. He sounds like he means every word, so it’s easiest to pick up on where he’s coming from if you play deep.

The two final tracks come down to “M.O.N.E.Y.” itself to start with, and it’s just as good as the former, making them the two best moments for my money. You go through the hustle and the bustle with him and get everything from a laugh to a thrill by the time it ends. He’s pushing the self-worth over the net worth, but not without itemizing and evaluating the subject matter. He puts his wallet in his front pocket and calls it good. But the exit doesn’t happen on as high of a note as I’d hoped, but all is well that ends well, and it does end with as much soul and passion as it starts with. Wanting more even M.O.N.E.Y. is what you’re left with.

BANDCAMP: https://challenga.bandcamp.com/

by Kevin Webber

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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