Funky Lemonade Remix By Chi Ali
I can imagine a day will come when someone might make a documentary about Chi Ali. Not cause of his music so much as the crazy turn his life took that surprised everyone. He was one of the first “kid rappers” that older rappers co-signed, who seemed like he might actually grow up to become decent. Much like groups like Illegal and Da Youngsta’s, Chi Ali came about in the early 90’s when it seemed like everyone was scrambling to find the first great kid MC. Sure, LL cool J had already killed it as a 14 year old in the mid 80’s but I think people were angling more toward a high voiced kid, where as Cool J was more of a man child.
Ali was first heard on the posse cut “Pass the 40” off the debut album by Black Sheep
Ali definitely stood out as, for one, his voice was so high it sounded like a dog whistle. But, more importantly, he held is own on a track with adults as well as craved out a niche of a child rapping who wasn’t on some bubble gum shit. Sure, he may or may not have had underarm hair yet but he was still rapping about bagging hoes. As a person who was the same age as him at the time. I sure as hell loved it. Shortly after that, he put out his only album “The Fabulous Chi Ali” that received a little buzz here and there but, mostly, no one really gave a shit. I’d imagine listening to a whole album of a squeaky voiced child rapper just was too much for most hip hop heads to handle back then.
His single was a minor success but that was about it.
The unfortunate thing about his debut is that he had crazy beats all over it. Produced almost entirely by the Beatnuts, had those tracks been given to any decent rapper from that era, it would be an album people would still be talking about to this day.
I can’t blame the dude though…he was 14. For a 14 year old, he was a good rapper. However, things changed (literally) right after that when he released two songs as a new man…a man with an adults voice. Things seemed to be on the upswing. One song is the remix above. The other was a remix for his song “Roadrunner” (Titled “The puberty remix).
Unfortunately, right when things started going well for him, he shocked everyone by murdering his sisters boyfriend. He was even on “America’s most wanted”. That’s pretty much where his recording career ended. I was especially surprised cause i had actually sorta met him while in high school. He knew a friend of a friend and, one day after school (this was around 90-91), we briefly hung out. I noticed he was a really shy dude. Like the type who looks at the ground a lot to avoid eye contact. Perhaps he was just not feeling boisterous that day or whatever but he certainly didn’t seem like a murderer.
Whatever the case, he served a 12 year sentence and is out now. It’s kinda ironic cause had this taken place ten years later, he might have gotten tons of street cred from killing someone and, perhaps, it would have even helped his career. Bad timing , I suppose.
As for his current status, I have no clue what he’s up to but, hey, I wish him the best.