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Kaliban :: Point Blank Range :: Lock and Stock Records

The California rap scene is one that has been begging to re-emerge with some convincing young talent. It seems that the only releases that universally draw attention from this region anymore are from the tired but true veterans of the game. Surely album sales are a major drive for record labels and sometimes that interest coincides with a region; the perception that a certain area is the grounds for hip-hop at the current timeframe. However, rest assured that even though the focus may be elsewhere, there is always some young, hungry emcee trying to gain deserved recognition when you are not paying attention. Kaliban is the new kid from South Central Los Angeles, who hopes to draw the attention of the masses one quiet release at a time.

Kal's story is a typical one when it comes to rap music, as he too grew up in a gang-ridden neighborhood. Amidst the violence and corruption, he took his mic and rap skills to the local scene, coming up through the freestyle battle circuits. He further progressed to more mainstream plateaus like the Nike Battleground Competition, where he took home a trophy. The most notable difference between Kaliban and standard fare is his apparent humble nature--he is often shrouded in shadows, with his eyes covered by a straight-billed Los Angeles Dodgers fitted. It is a bit of a relief to see an emcee that does not need a gangsta grill and an icy adornment hanging around his neck to sell himself. A fair comparison that can be determined from the new disc "Point Blank Range," is that Kaliban is similar to fellow West coaster Crooked I, or perhaps a silky mixture of the Cali Agents members (Planet Asia and Rasco).

The album starts with a track of frenetic energy and a flurry of hardcore lyricism on "Roulette." The track not-surprisingly relates Russian roulette with the street life. The Antidote produced cut is a great introduction for a relatively unknown rapper, given that Kal shows off his song writing chops with a catchy hook:

"It's just a friendly game of Russian roulette
Fully loaded clips, automatic techs
Bad ass bitches, million dollar checks
Billion dollar hoes that kill for your Rolex

It's just a friendly game of Russian roulette
Pistols on a plane, ballin' on a jet
Fools want to hate me, ain't seen me yet
But skip them dudes, I'm on my cash quest"

It is pretty standard gun-toting gangster fare, but the important thing is that Kaliban spits it with a certain believable conviction. And for the most part, the featured artist does not stray from the formula.

One exception of the rule is the following track, "Bend Over," which is Kal's self-described "party and bullshit" anthem that would find a fitting home in the environment of a dingy strip club. The synthy track is a dead ringer for a Lil' Jon production and is almost a necessary diversion for the average rap listener these days. For what it is, the ass-shaking romp is fairly catchy and the most likely of radio singles of the material found on "Point Blank Range".

"World of Fantasy" is perhaps the most emotive track on the entire EP. It is an autobiographical piece about the Kaliban's efforts in making it as a rap star, confessing the goal to be just a dream when he first started his rapping ways. The song runs at about 5 minutes before it tapers off into an interlude, but it certainly shows that Kaliban can carry full-fledged tracks on his very own, which is a weakness of a lot of mix tape joints you may hear from up and comers. Again, the beat selection is well done as Kal spits venomously over some 80's rock sounding samples and a soaring vocal sample which bridges into the hook, creating another winner.

There are occasional missteps on the disc, as is the case with many releases, especially from less established artists that do not have a huge budget production team. "Paper Cut" is the most notable, as it unfolds as a lazier effort from the snare drum beat to Kal's flow, which is much slower than his norm. Still, the song has its own part in the ongoing conceptual storyline of the disc, which is a selective interview with the artist and different aspects of his life--a perfect idea for someone trying to distinguish oneself from an overcrowded marketplace of amateurish rappers.

"Point Blank Range" further proves that it has a little something for most any rap fans as Kal delves into the nostalgic by re-working "Brooklyn's Finest," Jay-Z's classic from "Reasonable Doubt." Some may say that artists doing this are committing sacrilege, but Kaliban does a very respectable job in molding this into his own image. "LA's Finest" still shares the spirit and enjoyable nature of its source material.

Kaliban has felt his share of industry woes, hence his controversial namesake. He began his career under the moniker 50 Cal, quite close to the Dipset cohort 40 Cal's rap name. He chose to make the change to reflect his opinion of himself as an "industry terrorist," to get his point across and to represent his kill or be killed mentality. Whether you agree with his tactics or not, Kaliban is a force to be reckoned with and the industry should certainly start looking his way for a fresh face that can make an impact on the genre (and possibly SoundScan).

If you want to hear a talented rap artist that is giving it his all to carve a niche in the rap scene, with countless mixtapes gathering him buzz, then look no further than this man. You can check out his music on Killiban.com, or Myspace.com/KalibanMC, because such an artist deserves to be recognized. The "Point Blank Range" EP unveils an artist more rounded than his proper releases should account for, complete with a running concept throughout the disc. Kaliban, the new guy from South Central comes correct.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10 - Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler


"Point Blank Range EP" by Kaliban (Hip-Hop/Rap artist from Los Angeles, California (CA))

"Point Blank Range EP" by Kaliban is the real deal as far as true hip-hop goes. This South-Central raised emcee brings game to the table. The lyrics are fresh with a tight flow. There is no restraint whatsoever in Kaliban's delivery....pure confidence. The sounds behind the voice are club worthy and will make the room sticky quick. There is no shortage of huge beats and claps. The nuances in between will keep you thriving for more. The production quality of this album is top-notch and radio ready. Sounds like gold. Highlights are "Bend Over," soon to be a club anthem and sexy as hell. "World of Fantasy" features a cool sped up tape effect in in between thick beats. "Point Blank Range" is revengeful and intense, with a heavy vocal performance. If you like 2-Pac and Kanye West, you'll enjoy this entertaining CD. - William and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team


Put your prejudices and preconceptions aside, put your hip-hop head on for some serious and gritty fun.

Kaliban may have a similar hot headed attitude to that of 50 Cent and other ‘comedy’ rappers, and people feel the need to compare Kaliban to Fiddy on first impressions. But then Kaliban has spent the best part of a decade on the Los Angeles underground, honing his skills in the rap battles and putting out many mixtapes and collaborating and releasing material under different aliases such as 50 Cal, The Mint, and even as part of a rap group called Filthy Rich Criminals, maybe he has a fair few things to get hot headed about. But its this struggle that arguably gives him an edge over that of Fiddy. But there’s something more, something grittier to him than the obvious comparisons.

There may be a grittiness to Kaliban, but on his new album ‘Point Blank Range’, which as the title suggest is up, close and in your face, and it could well be Kaliban’s first attempt at the big time, as he can’t seem to resist expanding on the grittiness and filling his album with club bangers, plus with just 9 tracks, one of which is just an intro, the album swoops through you in one quick and banging smash, with Kaliban taking you on a smash ‘n’ grab journey around the underbelly of Los Angeles, taking in the hip-hop clubs to do his thing, in particular.

The biggest banger on the album is the ‘Russian Roulette’, with Kaliban coming on like a pumped up but playful version of Ice Cube, with his battle rap mode put into full effect. Then there’s the fizzy, sizzling, superclub bound, saxophone sound charging of all over the place, and going round the hood quite possibly looking for the nearest rapper to have a ‘friendly’ rap beef with as Kaliban compares the rap game to a ‘friendly game of Russian roulette.’

But then Kaliban gets all cheeky and fun not too mention lively as he really gets into his comfort zone on the darting beats of ‘Bend Over’, which has Kaliban being on the prowl for women and being honest about it too as he says to a woman, ‘lets be real you’ve got cash on your mind so I’m a be real I’ve got ass on mine’ and then later proclaiming ‘Even a blind man couldn’t miss that ass.’ It’s good to see that the misogyny is firmly intact here, with a nod, a wink, and a tongue in cheek from Kaliban.

The grittiness, which was simmering in the background on the previous tracks, is turned up on the menacing and edgy ‘All Bets Off’ with Kaliban staking his claim, as he boasts ‘Some call me a problem, most call me the best’, berating the haters and trying his best to rile his rivals in the process. The big rock and stuttering soul of ‘World Of Fantasy’ see’s Kaliban really hitting on the doors of the big boys such as Jay-Z saying anything you can do I can do to but on a lower budget. The strings get even bigger, with the beats turning into dramatic drum rolls as they compete with the gun shot sounds of the streets and take on an oriental tone on the all encompassing title track ‘Point Blank Range.’ ‘We Don’t Care’ and its 10 tonne beats bring things back to a loose and funky level, with the Notorious BIG sampling ‘LA’s Finest’ rounding things of nicely.

With the mainstream hip-hop in the charts at the moment, from the likes of Timbaland, and Flo-Rida etc being a little too clean cut and precision tooled and not really having anything to say, then the sweet swagger and the rough n ready version from Kaliban easily provides an alternative.

Ok so if the hot headedness of 50 Cent isn’t your thing then you probably won’t get much form here, but for an album full of bangers and if you’re easily excited by this then you can’t go wrong with ‘Point Blank Range’. What Kaliban offers is big sounding hip-hop made on a budget and made with authority. Maybe the next time the budget will be bigger and the message will be louder, because hopefully there is more to come.

For more information go to www.killiban.com and www.myspace.com/kalibanMC

The album is available now on iTunes and CDBaby.com
- Ben Bradford


Mixtape Report: Early March Pt. 1

Name: Kaliban
Title: Point Blank Range
3 Best Cuts: World of Fantasy
Paper Cut
Pro: Dude's flow is so on point that he sounds like a 20 year veteran
Con: Why aren't more people talking about this dude?
- Thick Online


Kaliban: Point Blank Range (2008)
Kaliban: Da .44 Killa Round 2 (2007)
Kaliban: Da .44 Killa (2006)
Kaliban aka 50 Kal: Trigga-Nometry (2003)
Various Mixtapes: Fireball Mix (2003), Pirate Radio Mix (2004), Nino Brown Mix (2004)



No pimp cup. No gold teeth. No running suit dipped in Gucci. Kaliban is strictly business. L.A.'s resident battle rap title-holder is no stranger to the commercialized front lines of today's rap scene—and he's ready to change it. The question is, is today's rap scene ready to take on Kaliban? With all the cookie-cutter, recycled, studio rappers in the industry there needs to be a samurai that paints a clear portrait between a true and original Hip-Hop Great and a label-made clone. That samurai has arrived.

Kaliban grew up in a part of South Central Los Angeles he refers to as "the Danger Zone", dubbed that due to alarming murder rates and brutal turf wars. In the midst of that urban battleground he honed his take-no-prisoner spit fire style at local underground spots like Project Blowed, Elements, Fais Do-Do, and Galaxy. Places like these have a strict hold-your-own policy and chances were Kaliban showed and proved on a solo mission. Never the type to roll 10 deep, he was notorious for silently sliding into a cipher and murdering ten emcees at a time all without ever taking off his hoodie. Like a true samurai, he would do his killing, humbly collect his props, and disappear into the night as swiftly as he came. Some may say this sounds like a movie but to those struggling emcees in L.A.'s fight for supremacy, this is their living, breathing, walking nightmare. Not only does Kaliban have undoubted street credibility, his rhymes are packed with the smarts of Einstein and the street hustle of a young Willie D. He has a strong understanding of the current rap game and is able to disguise himself as a wolf in sheep's clothing; appealing to audiences, murderous to label-made clones.

As a true samurai would, Kaliban is always working to improve his art and has teamed up with several other artists and producers in his quest for Hip-Hop supremacy. In the early 2000's, Kaliban, going by his alias 50 Cal, teamed with producer DJ Obi to release his first solo album, Trigga-Nometry in 2003. It's heavy, sampled sounds combined with Kal's lethal lyrical prowess made it a widespread underground success. Always hungry for more, while still working on solo projects, Kaliban became member of rap groups, Cobra LA (CLA) and later the Filthy Rich Criminals (FRC)—working with industry names such as Father MC, B-Real, and DJ Warrior.

With his rhyme game locked down, Kaliban ventured off into more mainstream gambles where the purses were bigger. He took home a trophy from Nike's Battleground competition where he destroyed emcees from all over the country. With fangs dripping with industry blood, he became hungry for more high profile marks. It was time to hit the movies. Kaliban landed his song, "Sewaside", on the Lions Gate motion picture release titled "Drive Thru" released in 2007. Kaliban was not done yet. He then starred in "Battle For New York", an independent movie that showed the difference between a "rapper" and an emcee. In true form, Kaliban was cast as the ultimate emcee to square off against sixteen opponents. Not a far stretch from his day to day routine. Kaliban did gain a strong business sense from the making of this movie and he applied that knowledge to his future undertakings.

Currently, Kaliban is back to focusing on his solo career with his latest release “Point Blank Range”, under his own indie label, Lock and Stock Records—this time aiming at the majors with fresh new sounds and production, while keeping true to his art of being a bona-fide, battle-bred emcee. A direct product of Hip-Hop, Kaliban has songs that appeal to every type of Hip-Hop listener because of his undeniable gift to rhyme, and flawless delivery. Kaliban is truly the type of emcee we rarely see nowadays—the real deal.

CLONES BEWARE: Brace your pimp cups and guard your grills, the terror alert is rising and Kaliban is awake.