Planet Asia The Sickness Part One

This long-time West coast legend is now firmly back underground after a deal with Interscope floundered (despite a 2002 Grammy nomination), resulting in only one twelve-inch being released, leaving Asia to low-ride over to indie upstart label Copter in 2005. But, despite back-packer props and indie roots, as Planet Asia says in the album’s second track "Potency”: "My shit’s way gangster that most think.” (Think Common before he de-balled and went all paisley.) If you think that’s harsh, check out the D-Cyde produced "Gangsta, Gangsta.” Whether it’s teaming up with one-time Cali Agents partner Rasco (and Dusk) on "Fight to the Floor,” the always-improving (now that he’s allowed to do more than only sing the hook) Moka Only on "Time after Time,” or flowing with Flii Stylz over the laidback Jake One production of "Moonlight Melodic Pt. 2,” Planet’s A new ish is overground attitude written by a real-deal underground lyricist. (Copter/Universal)