Cali Agents' super-duo pedigree and underground reputation have led some to dub members Rasco and Planet Asia a West Coast Black Star. But that label is misleading: While Black Star's debut was a deeply felt manifesto infused with ambition and sociopolitical urgency, How The West Was One is an endless battle-rap session that serves as little more than a thorough assertion of the duo's lyrical dominance. Thankfully, Rasco and Planet Asia are battle-rappers of the highest order, excelling in nearly every aspect of rapping other than lyrical diversity. They may lack Black Star's social conscience, but they share its chemistry, bouncing off each other with dexterity and assurance. The pair is so good, in fact, that after a while it's tempting to concede that they're the greatest rappers in the history of the world, just so they'll move on to topic number two. Alas, that moment never arrives, but it says much about Cali Agents' prowess that it doesn't really matter: Though limited, How The West Was One is enormously enjoyable. Planet Asia also shows up on Dilated Peoples' hotly anticipated debut, The Platform, which shares many of How The West Was One's strengths and weaknesses. Like Cali Agents, Dilated Peoples doesn't expand its subject matter far beyond its lyrical greatness, its superiority to all adversaries, and the conclusiveness of its victory in any rhyme battle, roughly in that order. But, as with Cali Agents, it's a minor flaw: The group members clearly love what they're doing, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Equally infectious is the production work of up-and-coming producer Alchemist, who did much of the album with the help of Tha Alkaholiks' mighty E-Swift, Dilated Peoples leader Evidence, and others. Not surprisingly, E-Swift and the always-on-point Alkaholiks are responsible for the album's rowdy, insanely catchy highlight, "Right On," while the Alchemist-produced title track features Dilated Peoples at its most dynamic and hard-hitting. Like West, Platform would benefit from greater lyrical diversity, and it suffers from moments of monotony and inertia, but it's a promising debut from a group that should only improve with time.