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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


By Michael Stone
Published June 27, 2006

Noches de Hip Hop (Latin Hip Hop Nights)

South Central Los Angeles has had a hip-hop scene almost as long as New York has. This reality, combined with ongoing immigration from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, is the fuel for a vibrant parallel universe of Latin hip-hop. Noches de Hip Hop draws largely on this hybrid Southern California, surveying 12 popular artists. Cuban-born Spanglish rapper Mellow Man Ace once belonged to the DVX quartet that became Cypress Hill. Son Doobie, formerly of Funkdoobiest, rocks a funky Puerto Rican sound with “Por Amor.” Kemo the Blaxican, formerly of the influential Delinquent Habits crew, allows his mixed Mexican and African-American heritage and sassy bilingual delivery to inform “La Receta” and “Ruido,” built on a slinky Latin piano-and-flute riff. Malverde’s Oye Mami” and “Oyelo” showcase a compelling baritone. The music’s sonic and ideological range is further illustrated by Pacoima-born Flow Click’s conjunto accordion, drum machine and sampling; Adicto’s electrified Spanish guitar; Crooked Stilo’s Salvadoran savor; the sexist attitude of Detane (presumably referencing the eponymous sexual lubricant); and the mariachi and Dominican meringue allusions of Bimbo and Decal.