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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Michael Stone
Published June 27, 2006

Noches de Hip Hop (Latin Hip Hop Nights)
Immergent

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.