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Mr. Criminal – L.W.A. Latin With Attitude (WEB) (2016) (320 kbps)

2016, Mr. Criminal , , 15.12.2016

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Mellow Man Ace – Mentirosa (VLS) (1990) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

1990, Mellow Man Ace , , , , 03.08.2016
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Tego Calderón – The Underdog/ El Subestimado (2006) (CD) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

2006, Tego Calderon , , 11.05.2016

Jason Birchmeier@allmusic: ”As the next-big-thing reggaeton story line was repeatedly narrated throughout 2005 and 2006, detailing how the Puerto Rican musical style had quickly ascended to commercial prominence among Latinos, a certain conventional knowledge arose about who the figureheads were, namely Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Tego Calderón. And so a horse race seemed to be taking place among these three, with Omar even going so far as titling his 2006 album King of Kings in acknowledgement. Such bravado is unsurprising, of course, given the deep influence of hip-hop upon reggaeton, but still, a certain segment of the swelling reggaeton audience was put off by the cock-fight-like swaggering. Hence the widespread embrace and celebration of Calle 13, a clownish duo that was a breath of fresh air for many, and also hence The Underdog/El Subestimado, Calderón’s similarly refreshing sophomore album. (Calderón’s previous release, El Enemy de los Guasíbiri [2004] was mostly comprised of stray recordings that predate his debut, El Abayarde [2003].) The Underdog/El Subestimado is refreshing because it eschews the boilerplate aspects of so much reggaeton — that is, the production style patented and mass-marketed by Luny Tunes, and duplicated ad nauseam by lesser bandwagon-jumpers, to the point where this style became not just generic but a serious liability seized upon by critics who remarked over and over, “It all sounds the same!” Well, it doesn’t all sound the same on The Underdog/El Subestimado. This is an album that revels in its willingness to freewheel from salsa and dancehall to straight-up rap in its earnest attempt to showcase a unique style of reggaeton that is creative as well as rousing. Calderón certainly plays an important role in this attempt, as his flow purposefully varies from track to track and his wry persona looms large over the album. His selection of producers is also key, as he works with relatively unknown beat-makers who stretch the boundaries of reggaeton, coloring outside the lines. The end result is a polychromatic take on the style, one that demonstrates how creatively rich reggaeton can be when artists are willing to take risks and move beyond the proven marketability of the Luny Tunes template. Sure, much of the same could be said about Omar’s King of Kings, released a few months earlier. Yet as bold as that album is at times, its adventurousness pales in comparison to the whimsy of The Underdog/El Subestimado. Omar and Daddy Yankee may be reggaeton’s kingpins, competing for an intangible throne of respect and admiration among the masses of the reggaeton nation, but with The Underdog/El Subestimado, Calderón, the style’s other figurehead, abandons the horse race and trailblazes his own path, one that’s considerably more interesting musically, and respectable in its own way.”

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Tego Calderón – El Enemy De Los Guasibiri (2004) (CD) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

2004, Tego Calderon , , 11.05.2016

Jason Birchmeier@allmusic: ”Tego Calderón’s debut album, El Abayarde (2003), helped elevate him atop the Latin urban music scene. Calderón appealed to both the reggaeton and Latin rap crowds, as his music incorporated the best elements of both, and many fans waited impatiently to see how he’d follow up his impressive debut album. When he finally did so with El Enemy de los Guasíbiri in 2004, it wasn’t exactly the album all those fans had hoped for. Sure, it’s Tego through and through and there are numerous highlights here, but ultimately the 17-track, 52-minute El Enemy de los Guasíbiri is a hodgepodge, packaging a bunch of previously released material into what appears to be new product. A couple songs even had appeared on El Abayarde in alternate versions (the standout Luny Tunes productions “Güasa, Güasa” and “El Natural”). Yet, though the album may be a clearing-house in disguise, at least there is an abundance of highlights on El Enemy de los Guasíbiri, among them the aforementioned Luny Tunes productions (as well as another excellent Luny effort, “Baílalo Como Tu Quieras”), “Cosa Buena,” the title track, “Sopa de Letra,” and the Eddie Dee collabo “En Peligro de Extinción.” On the other hand, there are some poor songs here as well, cluttering what could have been a solid, if slimmer, odds-and-ends collection.”

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Tego Calderon – El Abayarde (2003) (CD) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

2003, Tego Calderon , , 11.05.2016

Alex Henderson: ”In the continental United States, the vast majority of Latino rappers have favored a bilingual approach. That has been true of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles (Kid Frost, Lighter Shade of Brown, Proper Dos) and Puerto Ricans in New York (Hurricane G, Mesanjarz of Funk) as well as the Cuban-born Mellow Man Ace. Those artists have opted to rap in both English and Spanish — mostly English — but in Latin America, it’s a different story. From Mexico City to Buenos Aires, Latin America is full of MCs who exclusively rap in Spanish — which is what Tego Calderón does on his debut album, El Abayarde, an intriguing effort that draws on influences ranging from Willie Colón and Rubén Blades to the late 2Pac Shakur. Calderón’s grooves often have a strong Afro-Cuban/salsa influence — occasionally, he incorporates reggae and Dominican merengue instead — and his flow definitely owes something to Shakur despite the fact that 2Pac only rapped in English. Those who have some understanding of Spanish will have no problem identifying Calderón as a Puerto Rican; the Caribbean dialects of Spanish (Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican) are easily recognizable if you’ve studied that language, and Calderón’s accent is quite different from the Mexican accent one associates with Kid Frost or Lil’ Blacky. In fact, Latinos who aren’t knowledgeable of Puerto Rican slang may not understand all of the colloquialisms that the rapper employs. Regardless, Calderón obviously has strong rhyming skills, and El Abayarde is sonically appealing even if you don’t understand everything he’s saying. While most of the CD is hip-hop with Latin overtones, “Planté Bandera” is outright salsa. But that track is the exception instead of the rule; El Abayarde is a rap album first and foremost, and those who aren’t intimidated by the language barrier will find it to be a solid debut for the Puerto Rican MC.”

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