There seems to be this sort of idealization of a hip-hop era of greatness and purity, over ten years ago, right before hip-hop became THE mainstream commercial pop music of the world. Some point out to it as a
second golden age for the movement (the first one being 1988-89) when the Wu-Fam was still dope and Rawkus Records was everybody's favorite label. Then it all went downhill.
It was during those years when I was the most involved in underground hip-hop as a full time job, writing for magazines all over the world, running an indie label and distribution company, hosting a radio show and hanging out with this posse of talented unsigned artists called Séptimo Sentido. So yeah, I too tend to be nostalgic about that hip-hop, those raw dirty beats, those pretentiously serious long verses full of cryptic elaborate rhymes... and my buddies.
Since then, much has happened, I left Argentina and hip-hop purism behind while Septimo Sentido's founding members Mustafá Yoda and Koxmoz became the biggest and most relevant icons in Argentina's hip-hop, taking the game to a whole new level. Now this compilation directed by Mustafá is like a ten-years later class reunion of many of those cats (even Koxmoz's Apolo Novax sows up in two tracks) plus their disciples and acolytes, and they all seem to be stuck in time in 1999, or trying really hard to take things back to that year.
So, of course, for me and the people who lived those years, Sacando Agua Del Desierto has a lot of nostalgic value (I almost cried the first time when I heard them mentioning some of the places we used to hang out) but... could it have a similar effect on a younger crowd, or a crowd that found hip-hop much later, or a crowd outside of hip-hop? I doubt it.
This is the kind of rap music that's exclusively for hardcore rap listeners. Even the Latin Alternative crowd who enjoy of artists like La Maga Rodríguez or Orishas, will not get this at all. It does not have any sort of fusion or crossover appeal, and they don't need it because they've been doing it for years and it works out great for them. They are content being rappers who rap about hip-hop culture for other rappers to listen to. I grew out of that formula ages ago, and sometimes it even pisses me off like, "fuck, yet another song talking about the goddammed four elements, gimme a break!" But since many of these guys were my buddies and I haven't seen them in ages, for me is like revisiting a lost happy chapter of my past.
A separate mention for the beat production is well deserved. Unlike Mustafá's magnificent second solo effort, this album has in common the production rule that all the beat makers involved had to follow of exclusively sampling loops from Argentinean artists' vinyl records, all of them extremely rare old-school grooves. So even if the style of production reminds you of Wu-Tang and that gritty dark 90's New York sound, the results are still quite original.
So, if you are able to sit through long-ass verses of serious hip-hop preaching done by skillful MC's over mid-tempo undanceable beats, I suggest you get a copy of this. But if this is your introduction to the genre, don't waste your time, you won't get it.