Thursday, February 18, 2010
CHOC QUIB TOWN-Oro (Nacional Records, '10)
I first heard about this group when interviewing Sidestepper's Richard Blair. I asked him who was that super hot rapping girl they had added to the group and he told me she was also from a new group called Choc Quib Town (sometimes spelled as one word, some times abbreviated as CQT). I thought, poor guys with a name like that, they're not gonna get too far. I was right about the awkwardness of their name, four years later I still had to check out the spelling on the CD cover before writing the title of this review. But was was wrong about how far they could get...
In the last couple of years these guys got really big in Colombia. They've recently been awarded with a Grammy and thus came their US debut through our friends at Nacional Records. Oro is actually a compilation of their selected work with a total of 16 tracks, only nine of them belonging to the actual Oro album released in Colombia in 2009, the other seven songs are from previous releases. I already had the Colombian version of Oro and a couple of their older tracks, so I was still able to find new gems here.
Choc Quib Town mixes positive afrocentric rap with a mestizo approach to local Colombian rhythms (but sorry, no cumbia here). The productions are slick and the raps are correct. They have great voices, specially Goyo, the girl, who can also sing very well, and they can keep their flow. But the lyrics structure and rhymes are pretty basic, something that seems to be the rule in mestizo rap (think Orishas, Ojos de Brujo, etc) and that will alienate the more orthodox b-boys (and I totally understand why because I used to be one of them and I would've probably dissed this record if it was introduced to me back then). Still they can rhyme better than 90% of the average reggaetoneros and the content of their songs is a lot more interesting (although sometimes they feel like a touristic brochure about the sociological, historical and geographical qualities of their zone).
I liked "El Bombo," "Prietos," "De Donde Vengo Yo," "Pescao Envenenao" and "Move." Right now they're touring the US so if they hit your town make sure to check them out.