Thursday, September 20, 2012
AKIL AMMAR-Postdata (IndieGente, 2012)
I've heard about this guys and his album through my friend Mustafa Yoda, who is featured as guest MC in one of the tracks here. But I didn't pay much attention to the rest of the album, until recently when I got invited to participate as guest DJ at an NPR show and they asked me to bring some suggestions for exciting new Latin American rap songs. A couple came up to mind right away (Alika, Danay Suarez) but I didn't have enough to put together a whole show so I went to do some research and I ended up downloading Akil Ammar's whole new album.
I basically wanted to include at least one Mexican rapper on my list, even though I don't really listen to much Mexican rap. But I wanted to be fair, because I talk way too much about Chilean, Argentine, Cuban and Spanish rap and not enough about Mexican rap and my many Mexican rapping friends get jealous if I neglect them and don't give them enough props. So, Akil Ammar seemed like the perfect choice, he's an extremely talented lyricist with a lot of interesting stuff to say and no fake ego-tripping, no macho gangsta poses--none of that infantile bullshit. He sounds humble and honest and he's not scared of showing vulnerability, something rare on a male hip-hopper.
He also doesn't sound too Mexican and that might be the reason I connected to his rap right away. His beats are generic golden age beats with no references to Mexican traditional music. His verses are in a very neutral Spanish that can easily cross all borders and be equally understood anywhere in Latin America or Spain. Maybe that's why all of his guests are well known international artists, from the aforementioned Argentines Mustafa Yoda and Alika, to Chile's Javiera Mena, Peru's Pedro Mo and France's Canelason.
On my on-air commentary I said he sounds a lot like Spain's Nach and I didn't mean it as a negative remark. He certainly reminds me a lot of the golden age of Spain's hip-hop (1998-2000) when all those exciting new albums came out all at once and Spanish rap crossed to Latin America leaving an indelible mark amongst aspiring MC's throughout the continent. Akil Ammar sounds very at ease stuck in that era, pretenting nothing beyond 2001 ever happened to international hip-hop and honestly I too sometimes wish I was still in that world, pre-50 Cent, pre-Lil' Wayne, pre-synths replacing dug-out vinyl samples, pre-auto tune; that was a time when I still used to get excited over any new rap album that came out.
That doesn't happen much anymore, so it's really out of the ordinary for me to be this excited about this album here. An album that I was able to listen all, from beginning to end, without skipping a track and I very much enjoyed the experience as a whole, even though I didn't like almost any of the choruses (I purposely chose the title-track to play at the radio show simply because it doesn't have a chorus).
Buy it HERE