This is the second outing by the Latin rap group Control Machete, who have a pretty big following in their home country of Mexico and other Latin American countries. The leader raps in Spanish, and unfortunately this can be a real stumbling block for those who don’t understand the language and can’t handle not knowing what’s being said. Yet, I don’t speak or read Spanish, and I have no problem appreciating this group, whose leader has a charismatic voice and whose other members put together some of the most imaginative mixes I’ve heard in some time.
The group lays down mostly mid-tempo rap tracks that are much more intense and challenging than most rap music that’s popular in the U. S. today. The leader’s gruff, hyper delivery brings to mind Sticky Fingaz of Onyx and Busta Rhymes when in he was with Leaders of the New School. By far, the best cut is “Danzón,” in which the group incorporates a live band into their sound. By combining rap with folky Latin jazz, the group finds common ground with the ultra-diverse, West Coast hip-hop group Ozomatli.
Universal Music Latino, 1425 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139