As if christened by rock, magical revenge is invoked when survival by slur is invoked to stay alive. Toss Arawak Zemi artifacts into the cauldron invoking chants as, “You ain’t a killer, you still learning how to walk,” “The bridge is over, the bridge is over, biddy-bye-bye!” or “Sellout’s got no worth/I think they better go soul search.” Too many ciphers later, the smoke of rants, savage can’ts and whirling won’ts suffocate the tendencies to supremacy. We once knew the Boricua is immediately worthy of their dominant Afro-Arawak root through the oppressive Moorish-cored Spaniard conqueror blend. Today, your search among these lands barren of enchantment, you may find the rarest of them in their natural habitat. Preparing paragraphs on ol’ Plena palettes, consuming pasteles with jewels entrenched, a freedom fighting, Salsa Dura styled independista B-Boy may still be bred in the Bronx. That same Pelan that took Black/Brown Arts and collided them in collage to make Hip Hop. And there in the rubble of colonialism, amid significant shrapnel of racism and flooded pools of assimilating shells…
…We find Chilo dealing dynamic songwriting through charismatic deliveries behind culturally live tracks. Through the Mrompe Boca produced Stay Alive and the duet MC’d Magician’s Revenge with Mane Event (also produced by Mane), two sleeper LPs of 2015 ought to be mined out. The power of both of these albums is being filled with the truest of MC styles, rooted in the Bronx Master-of-Ceremony appeals and deeply entrenched with Boricua stylistic musical and vocal styling. So both Stay Alive and Magician’s Revenge become LPs with uniquely designed and presented subjects that unite thematically in Hip Hop ethos and the MCs’ cultural/ethnic reality. That is, LPs that are live, perfect for show stopping and body rocking where the MCs let loose on real issues the Boricua (and Brown brothers everywhere), the lost found of the Black Hip Hop diaspora, are warring through.
Chilo, the LPs’ binding element, is an MC that only rhymes in the flashiest of stylistic inflections and emphasized vowels. A Puerto Rican brother that understands profoundly the hells of his immediate people and his extended Black family diaspora, his songs address them in true edutainment, lots of teach but no preach, complex content-hydrates con sazon.
The Stay Alive LP is filled with Mrompe Boca’s extremely diverse sampling that certainly begins in 60’s to 70’s Salsa and Latin Jazz but extends to a wonderfully odd spectrum. It allows Chilo to make anthemic material that fortifies the stance of Puerto Rican independence struggle placed in the daily war we urban Black and Brown peoples fight through. There is the story telling of “Pablo,” an immigrant Mexicano dealing with the oppression as he has arrived into the racial profiling of Americana. As you see Pablo reach a deeper consciousness, the persecution lengthens and his fight gets stronger. The micro is balanced with the macro as “Horror” details the history of our conquering. Chilo details a complex awareness with an engaging simplicity. There are the 70’s Salsa Dura styled horn blasts and Latin percussion [literally the development of African percussion of congas, bongos, timbales and assorted vegetables (i.e. maracas) through the so-called Latin Caribbean and America] of “Ay Chango” where Chilo salutes the Santeria spirituality and ceremonies we survived through slavery. There is also the technique shifts from the double timed delivery on “Change My World” or the monotone conveyed “Stay Alive” that make anthems out of his perspectives.
Out of Queens, NYC, Mane Event, as his My Frigid Valentine beat LP proved, has a strong, ever developing Boom Bap sense. Here, his work on Magician’s Revenge extends the tradition as the ill use of “Nautilus” on “Live From The Creature Cantina” or the sharp, long second snare through the grooved basslines and accent horns that bless “Barrio Visions.” The work is rugged and has a distinct live appeal that allow Chilo’s idiosyncratic flows to blend well with. The stories are often a minimalist counterpart to the near avant garde Stay Alive where the Boom Bap is the backdrop for the detailed grit of the city residents, the usual pathway to the song subjects here. The junkie of “Ally’s Way,” the beast watching us on “Eyes in the Sky” or the socio-political commentary to the layman on “Collective Wisdom.” Mane Event’s wordplay and rhyme coupling mix very well with Chilo’s stylistic fluxes. When MCs have completely varied vocal styles and like thematic intentions, the united LP is a powerful work and the beginning of a duet projects we await.
Chilo, with these two LPs, is a rare MC, with a content, perspective and style that can make any type of song. Few can go from Mrompe Boca’s soundscapes to the scratchy, trebled Boom Bap Mane presents to construct the ideal edutain song. We also finds an MC in Mane Event, who has grown in vocal dexterity and song writing skill since his In Fluid Concrete debut of 2011. Stay Alive and Magician’s Revenge are two of 2015’s most awoke LPs we shouldn’t allow them to merely be respected sleepers. Go and take the rocks of opportunity demanded…