Akwid

Clasificado R

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Mexican-American brothers Sergio and Francisco Gomez developed a unique musical style over the course of several albums for the powerhouse Univision label. With this release, though, they've taken their blend of hip-hop and regional Mexican music (particularly the blaring horns of banda) to Machete Music, an imprint best known for reggaeton. They've done so without changing their core sound, though, which is a very good thing. They've also maintained their lyrical focus: Akwid discs tend to be concept albums focused around one core idea. For example, 2006's E.S.L. told the stories of illegal immigrants (the cover depicts a migrant family running across a highway at night), framed by the device of an English class, while 2005's Los Aguacates de Jiquilpan told the brothers' own story as a fairy tale, complete with narrator. Clasificado R's first proper song, "Por Tus Pujidos Nos Hallaron," takes the same framing device, and even plays a Mexicanized version of the melodic hook of Slick Rick's "Children's Story." The album as a whole focuses on songs about the brothers' cultural identity, with titles like "Esto Es Pa Mis Paisas" ("This Is for My Countrymen"), but they also switch back and forth between Spanish and English, emphasizing that they view themselves not as Mexican, but as Mexican-American. The song even features a guest verse from Kid Frost, a legend in the Latin rap community. Some tracks like "Cruda Realidad" shift away from the duo's old-school, horn-heavy sound in favor of synths and drum machines, but overall, Clasificado R proves that Akwid haven't missed a step in the three years since their last album.

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