Luny Tunes / Noriega

Mas Flow

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Stated simply, Mas Flow is a landmark reggaeton album. Along with Tego Calderón's El Abayarde, also released in 2003, it was the first reggaeton album to meet a mass audience. In doing so, it introduced the world not only to the musical style itself in album format, but also to Luny Tunes, the production duo who would quickly become the biggest hitmakers in the reggaeton world, as they would go on to hit the jackpot in a year's time with Daddy Yankee on his Barrio Fino blockbuster. And too, the mixtape nature of Mas Flow helped introduce a host of first-rate reggaeton vocalists in the process, pretty much every heavyweight the style had to offer circa 2003: Calderón, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Wisin & Yandel, Héctor & Tito, Nicky Jam, Baby Ranks, Zion & Lennox, and many more. Granted, Luny Tunes would develop their style further in the wake of this release (in particular, the second volume is an impressive stride forward), but their trademark galloping beats, stabbing synths, and gunshots are all in place here, albeit in a relatively primitive fashion. In fact, it's quite fascinating to chart the progress the duo would make in the couple years following this release. You can really hear them polish their style with each successive release. But even if Luny Tunes aren't quite up to par here with their future selves, Mas Flow is a remarkable album nonetheless. The fact that it is such a landmark reggaeton release makes it all the more remarkable, of course, but Mas Flow is easy to enjoy even outside of its historical context. In particular, the opening run is outstanding -- Wisin & Yandel's "Aventura," Don Omar's "Entre Tú y Yo," Calderón's "Sazón, Métele," and Daddy Yankee's "Cójela Que Va sin Jockey" -- and there are more highlights like K Mill's "Métele Perro" scattered throughout the 20 tracks. On the downside, because Luny Tunes haven't quite yet developed their style fully, Mas Flow can seem a bit short on ideas after a while, especially if you're unfamiliar with the intricacies of reggaeton or if Puerto Rican Spanish sounds like Greek to you. That conceded, Mas Flow and the similarly styled Luny Tunes albums that would follow it are excellent introductions to reggaeton, not only offering you a lively sampler of the style's best performers but also its best producers by a long shot. This is ground zero for the early-2000s popularization of reggaeton, especially in American markets like New York and Miami, where the style would blossom commercially in the years to follow.

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