Casa de Leones

Casa de Leones

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At first, Casa de Leones' claim to be the puertorriqueño reggaeton equivalent to the Wu-Tang Clan may seem boastful or reaching. However, one listen to the group's 2007 debut disc Casa de Leones will go pretty far towards substantiating that claim. A coming together of reggaeton grassroots heroes Jowell & Randy (hitmakers responsible for "Agressivo"), Maximan (veteran of La Calle), Guelo Star (of "Reggaeton Sex" and "Sandungeo 2") and J-King, Casa de Leones was assembled by producer Elias de León. De León's experience and creativity is clear, as it's his maturity as a producer that sets the Casa de Leones project apart. Dripping with folkloric latino influence, grooves fueled by congas, kata and cuatro rather than the typical 808 drum machine and cheap-sounding synth melodies, de León seems to know not only the musical future, but the past as well. In a genre with one groove and maybe two basslines, Casa de Leones is a house of songwriters, with an original idea and sound for each track. From the horn and conga driven bomba/salsa "Pa' Mi Ponce" to the dancehall/reggaeton single "No Te Veo" to the straight-up reggae "Que Paso Yal," Casa de Leones offers a stylistic surprise around every corner. Thanks to brilliant lyrical writing and innovative, next-generation production, Casa de Leones may have created the most listenable reggaeton album to date. Landing top slots in several Latin categories, the Billboard charts seem to agree.

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