El Kilo

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With their third album, El Kilo, Orishas seem to have matured, and added an Old World depth (they live in France) to their Cuban roots and a pop sheen to the hip-hop that originally propelled them into the limelight. There's far more thought to the arrangements here, such as the guitar opening on "Reine de la Calle" or the mariachi horns of "Elegante." There's a fusion of melody and rap here that sets this album apart, moving easily from the gorgeous, almost perfect pop of the title cut to rapid-fire wordplay that switches between Spanish and English with remarkable fluidity. There's very little machismo on the disc, even on a track like "Naci Orishas," which relates the story of their beginning. Instead, there's a reflective, even introspective, mood to the disc. Far more than on their previous two efforts, Orishas have fully come into their own here, bringing the disparate parts of the sound together in a way that seems completely natural.

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