El Maestro is among the Latino rappers who were active in Los Angeles in the 1990s. The thing that separates him from other L.A.-based Latino MCs is the fact that his heritage is Puerto Rican, not Mexican. While East Coast cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston are full of Puerto Rican rappers, the majority of L.A.'s Latino hip-hoppers were of Mexican descent. El Maestro's bilingual rapping on Going Insane is quite different from the bilingual rapping of Mexican-American or Chicano artists such as Kid Frost, tha Mexakinz, or Lighter Share of Brown. His approach is, in some respects, closer to the "nuyorican" rapping you'd hear in parts of the Bronx or Philly. The fact that dancehall reggae has been such a strong influence on El Maestro makes this CD all the more interesting. So on Going Insane, you've got a Puerto Rican MC from L.A. who is heavily influenced by dancehall toasters from Jamaica, and who raps in both English and Spanish. Not a masterpiece, but as a chance-taking and unorthodox project, Going Insane is worth looking for.
Going Insane Review
by Alex Henderson