Los Aguacates de Jiquilpan

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For their third Univision album in three years, Akwid frame it with a concept, much like what they'd done a year prior on Komp 104.9 Radio Compa. While that album was framed with a fictional radio station concept, Los Aguacates de Jiquilpan is framed by a fairy-tale concept, complete with a soft-spoken Latina narrator who tells the tale of how these two brothers left Mexico for the urban jungle of Los Angeles. It's an autobiographical tale, and it's often infused with a good dose of humor, which distances Akwid from the generally hardcore style of most Los Angeles rappers, Chicano or otherwise. The Gómez brothers are first-rate rappers, and as usual, they produce their own beats, which are likewise first-rate. Of particular interest are the productions for "Sentir la Vida" and "Como Perros." The beats for both songs are derived from early-'80s funk classics -- the former is derived from Zapp's "More Bounce to the Ounce," the latter from George Clinton's "Atomic Dog," both of which were staples of golden age hip-hop sampling and thus carry with them substantial import. Akwid are aware of this, no doubt, as they first garnered mass attention for their sampling of Juan Gabriel's "Te Lo Pido por Favor" on their breakthrough hit, "No Hay Maner." "Sentir la Vida" is the closest Los Aguacates de Jiquilpan comes to matching the infectiousness of that breakthrough single, as it too is awfully catchy and has a feel-good message about living life to the fullest. And to draw more comparisons, like Komp 104.9 this album is somewhat burdened by its conceptual frame. On the one hand, it gives Los Aguacates de Jiquilpan character and showcases the duo's creativity; on the other hand, however, it can interfere with selective listening. But either way, its biographical undertones help further develop the Gómez brothers as people, and at this point, several albums into their career, Akwid are really shaping up to be an influential Latin music act, not the one-hit novelty act "No Hay Maner" may have foreshadowed.

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