Various Artists

Puro Fuego

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Duane "Darock" Ramos has been behind the scenes since the late '80s, producing B-sides and Euro-hits for artists like Janet Jackson, Shaquile O'Neal, the Game, and others. The artist's love of Latin crossover and the current temperature of the urban market offered him a rare opportunity. Puro Fuego features a cast of both vets and up-and-comers backed up by Ramos' production, released by urban Latino label Machete Music. Just as its cast of characters varies, so do the quality of performances. Few artists appear on more than one of the record's 20 tracks, some of which are salty and unforgettable. Others are quite forgettable. One of the record's MVP's is newcomer vocalist Adamick Mendoza, featured on the steamy and melodic "Vibora." Other album highlights include "Beautiful," featuring Don Omar and silky vocals from J.W. and Alpha Red. Unfortunately, Puro Fuego suffers from a surprising weakness -- the production. Much like Eliel's El Que Habla con Las Manos, another producer's record, the record is, if anything, underproduced, lacking invention, depth and drama. Though there are some gems on present, they're not to Ramos' credit. The beats are pretty dry, lacking stomach and character. Though a lot of good might come from Puro Fuego, it's more likely to serve the artists that it breaks rather than the man on the cover.

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