Contrabanda, Pato Machete

EMI, México ***

Rating: 64

By Carlos Reyes

I’ve discussed in several posts how important was Control Machete, so much that there is a before and after, after their breakup it’s been truly difficult for me to trust the hip hop made in Mexico. The three members of the alternative urban act from Monterrey are all currently working on individual projects; Toy Selectah is revolutionizing cumbia, Fermin IV explores Christian rap and we finally get a release from Pato after the disintegration of his post-Machete punk band called Resorte (which I never liked). Contrabanda is his comeback to hip hop and although it is far from the material I’m always over expecting from any of these guys, it is a fine and well produced welcomed return. We know Pato’s raspy and peculiar vocals, expect good lyrics too. Some of the chorus did freak me out however, like that of “Vamos Viceversa” which is wrongfully soulful. The best song here happens to be the first single, “Rancho” is very explosive and bleak, another one from our Rocola #6. Throughout the album we hear a familiar deep voice in the chorus, it belongs to one of the members of Mexiclan (Mexiclanos Unidos was brilliant, the best record Univision Music Group ever released), a very cool Mexican-American urban act that released the very best albums from the whole Urban-meets-Mexico’s popular music thing (Akwid, Jae-P, and Flakiss). In a track like “Noches” it really steps into Ozomatli territory, which I never mind. Interludes and sketches are usually irritating, but the four interventions here are well build narratives and very entertaining. Accordionist Celso Piña collaborates in “Sr. Matanza”, a funky cover of the hit by Mano Negra. Fellow Regiomontano Chetes adds instrumentals in the western “Recuerdos.” Contrabanda was produced by Jason Roberts, well known for his work for Tego Calderon, Mexiclan and Cypress Hill.