Arcángel - OPTIMUS A.R.C.A.

OPTIMUS A.R.C.A, Arcángel
Flow Factory Inc, Puerto Rico
Rating: 64
By Carlos Reyes

On his latest album intro (“Monarca de Los Mares”), Arcángel claims he reincarnated into a human ever since Greek Mythology, and was sent by Poseidon to overtake all the oceans. After such laughable premise I can’t help but admit that I’ve missed Arcangel more than I would care to admit. La Maravilla is arguably, the best Reggaeton album ever; any album by Arcángel should be considered an essential listen. Although he didn’t become a household name with El Fenomeno, he’s still considered being the next (perhaps only hopeful) star of Reggaeton. Arcángel is the kid his peers fear of; he’s outspoken, a master of tiraera & arrogant in his own charming way. Despite his controversial lifestyle (he's been called a drama queen), he’s got the big guys behind, earning the respect and endorsement of Tego Calderon, Daddy Yankee, Tempo, Don Omar and Vico C, who are literally fighting over the godfather title.

La Maravilla was one of those extraordinary events in Latin Urban music, I love telling the story, but I’m afraid all of my Arcángel reviews are exactly the same. But let’s sum it up: angry talented kid idolizes Prince as much as Michael Jackson wants to be like both of them (+ Lil’ Wayne), he is also a good singer (not only a rapper), & he’s got the lyrical skills and willpower to make a name for himself. He released a couple of awesome mixtapes, but labels felt he was more of a threat than an artist; he was in fact, misunderstood. One day he decides to upload his debut album to rapidshare, the link caught fire, to this day; it’s a fundamental record that finally earned him the attention of label executives. El Fenomeno (his first ‘mainstream’ album) could be considered a commercial flop. Austin “Arcángel” Santos is back to the viral stats and his Internet-cult fan base, surprising us with a new set of songs outside commercial purpose.

OPTIMUS A.R.C.A. is nowhere near the complexity of his jaw-dropping debut, as you can see from the album cover and the all-caps title, he goes Michael Bay on this one, not very exciting. What could’ve been a great conceptual album is actually a middling album with a couple of astonishing pieces. Arcángel has a list of concerns he likes to intellectualize. First, he always sings to himself as “El Chamaquito”, it’s as if he was going back in time to cheer himself as a kid, telling things we’ll be alright despite his current challenges. Second, he continues to make sure his woman reaches orgasm; it’s a mission of his, not doing so would be a failure of the alpha-male ‘optimus’ Greek-Robotic being he’s become. Third, consolidating his ego through “Tengo Dinero” or highlighting the fact he can actually sing in “Lo Mio Es Cantar.”

On multiple occasions, Arcángel has claimed he wants to be called a singer-songwriter, which I find hilarious, but hey, “Chica Virtual” is an epic episoide of compositional heaven. This album doesn’t show much lyrical skills, the fact he actually mentions god created his mom specifically to give birth to him shows he’s going desperate. “Mi Voz, Mi Estilo & Mi Flow” or “Panamiur” are proof of an artist who is still rocking on his own way. OPTIMUS A.R.C.A. is clearly flawed, the title itself is a bit annoying to type. But Arcángel claims this is only “the little album before the album”, so as a transitory (for fans only) release it’s worth a listen, plus, it’s free. He's still on the right path, this time he chose Mediafire over Rapidshare, big decision there.