The New Classics

Celebrating some of 2003's best efforts in Latin music

An audio letter from jail, En Honor a la Verdad(In Honor of the Truth) is a fifteen-track document of outrage set to reggaeton beats by Puerto Rico's rap pioneer. Always verbose, Vico C unleashes his penitentiary philosophy on targets ranging from Ricky Martin to copycat rappers to his own record label, taking a breath only to give his daughter what advice he can as a man struggling to live right. That tender moment only makes the rest of the album more intense. En Honor a la Verdad bangs to some of the same rump-shaking producers (Noriega, Looney Tune, Ekko) who helped make fellow Boricua Tego Calderon the reggaeton story of the year (and Tego himself shows up as a guest here), but Vico's righteous rage pushes this album over the edge of greatness. En Honor a la Verdad is Puerto Rican for "keepin' it real."

Yerba Buena, President Alien (Razor & Tie)

Dancers of the world unite! You've got nothing to lose but your shoes! Yerba Buena retraces the steps of African music back from the New World to the source, reuniting hip-hop and salsa with Afro-pop and rai, making the rhythm whole again under the savvy direction of producer/bandleader Andre Levin. But when the music is this hot, who cares where it comes from?

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