King Fire Ant

Crooner Victor Manuelle wears the Miami Carnaval crown at Calle Ocho 2004, but rapper Tego Calderón reigns

Then -- inevitably? -- a fight breaks out. A wide swath opens in front of the stage where just an instant before it seemed that not another inch of space could be found. Two bare-chested young men circle each other in the ancient ritual of machismo. Fans jeer and wave their hands, demanding the fight break up. Amazingly, it does. The guapos calm down even before Tego can stop the track and implore his fans to behave. Maybe they feel the same way Tego does. "It's an honor to be here," the rapper said between songs only minutes before. He's been known to break down in tears talking about how proud his parents are now that he's shared the stage with some of Puerto Rico's most respected salsa stars. It isn't that the black Calde' made it despite the fact that he's poor and street and black; he made it because he's all those things. Cosa Buena. What could be more disgraceful now than to disrupt the "largest Hispanic festival in the United States" with a fan riot? El Abayarde can't let that happen. So he closes the show with the sinuous Middle Eastern riddim of his hit "Guasa, Guasa" ("Badass"), leaving his subjects with a command. If you're going to shoot someone, he raps, shoot me.

Happiness for your body -- without the Macarena --  at 
Jonathan Postal
Happiness for your body -- without the Macarena -- at Bongo's

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