Magic Juan

On U Gotta Believe, the English-language half of the two-disc set Inevitable, it's clear why ex-Proyecto Uno member Magic Juan hasn't quite seduced the Anglo masses. On ambitious tracks like "Fresh ta Death" he spits bars hyperactively, but there's no flow to them. He sounds best when he's mellow and contemplative, as in "Never Been Afraid." This dominicano does much better on El Duro ("The Man"), a Spanish-language album brimming with fiesta cuts, from reggaeton ("Caramba") to salsa ("Momentos Felices") and crunk ("Que Buena Makina"). Juan even turns Andres Calamaro's "Mil Horas" into a bachata-flavored hit.

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