The South Bronx neighborhood known as Hunts Point has come a long, hard way since the white man swindled it outta the Wekkguasegeeck tribe back in the mid-Seventeenth Century. But nothing has affected the strip of land between the East and Bronx rivers as much as the bang-bang that accompanied the rise of crack.

Of course with the drug trade comes violence, and the Point went cowboy with a vengeance. The black mobs who truced uneasily with the wiseguys got shot out by the Dominicans; the Dominicans in turn feuded with the Latin Kings; then the Crips and the Bloods got their own pistoleros involved. All fought the law too, natch, and in the end no one but a few kingpins won. Amid all of this a cat named Peso was born.

Fortunately for him -- and for us -- that's not where he was raised. Peso's family got outta Dodge while the getting was still possible, ditching Bronx blight for that proverbial place in the sun called Miami.



Peso performs at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, at Oxygen, 2911 Grand Ave, Streets of Mayfair (subterranean level), Coconut Grove. Admission is $5 before midnight, $10 after. Call 305-476-0202.

Still, swapping one set of mean streets for another doesn't make for a smoother pave, and Peso has hit his share of potholes: a couple of falls, a few run-ins with the lawless, and, "in a classic case of wrong place/wrong time," a pops who got gunned down in Cutler Ridge. But Peso is a player, and players stay in the game no matter what. "An Eighties baby who grew up in the days of cigarette boats and Eldorado coupes," he inherited that peculiar Miami Vice-like sense of rose-color daring and do, even in the thickest of danger. On his own since age thirteen, he made "music, hustlers, the old-school Cuban magnatas" his motivation.

And the man is motivated. Signed in 2001 with Ted Field's Artist Direct before the label had its act together, he has already opened for Young Jeezy, Master P, Youngbloodz, and Omarion. And now that he has teamed with producer Lino de la Guardia, of Calle Ocho's own Signature Sound studio, he's got track enough to close.

The song is called "Rock It Like Dis," and it sounds like a low ride rumbling to collide with the whole wide world at large. Beefy. Dirty. And adamant. You can hear it in the clubs, you can hear it on the streets, and if you hit Oxygen this Tuesday, you can hear it in the flesh. Oh, and after Peso blows up, you can tell all of your pals you heard it here first.


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