Chingo Bling in all his glory

Jose Cuervo Buys the Drinks at Mansion

On Tuesday night, I found myself sequestered inside a cacophonous display of mediocre reggaeton and rap performances at Mansion on South Beach. The nightclub was hosting the third leg of the Cuervoton nationwide talent search showcase of “up-and-coming Latino talent in hip-hop, reggaeton and urban musica.” Headlining the concert was Miami rapper Pitbull and girl act Nina Sky, which says a lot about this Jose Cuervo scheme to market bottom feeder tequila.

The night started badly. The press release said festivities would start at 7 p.m. Of course, being a “Latino” event, the show didn’t begin until almost three hours later.

A Miami gangsta rap duo dubbed Layce took the stage. Their lyrics were muffled by the bass heavy beats coming from the sound system, so I have no idea what Layce was rapping about. Yet the crowd didn’t seem to care, bouncing enthusiastically to the performance. Layce was followed by some Akon wannabe dressed like Carlton from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” television show. I have to say Chingo Bling made the biggest impression -- if not with his rhyming skills, then with his unique flare. Homeboy came out wearing a big black ten gallon cowboy hat, sunglasses, tan and black cowboy boots, shorts down to his shins, a red t-shirt down to his knees, and a big ol' gold chain with a big gold medallion with sparkly stones that spelled out his name.

In between acts, one of the fly female hostesses pleaded with the crowd to “please drink responsibly” despite all the free firewater flowing from Mansion’s bars. One patron enjoying the sounds and the spirits was Carol Merceron, a blonde wrinkly light skinned Haitian dame in a yellow and blue spandex get-up inspired by Starburst candy wrappers. Merceron wrapped her left arm around my waist while holding a plastic cup filled with a dark liquid that emanated a pungent alcoholic odor. “Pitbull es mi brother,” Merceron exclaimed. “I love hip-hop and reggaeton! Pitbull!”

Before Merceron could start grinding on my leg, I booked. --Francisco Alvarado

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