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cd review: bomba estereo: blow up
21 September, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Reviewed on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on URB.com
Nacional Records
4 Stars

Bomba Estéreo is a funky underground talent revealing a genre-busting, linguistics-defying release with Blow Up. The Colombian group rolls out an original mix of electronica, dub, hip-hop, champeta and cumbia for the Nacional label, which has been recently garnering extra attention for their pan-Latino sound.

Lead vocalist Liliana Saumet’s wildly playful lyrics explode when in contact with Simon Mejia’s guitar and synths. Saumet’s sultry style is a hybridization of Nelly Furtado with the precision and attitude of M.I.A. “Fuego introduced the world to Bomba’s Technicolor world. “La Nina Rica is as mind-blowing as it is steamy. Dedicated to the “people dancing in the street” is the anthemic party track “Feelin,”” which weaves English and Spanish with Diego Cadavid’s percussion and Kike Egurrola’s drums. “Raza wraps the album and includes a shout-out to Saumet’s hometown of Santa Marta. This is a group comfortable with their heritage and eager to share it with fans the world over.

Mejia started in 2005 and released an album of instrumental work, and hooking up with Saumet brought out the fire and organic influences of Colombia’s colorful coast and musical traditions. Together, they produced an inclusive record, managing to get the non-Spanish speakers in the crowd up on their feet.

With Saumet’s thrilling voice, Mejia’s brilliant feel for the music, and their wanton exuberance, keep a jug of water handy.

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cd review: juice aleem: juresalaam come
21 September, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Reviewed on Monday, August 17, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on URB.com
Big Dada Recordings
4 Stars

He came, he saw, and Juice Aleem conquers with his solo debt Jerusalaam Come. Combining the other major UK export, dubstep, Juice assumes a stance few achieve with success in the hip-hop community. Say hello to an accredited MC with as much spitfire as sophistication.
Longtime player in the hip-hop community, the Birmingham native holds rank with New Flesh and Gamma, and worked with Coldcut, Hextstatic, Evil 9, just to do some name-dropping. With Gamma/Shadowless producer Blackitude producing the majority of the cuts, Juice shines at sharing the world through his eyes after decades of traveling and performing, and his lyrical prowess is unshakeable.

His songs don’t leave anyone unscathed, and he makes no pains to sugarcoat it for his audience, like on “The Fallen (Gen. 15. 13)”: Those from the most highest now to the lowest of the low, few question why, but, there you go… angels fell upon the floor from no need to eat to eating the meat raw, greatest of richest minerals and pure ores, now strippers addicted to fingers remain poor… the language we use now proves fatal…

Packing a punch, “Higher Higher” is a classic battle track complete with a bell to signal the end of each round. Juice continues to throw down the gauntlet with “You Shut the ____ Up” for all those other sorry MCs to rise to the occasion and earn props for their skills, not for packing. This album has a range of influences, and “Sang Real,” French for “real blood,” leaves no doubt Juice is proud of his background and how he’s carried himself as a performer.

“Somebody better be running and telling them brothers that they can’t flow…” begins Jerusalaam Come, and Juice dominates in putting people in their place. In his wake, he leaves them a primer on how to be an excellent and engaging MC.