SUPEREGO We descendents of the conquered love to ridicule modern Spaniards as a bunch of lispers—so what Latino could have possibly imagined that a country full of sibilant wusses could produce as stunning a hip-hop album as Lujo Ibérico (Iberian Luxury), the American debut of María "La Mala" (The Bad) Rodríguez? More Missy Elliot than Lil' Kim, the beautifully raspy Rodríguez ably dispatches a memoir for the New Spanish in "En Mi Ciudad Hace Caló": "In my songs, I speak of action/Of ham [Iberian slang for "heroin"], of corruption, of police/Of anger and beauty, of hot and cold blood." And from there, Mala is off, with graphic tales of drug abuse, the mean streets of Madrid, and a streak of loveless sex that quickly deflates any romantic notions about the land of Cervantes. Woven around this cynicism are pretty hip-hop beats and beefed-up, thumping dancehall rhythms. But the best noise on Lujo Ibérico is the flamenco. Sometimes Mala uses castanets; other times, she'll substitute cymbals or electronic beats to keep up the furious rhythm. And it's always amazing.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!