While we rarely recommend hip hop acts here at Club Fonograma, you can tell by our Outsiders lists and by some of our reviews that we’re quite keen on the genre. Recently, in his “Linus” track review, my colleague Reuben “Nenuco del Norte” Torres made an interesting point about how Mexican MCs suffer from “thug/poser syndrome.” An excellent recent example is Niña Dioz. Just check out her latest videoclip for “2 Cool 4 School,” which confirms Torres’ analysis. That entire bad ass/ghetto attitude simply doesn’t seem…genuine. Newcomer Josué Josué is a whole different story. Possessor of a natural, sincere flow, this MC’s verses feel anything but forced. Josué Josué, with his excellent debut EP, Linus, proves that not all Mexican rappers are just bling bling conformists of basic, worn-out beats and narcissistic writing.
His mind-blowing verses in Matilda Manzana’s “Hola Holograma” and live performances with Mock the Zuma introduced us to the mexiquense’s magnetic talent, but a proper release on his own is what we had been anticipating. Selecting exciting beat makers (Reclap, Siete Catorce, Trax) to join up with him, Josué Josué displays his tasteful loquacity in three monstrous original productions, along with two interesting, yet not essential, remixes of two of these cuts. Featuring Mexicali’s Siete Catorce, the title track is frenzied, almost lunatic, and has the eloquent lyricist displaying in this single banger what he’s all about. Cleverness and effortlessness are the strongest characteristics of Josué Josué’s delivery. Dictating lines referencing literary subgenres (“Quimeras y epopeyas en mi cabeza/Idilios con pereza ocurren con cerveza”), later bringing on a Snoopy character's relationship with his blanket (“Nunca me abandonas como Linus a su manta”) as a sign of dependency, Josué Josué elegantly establishes a balance between classic art/literature and pop culture in his lyrics.
Assisted by Trax, the romantic “Teclado Empapado” is built over a base that samples Monna Bell’s “Un telegrama," absolute winner of 1959's Festival de la Canción de Benidorm. “Tu lunar/Punto cardinal de mi pasión/Zona de fatal atracción,” the rapper deliciously describes his lover’s anatomy, softly sliding his words through funky bass and vibrant ambience. “Rottweillers” is the EP’s most brutal take. Jealousy and uncertainty take over our rhetorician, who desperately spits out his insecurities while Reclap’s top-notch, urgent beats orchestrate this reflection versus impulses battle. Its production brings to mind, in part, the work accomplished in A$AP’s Rocky prominent LIVELOVEA$AP. A violently encouraging, open-wounded, in-your-face exploration of an artist’s anxieties, “Rottweillers” is brain-induced carnage made poetry.
Two remixes (“Linus (Kryone Remix)” and “Rottweillers (Technic Trouble Remix)”) are included in this EP, yet they could’ve been omitted since they interrupt the cohesion, and frankly, it’s pretty distracting to listen to the amazing original song followed by an underwhelming mix. If only the troubled “Kriadex” had been part of this EP in its final form, it would have been a more solid release. However, despite not including this track or the addition of those forgettable remixes, Linus is a compelling achievement. He might not be the best MC out there, but Josué Josué’s career, characterized by an authentic voice, ingenious wordplay, and invigorating devotion to his honest art, is one that certainly is promising to grow into something bigger.