Album Review: Boogat – Neo-Reconquista [Maisonette Music, 5th May 2015 / 28th March 2017]

Straight out of Canada is Neo-Reconquista, an album (recently re-released in Europe) of Spanish-language big band hip-hop, all rap to the tune of simplistic but well executed instrument playing. Boogat is the MCs name, and protest (but also orchestra music) mostly the game, produced to feel infinitely liberating, music for travel and not just for conflict.

Neo-Reconquista’s songs are built like postmodern big band pop songs, alt-pop in structure. Cumbia, reggaeton, funk, reggae, etc, serve to enhance Boogat’s flow, as if the Latin big bands from the 1960’s (and West African ones that grew out of appreciating Latin ones) like Irakere, were this time playing late 20th and 21st-century music.

The album’s first song is “Me Muero Per Ti,” a big band reggae rap tune, arranged and orchestrated to colour human experience. Postmodernism here is in the lightness heard in the way that instruments are being played, made for our age.

The third, “Los Tabarnakos” is hardcore, which matches Boogat’s flow. It’s nonetheless still big band music, which impresses. “Se Van”, next is a beautiful cumbia protest song, in which Boogat raps and sings that we, people, sell ourselves.

“Una Cita”, featuring La Yegros aims to be a dancefloor banger, but staying away from the big band feel that the other songs had for beat machine modernism, it delivers much less interesting music as a result.

Boogat’s album is interesting from start to finish. I’m in love with his album’s title. Neo-Reconquista, Spanish language for neo-reconquest, gets at the heart of the fact that hip-hop was invented as a way to win back one’s robbed humanity. Living in the ghetto, a constricting enclave, is what is understood to have lit the spark that produced the music, and so Neo-Reconquista can only be a new hip-hop because the oppressing and inhibiting ghetto still exists, the music still being a tool to break free.