By Nancy Sanchez-Diaz
“Los Dioses” by Urbano stars Anuel AA and Ozuna may not be the kind of music that you would want to blast at full volume with mom around, but this new work dropped on Jan. 22 delivers an ample mix of classic and modern Spanish-language sounds.
“Los Dioses,” which translates to “The Gods,” combines Spanish trap and reggaeton beats — drawing on the gruff voice of Latin trap bad boy Anuel, and on Ozuna’s otherwise pop-savy and romantic tunes.
While songs like “Dime Tu,” “100” and “Nena Buena” share a monotonous melody and bear the tiresome “player” narrative, the old-school reggaeton sounds of “Antes” and “Nunca” make up for it.
The lyric and the innocent and playful beat of “Antes” coexist flawlessly, transporting music fans back to early 2000s reggaetón and invoking nostalgic feelings all around.
“Perreo” is similar in that it’s able to get you up on your feet dancing, with the faint hip-hop rhythm and the overpowering element of a jingle depicting a more modern-style component of reggaeton.
“Municiones,” perhaps the most diverse and promising song off the album, makes for a thrilling homage to Mexican culture.
The regional Mexican beat and the lyrics written in casual Mexican slang steer the album into a surprisingly different direction, especially as it stars two non-Mexican artists.
Anuel AA and Ozuna both hail from neighboring municipalities in the San Juan metropolitan area of Puerto Rico.
Born to an Afro-Latino father and a white Puerto Rican mother, Anuel AA experienced prejudice as a mixed child. The effects of class division was added to his list of struggles when the family hit financial bottom in the early 2000s.
It was then that Anuel found both music, and trouble, in his search for an end to these struggles.
Meanwhile, Ozuna steered clear of the streets. While his father, a dancer for the early Latin hip-hop star Vico C, was shot to death, his grandmother stepped up and became a prominent figure in his life. Ozuna sang at a bar where he worked to help her.
Though two very different paths, both have been successful in garnering the attention of international audiences.
While Ozuna and Anuel AA each fail to step out of their own bubble for the album, respectively, their willingness to experiment with cross cultural beats, romantic tunes and old-school rhythms is encouraging.
Now, it is just a matter of each star individually adapting to the changing field of play happening underneath them.
Art by Nancy Sanchez-Diaz