“Oye, yo si soy killer, mas monstruo que los de “Thriller”/
Los mato de lejito como Reggie Miller.” -Tego Calderón, Guasa Guasa
I first heard Tego Calderón in college circa 2004 (to all the Boricuas out there, yes, I know I was late) on the Lean Back (Remix). From the very beginning, it was obvious this wasn’t your standard reggaetón artist (much like Calle 13, I don’t think it’s fair to peg him as a reggaetón artist). His sound encompassed a variety of musical influences from jazz, salsa, to dancehall, just to name a few.
His unique sound, flow and socially-conscious/intelligent lyrics (with Puerto Rican slang words like soplapote that are fun to decipher) assured that he’d have staying power in an otherwise unpredictable genre (looking at you and shaking my head, Tito El Bambino).
But, to truly have staying power, an artist must continue to put new music out there. When it comes to Tego Calderón, new music has been a long time coming.
Since releasing three albums in five years (and a compilation album, in addition to appearing on many other artists’ tracks) it’s been five more years since he’s released a full-length album. To make matters worse for his fans, his latest album El Que Sabe Sabe has been pushed back time and again (the single Pegaito a la Pared was released in late 2008, with no album as of yet to call its home).
However, it seems as if Tego is finally ready to release his fourth solo venture sometime “soon.” Last week’s release of his mixtape, The Original Gallo del País – O.G. El Mixtape was accompanied by this tweet from his official Twitter page: “EL DISCO: “EL QUE SABE, SABE”-PRONTO! (COMING SOON!)”
As excited as I am for this new album, I didn’t hesitate one second to buy The Original Gallo last Tuesday. But should you? Here’s my quick take on the mixtape:
Robin Hood – Love the beat here, and definitely the most hip hop song on the entire mixtape. In it Tego calls himself “un Robin Hood moderno,” which, now that he mentions it, seems like a good description.
Hablan de Mi (feat. Arcangel) – The standard shoutout to all the haters. I like Arcangel on the hook, and he adds a verse of his own for extra measure.
Like We (Ay Dios Mio) (feat. Kafu Banton) – As if one track dedicated to haters wasn’t enough, we get another one, this time with a line that unfortunately no longer applies: “Tú cagas calzones como Lebron en el cuarto quarter.”
It’s a mixtape, so don’t come in expecting something like you’ve heard in Tego’s previous work. If you’re even a slight Tego fan, you need to check this out. If you’re not, check out his albums first, since this isn’t necessarily the best representation of El Abayarde.
No complaints from me, though. I’m just glad to have more Tego to listen to, with another album on the way soon (I hope)!