Rico Pabón’s fourth album, “Todo lo que soy” lives up to its name and stands as a genuine reflection of the musicians’ story and community.
A child of New York and the Bay Area, his most recent work is an eclectic piece painted with a variety of colors and flavors that represent Pabón’s experiences growing up—his culture, political ideas and musical tastes. He shows us the full palette of influences that have made him who he is—something that many of us can relate to.
The album begins with a tribute to Puerto Rico. “Que Sabroso” mixes Afro-Caribbean elements with a raw electro-hip-hop beat. The live instrumentation gives a descarga feel to the track and exposes his rich sense of pride. In the song he speaks to all people of Puerto Rican descent. Acknowledging those who were born there, those who were born in the United States and to anyone who identifies with the culture, he starts the mass off with a party representing borincanos of all types.
“Fue el destino” continues la pachanga with a “reggae-chata” track that packs an electro plena beat including guitar, bongo, violin, timbal and bass. In this song Pabón demonstrates his fierce ability to navigate between English and Spanish in his rhymes, including terminology from all over Latin America that speaks to all Latinos.
But his complexities don’t stop there—later in the album Pabón weaves in phrases and chorus’ in Yoruba, a language that originated in Southwestern Nigeria and made it’s way into the Caribbean vernacular via the slave trade. He pays respects to his past ancestors, our mothers and his family.
As the album progresses, elements of jazz, cha-cha-cha, bomba, reggae and hip-hop seep their way into this melting pot of sound. Just as the genres mix, so do the musicians.
The album sports a list of Bay Area musicians as strong as the 1989 49ers: John Santos, John Calloway, Anthony Blea, Wayne Wallace, David Flores, Ayla Davila, Hector Lugo, Miguelito Martinez, Luq Frank, Colin Hogan, Zoe Ellis, Destani Wolf, Luke Kirley, Ali Luna, Mari Luna, Camilo Landau and Los Cojolites lend their mastery to the project.
This seems to fit perfectly with over-arching theme of the album “Todo lo que soy.” As Pabón weaves fabrics from different places, feelings and ideologies he continually lands at home base where his family, friends and community lie. And using only the finest talent from the Bay Area he successfully creates an album for the community, by the community.
This is the strongest aspect of the album. It is an honest picture into Pabón ’s life and the environment that has surrounded him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is not afraid to let the listener into his life. In recent years, it’s been difficult to hear hip-hop artists be honest about their influences and motivation—so Pabón’s album is a much needed breath of fresh air.
-El Tecolote newspaper
released September 20, 2013
Recorded and Produced by Rico Pabón and Camilo Landau
www.ricopabon.com In the studio or on stage, the Puerto Rican bilingual musician known as Rico Pabón is a man of many
genres, and although hip hop is the music of his generation, he chooses to draw the connections between the traditional music he heard growing up at home and the music he danced to in the streets of the SF Bay Area, Jamaica Plains and New York....more