On “La linda,” Velcro channels the afrobeat spirit of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen to highlight Puerto Rico’s political and social state of affairs as of late, and to duly warn the powers that be “que vamos por ti”—“we’re coming for you.”
Andrés A. Ramos, better known as Puerto Rico-based MC, DJ and producer “Velcro,” is a staple in the island’s independent music scene, and a cornerstone of Latin American hip hop music and culture. With a career spanning almost 20 years and numerous albums and mixtapes to his name to date, he is a champion of “true-school” hip hop and a renowned and reliable purveyor of a good ol’ time on the dance floor.
His debut album “Fotos” (2006) and his “Kelo Kenton” mixtape series (2007-2012) are all widely regarded as classics in the Puerto Rican underground hip hop canon, and his album “Mañana” was declared among the island’s top 3 releases of 2011 by puertoricoindie.com. He has been featured on songs by producer Andrés Levin and Grammy-winning Costa Rican vocalist Debi Nova; Mexican MC’s Bocafloja and Akil Ammar; British producers The Next Men; Venezuelan group 12” Ninjazz and Argentinian producer Gas-Lab, among many others; and perhaps most notably, on the title track of NYC’s celebrated all-female mariachi group Flor de Toloache’s Latin Grammy-winning album “Las caras lindas.” He has also shared the stage with the likes of Cultura Profética, Residente & Calle 13, Tony Touch, Gaby Moreno, Tego Calderón, Álvaro Díaz, Anita Tijoux, Crazy Legs and the Rock Steady Crew, of which he is a member, to name just a few.
On his new album, Te La Buscaste (which loosely translates into “You Asked for It”) Velcro assuredly steps up his game, collaborating with many of Puerto Rico’s most salient and active musicians and fusing his recognizable take on hip hop with the widest variety of musical genres he has ever toyed with. There is “No bulto,” for example, a merengue pambiche crossed with trap featuring Grammy-nominated Dominican wunderkind Riccie Oriach; “Humilde,” a roots-reggae-revival with PR favorites, the International Dub Ambassadors; a hip-house track featuring Latin Grammy-winning vocalist Mireya Ramos, “Pa la Loíza,” where he playfully waxes ironic about the current gentrification of Santurce, his hometown; “La caza,” a seductive bomba-meets-neo-soul collaboration with vocalist Kianí Medina (of Residente fame); “Indestructible,” a cross between mariachi, rock, rap and trap where a classic Just Blaze beat is masterfully reimagined by Flor de Toloache and Grammy-winning drummer Henry Cole; a jazzy, odd-meter (he’s rapping on 5/4!) beauty of a song, “Duerme, negrito,” featuring his band Lado Ve and based on the lullaby his mother sang to him as a child; a ready-for-the-club traptastic banger, “BLÚCUTU.”