Label: Acquired Taste Preferred Records
Release Date: 2011-02-09
Storytellers, the debut album from Saytown rap duo Chisme (“gossip” in Spanish), melds the fidelity of Madlib, the antics of MF Doom, and the rap styles of the Definitive Jux crew into a fantastic piece of local hip-hop. Producer Progeny allows the stories to come from the textures as much as the MCs. The piano loop on “Loveletters” sings nostalgia under a yokel’s story about a paper bag’s place in nature. The album is filled with thematic moments like this, where what comes off as hazy hip-hop reveals itself to be layered, busy music demanding close listening. Lead MC R-E-L is a younger, equally confident but un-insane El-P. His rhymes are heavy on alliteration, emphasizing consonants as much as the vowels, and delivered rapid-fire on even the slowest tunes. His crowning moment comes on “Pickpocket,” where we hear the melody for “Llorando se fue” (originally composed by Bolivia’s Los Kjarkas, its unauthorized version became famous worldwide as “the lambada song”), while Mexican Stepgrandfather provides a piercing vocal syncopation. In the song, MC R-E-L packs a Bonnie-and-Clyde narrative into 30 seconds, complete with a plot twist that reveals itself in the last four words. Narrative, whether sonic or verbal, is something Chisme has on lock.