I’ve been spinning, sharing, and singing along (loudly) to Abrázame by Los Rakas since it dropped in May. Not only does it contain the elements of a flawless 2010 summer banger–with a mix of song and rap, male and female voices, and a minimalist dancehall riddim, but it connects the dots of my latest travels. I’ve been living this summer in Kingston, where the orginal song that Abrázame remixes, Hold Yuh by Gyptian, secured an early spot as THE summer tune.
Its keyboard ditty has become as omnipresent Usain Bolt billboards in the Jamaican capital. Both versions of the song are irrepressible, but I’m partial to the refix by Los Rakas, who happen to be from my hometown of Oakland, California. I love how they respect the sentiment of the original romantic lyrics, while adding the sting of heartbreak in Spanish, and producer Uproot Andy’s touch adds the perfect amount of twist. (Okay, I do think it could use a third verse, so I’m working on my own.)
I’ve been waiting for this video all summer long, and now that mango season, and my time in Kingston, are coming to an end, the Bay Area that it depicts like a third lover beckons me home.
P/S: I’ve been watching Raka Dun and Raka Rich, the Panamanian cousins that comprise Los Rakas, carve out their own musical identity and audience for several years now, and it’s great to see them getting the attention they have worked hard for. Click here for a public radio report I filed on the group way back in 2007.