With "Livin' La Vida Loca," Ricky Martin is widely credited as having tarnished Spanglish, the Spanish-English pidgin used in communities that embrace both languages.
Thank goodness for Brown Ecstasy, the Latin rap duo straight outta C-town (a.k.a. Caldwell). Brown Ecstasy's album Por Vida is a great example of the Spanglish hybrid: The rappers lyrically dance between both languages, and the best part is when there's no appropriate rhyme in English, they fill in with Spanish.
"We just bringing it like it is!" says Christobal Garcia, who is one-half of the group and goes by the cryptic nom de plume Krystobal on stage.
Simple but slick rhythms, reminiscent of a Casio keyboard's preset beats, create the backdrop for clever, original and creative lyrics. Christobal and his hermano Mark Garcia throw down striking rhymes and equally impressive jams on this disc.
Don't be surprised if one day you find yourself walking down the street humming the chorus of "The Comeback." It's damn catchy, as are other songs on Por Vida. And the tune "Uno Amor," which features rapper Anjahl, easily joins the company of R&B/hip-hop artists such as Lil Rob in not just style but company as well. Of late, Brown Ecstasy has been gaffling airtime on Treasure Valley radio station Magic 93.1 FM. And on stage, in Boise, Brown Ecstasy opened for Lil Rob, who is just barely known for the hit single "Barely Gettin' By," which I believe is due to the fact that Rob is often confused with fellow petite rappers Lil' John, Lil' Romeo, Lil' Zane even Lil' Kim.
Even though you might not know them yet, these guys aren't new on the local hip-hop scene. Brown Ecstasy first made waves in 1997 when Mark and a younger Garcia brother, Eric "Tha Luva," released the EP "Comin' at Cha."
"Most kids were playing outside and we were in our room listening to music," Mark says. "My little brother turned me on to the whole rap thing."
In '98 the family and the group faced sudden tragedy with Eric's death in a car accident. Mark was devastated and the music stopped for three years. In 2001 he had a dream that he was on stage rapping with Eric. When it was Mark's turn on the mike, Eric was in the crowd telling him to keep it up. So when he awoke, he did, and reformed the group with Christobal.
"We put our heads together, next thing you know we have 12 songs down," Mark says of the union during my three-way with the Garcia brothers ( ... over the phone).
"I wasn't into rapping ... I was a dancer," Christobal pipes in. "And I did a lot of contests and won first place in almost every contest I entered." And he's a fighter too; he won the 2002 Toughman competition in Boise. But the transition to music was easy.
"The music's always been in me," he says. "I just always loved music ... They don't really go together but a lot of our songs are really energetic, we get people's attention."
And so, the new Brown Ecstasy was born. The guys have a core following from Caldwell to Rexburg. And it's not just because they sing like heavyweights; these cats got the whole enchilada, with a unique routine not often seen in the world of def jams.
"We do comedy, we make people laugh," says Christobal. "We let people know we're having fun up there. We're into changing the whole stereotype that a rapper has to act a certain way ... when we get up on stage we show people we can act silly. You can be yourself on stage. Being yourself is cool."
In general, yes, but on the stage to success a gimmick never hurts. It's a good thing these guys can also bust out the old skool break dance moves.
Inquiring minds want to know: What's next for BE? There's a new album in the works--No Coincidence, which promises to be more radio friendly than Por Vida. And for all y'all ladies in 'da house, one of the tracks features R&B heartthrob and *NSYNC opening act Dante Thomas. So hold tight, for it will be out "soon!"
Mark's plans include hitting the road next year to tour. "I am actually working on a solo project," he says. "Brown Ecstasy will always exist, but I think I'll just try the solo thing for a bit."
Wait, don't fret! That's most definitely not the end of the group. The brothers have some collaboration plans up their sleeves. Christobal is quick to reassure, "I'm gonna be producing his album!"