La Region Torcida: Twisting Hip-Hop to a New Level

In an era when hip-hop has shifted its focus to a more commercial sound there is a challenge in finding quality music with a message. Fortunately, La Region Torcida (Twisted Region), an underground hip-hop group from Los Angeles, has given us a powerful, mind opening and challenging debut.

This trio consisting of John E. Walker, Robotix and Definite who hail from the inner city blue-collar neighborhood of Pico-Union have released an album that sets a new standard for hip-hop. La Region Torcida on their self-titled debut have released the closest thing to a concept album seen in Latin hip-hop and in so doing have taken a commercial risk few artists make on their debut. This is not �Dark Side of the Moon� by Pink Floyd or the Who�s �Tommy,� but it is a ride into a new world.

This 21 track album begins with an apocalyptic circus/carnival atmosphere reminiscent of La Maldita Vecindad. This carnival atmosphere foreshadows the reality of inner city life. �Todo lo que sufri�/ Todo lo que vi� (All I�ve suffered�/ All I�ve seen�) raps La Region Torcida in �Cumbia Libre� as they describe life�s hard lessons and growing up fast in the barrio.

Act 2 in this 3 act record begins with �Malxus Habla (Malxus Speaks),�a tribal song which attempts to drive out the apocalyptic feel of the first part of the record. Tracks like �La Cuadra (The Block),� and �Pasando el Tiempo (Passing Time)�are socially conscious empowering tracks rarely seen these days in rap; a wake up call to the lower and middle classes from falling into apathy and complacency. While the heavily political track �Sintomas del Universo (Symptoms of the Universe),� questions the policies our government is creating on a national, as well as a global scale.

Soon our characters overcome their struggles and arrive at a party atmosphere with the standout track �Tangas� and other feel good tracks like �Mi Musica� and �Pachanga (Party).� La Region Torcida is able to balance out the political and serious aspects of their album with moments of humor and light-heartedness. Throughout the album there is an appearance by a mysterious �barrio� DJ who is able to bring good vibes despite the chaos and reality all around.

This is not your typical hip-hop with the usual fat surrounding bass. This is eclectic hip-hop at its best, incorporating world music, from Sonora Dinamita, Angeles Negros, balada romantica, reggae, to Earth, Wind and Fire, the group Malo. Other influences in the group include artists such as: NWA, EPMD, DJ Quick, Big L, 2 Short, Wu-Tang Clan, Beatnuts, Beastie Boys, and DITC. In a recent interview with John E. Walker, member of the group, when asked who the group�s biggest influence his answer was, �each other,� referring to the cohesiveness of the group.

This debut is currently gathering attention is countries such as Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, and even Japan. Overall La Region Torcida is successful in giving us a strong debut which ranks as perhaps the best new Spanish Latin hip-hop album out there. Definitely a record which will should not be ignored by true fans of hip-hop.

Written by Sam Munoz

Official Twisted Region Website

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