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Boogat - Neo-Reconquista

Maisonnette - 2015

Michael Panontin
The MC known as Boogat has been all over the Montreal hip-hop scene ever since his days fronting the francophone band Andromaick back in the nineties. It wasn't really until relatively recently, however, that the Mexican-born rapper, writer and producer decided to reclaim his Hispanic roots, issuing a series of albums, EPs and singles in his native Spanish. His first such recordings, 2010's Mala Fama EP and, especially, its excellent follow-up Que Pegue Duro y Violento featured a curious mezcla of hip-hop, dancehall and worldbeat that helped establish Montreal as Canada's most musically international city.

"In 2010, Poirier asked me to rap in Spanish on a beat. He told me it was going to be released in Argentina on some super-cool electro Cumbia label and I was like, 'Yeah, right, man'," is how Boogat explained the shift to Exclaim a few years back. "And that one song ['Kalima Shop Titi'] I did with Poirier had more media coverage than the three albums I did in French. So I said, 'Hey, let's go that way,' and I've been doing that since."

No surprise, I guess, that the hyphenated Quebecois named his most recent effort Neo-Reconquista. "Reconquista comes from Chicano mythology," he told Noisey. "It's about taking back something that was taken from Mexico." It is also a bit of a departure from the heavily cumbia-influenced tracks of his previous album El Dorado Sunset, something that may well irk the more purist of his fan base.

In fact, much of Neo-Reconquista seems aimed at crossing over into newer markets, especially the single, 'Londres', a collaboration with Congolese-Canadian singer Pierre Kwenders and, what is easily the best track on the record, the breezy, horn-tinged 'En la montana'. On the latter track in particular, Boogat's singing could probably have used a bit of post-production touch-up, if truth be told. But when he raps "cuando llega la primavera / toda la gente se va pa' fuera", the song seems to perfectly capture Montreal at its most Latin, in other words a city in the dead of summer with tourists, crammed patios, the Jazz Fest and all those sweltering mid-July nights.



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