VA - Latin All Stars

VA - Latin All Stars Chicano Rap

Hidden gems like this often go unnoticed even by the most avid followers. Released in 2001 on Triple X Records, this 18 track album has some of the G-Spot gee's best work. We are privileged to hear production from the great and legendary KDAY Mixmaster Tony G and someone whom I am less familiar with, Slim (from E-Side Ghetto). As I've stated many times, Chicano Rap cannot be judged by the album covers. I passed on this the first time I came across this on the internet. Who wouldn't? There's a lot going on in the cover; none of it interesting. The title reads "☆LATIN ALL STARS☆" in an arch over the globe showing the western hemisphere with a matrix-like backdrop and a banner in the Mexican flag color scheme with the features listed. Nothing catches the eye.

Years later I was searching for some material by A.L.T. and was pleased when I finally played this album. "G Spot Turns It Out" was a perfect way to kick off the album. A.L.T and Nino Brown are an incredible duo, and the Saint just has this way of making rhyming sound easy over an amazing sample of "Outstanding" by the S.O.S Band. Track number 2 ("Low Down Ballers") I found a little disappointing. Taking one of Ice Cube's most widely used line in Chicano Rap, "Eses Way Deep" is another A.L.T. track with a more hip hop feel on the beat and calling out the bias and discrimination against the homeboys in the hip hop industry with lyrics like "remember when rap was black? they used to try anything to hold me back" and "remember Mexicans made Ice Cube famous" (by that he meant Cube's style switched when he started doing gangster rap: dropped his fitted black jeans and gold chain for a pair of khakis, plaid shirt and a '6-4). No Chicano album is complete without a Zapp and Roger sample, and "Smile Now Die Later" does not disappoint. I will go as far as saying A.L.T. outdid Frost on his own track.

"Were Gonna Get Cha" has Nino B and the Saint once more, but it just doesn't do it for me. Maybe it's the beat, it's a little on the weak side. But damn! The LSOB jam featuring Diane Gordon is superb! The production is tight, the vocals are on point and the sample is fucking firme. This shit is a definite banger. Following the LSOB rola is Wreck and the Wicked Minds crew on "I'm So Tired", not my favorite song but that's why there's a "skip" button on my dashboard. Nino Brown kills this next tune ("Be Thankful"), and I'm even surprised Rich Garcia didn't disappoint me on this one (and "The World Is Mine").

The second half is probably more jam packed with good songs than the first half. "Loco" is one for two songs on the compilation with Frost rapping over a "Funky Worm" synth. I don't like this song as much as I should. As per usual, the Baby OG pays homage to the old school on "Justa Player" with an interpolation of Connie's "Funky Little Beat", definitely a great song. June Bug Slim has a certain swagger about his approach to rhyming, makes him an interesting rapper to listen to on "Playas Night" alongside veteran rappers Slow Pain and Nino Brown. I usually skip "Butter Fly" by A.L.T (not his best song).

Known to few, the beef between Kid Frost and Cypress Hill managed to make it on to a few songs. I never found the source nor the reason for the pleito, but in an interview Frost mentioned that Sen Dog took shots at him on "Insane In The Brain" (when he says "fat boy on a diet, don't try it/ attack your ass like a looter in a riot"). Frost fired back on the Cypress inspired beat for "King Of The Hill". It's a rather enjoyable track, even the nasal sounding raps meant to emulate B-Real's voice. Followed by another Frost rola, "Thats How We Do It" has a dope beat mixed in with the classic "Funky Worm". It's been a long time favorite. The final 3 tracks end the album with a little less than stellar note. Slow Pain's ode to Evelyn Champagne King on "I'm In Love" is not bad but I don't always bare to listen to the track. Similarly, E Side Ghetto didn't impress me either on "Fuck It". And don't get me started on the let down that "Trick Hoe" turned out to be. Though the play on words to the title was clever (sample of "Brickhouse") the loop couldn't save the song.

All in all, "Latin All Stars" turned out to be a solid album. There would we no West Coast without the KDAY mixmasters and having Tony G on the production was a blessing. I assume the songs that compose this album were songs that were previously recorded but never made the final cut on to the album's they were intended for, such as A.L.T's "Stone Cold World" or Frost's "Smile Now Die Later". Give it a listen and enjoy, it's some of the crew's best work despite being left off their intended projects.

01. ALT - G Sport Turns It Out (feat. Nino B)
02. Slow Pain - Low Down Ballers (feat. Slim, Nino B)
03. ALT - Eses Way Deep
04. Frost - Smile Now Die Later (feat. ALT)
05. ALT - Were Gonna Get Cha (feat. Nino B)
06. ODM - 4 My Hustlahs (feat. DTTX, Diane Gordon)
07. Wicked Minds - Im So Tired
08. Nino B - Be Thankful
09. Cisco - The World Is Mine (feat. Nino B)
10. Forst - Loco
11. Slow Pain - Justa Player (feat. Nino B)
12. Nino B - Playas Night (feat. Slow Pain, June Bug Slim)
13. ALT - Butter Fly
14. Frost - King Of The Hill
15. Frost - Thats How We Do It
16. Slow Pain - Im In Love
17. E Side Ghetto - Fck It
18. Nino B - Trick Hoe (feat. Player, Slow Pain)

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