SA Music Awards
2012 Best Hip-Hop Band: Chisme
Published: March 28, 2012
Chisme vocalist R.E.L. (real name Ariel Faz, owner of Acquired Taste Preferred Records, established 1999) describe the sound of Chisme as "that sad shit."
In a recent phone interview, he said that he and producer Progeny (Erick Frias, also billed in SA's hip-hop community as Pointing Fingers) don't have much to offer regarding what they're trying to accomplish with the music of Chisme. They just like the textures to sound a little melodramatic and dark, and the beats to sound big. Other than that, Chisme works because Faz and Frias are both really productive working together. Frias produces new beats daily while R.E.L. regularly reinvents their live show, which will re-debut with a new drummer and second DJ at Luminaria on May 5.
"It's all-encompassing," R.E.L. said. "I wouldn't say that we're a political band, even though those connotations are there. We just kind of take a beat, add rhymes, and create a mood."
And therein lays the rub. Chisme is an ominous and hazy mélange of sound, where the seams are stitched rather than concealed. The lyrics hold up under scrutiny (check the doomed love narrative of "Pickpocket"), but the beats can sway the low end of any house party, especially one buoyed by little more than Lone Star and a window unit. Chisme's sound and verse combine into something like SA's answer to A Tribe Called Quest. The hooks take time to sink in, but when they do, it becomes apparent the music is somehow transcendent without being radio-friendly. In any case, SA is hooked on that sad shit.
2. Milli Mars