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Aural Pleasure Review

Mex Step and MNOLO: 'Machine People'

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Machine People marks the first of at least two 2012 releases from Mexican Stepgrandfather (here credited as Mex Step, Marco Cervantes in real life). The project coagulated in 2010 after MNOLO (Manuel Escobar) and Mex Step exchanged emails, then songs, and then sat on the project for two years. The release arrives with little fanfare (both men are still planning shows for the project). The usually self-produced Mex Step runs free here (MNOLO is on the console) waxing on life's circumstances ("Stay the Same"), media entrenchment ("Entertainment"), and the apocalypse ("Rain Out"). Border politics pop up in passing, but not as heavily as expected from the man who once rapped "We're already home/No stoppin' us." This may send Mex Step diehards packing; only "Gone" and "Entertainment" make honest efforts at being overtly instructive and political. Here, Mex Step is neither the levelheaded Chicano sage he is on his solo work, nor the Ol' Dirty Bastard with a conscience he is onstage. He spends Machine People as mostly just a free-styling, organic complement to MNOLO's understated, mechanized Latin beats and melodies. As such, Machine People is less a grandiose statement and more an interesting footnote, but no less enjoyable for its lack of pretension.

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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