Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar—better known as iLe—comes full circle on “Odio,” the Puerto Rican singer’s latest single. For years, she sang alongside her brothers in Calle 13, the island’s restlessly inventive hip-hop group; then, with her 2016 solo debut, iLevitable, she ditched their hypermodern fusion of rap and regional sounds to explore traditional Latin forms like bolero and mambo. But on “Odio,” her first release since iLevitable, old and new come together in an explosive mixture.
That collision of styles is apparent from the very first seconds of the song, as steady, declarative conga thwacks are answered by a groaning, seismic rumble, the kind of amplified low-end pressure more closely associated with UK bass music or Jamaican soundsystems. That sense of currents swirling together guides everything that follows. Taking a Puerto Rican bomba rhythm as the song’s foundation, iLe and her collaborators toy with their source material by using congas and batá drums, along with heavy electric bass and feedback-laden guitar, to create a brand-new cadence. It carries echoes of other sounds—dub reggae, cumbia, Brazilian samba sucia—while maintaining its own identity.
The song’s lyrics, meanwhile, mark a refreshingly original treatment of one of the oldest emotions there is: “Let hate die of hunger,” sings iLe, “Because nobody feeds it.” Her voice sounds at once sweet and determined; it is a protest song in the most righteous tradition. But the drums become more insistent and the guitars turn stormy. As the music rises in volume and urgency, iLe comes to sound like a woman possessed, as though she were channeling the voice of hate itself. “I might do anything,” she threatens. It’s a thrillingly unexpected climax in a song that refuses to settle for established categories.
por: Philip Sherburne / publicado: 15 de agosto de 2018