Eladio Carrión is one of the better lyricists in Hip-Hop/Rap that speaks Spanish. It could be hard to quantify that as his music comes with a language barrier where translations can only help as much as understanding some of the influential sounds in the beats. While others like Bad Bunny, Myke Towers, and Rauw Alejandro expand with vibrancy, making these multilayered bops that embolden their strengths while following the melodic pop formula to keep listeners replaying, Carrión brings this subtle balance between the Latin flair and Hip-Hop aesthetic. However, it’s slightly absent as he focuses more on the Hip-Hop aesthetic, whether in structure or relaying trending styles, and giving an edge to his rap features on his latest album, 3MEN2 KBRN. Reflecting on life and music, Carrión takes us on a journey filled with some excellent new solo tracks; the featured artists and remixes make 3MEN2 KBRN inconsistent, leaving you with enough firepower to deliver something substantial while remaining bloated.
Hitting immediately, like when you list the top off a sizzling pot of chowder, and the smell reaches your nostrils potently, 3MEN2 KBRN is full of fantastic tracks, but getting through them can be a chore like the patience needed for that chowder to finish cooking. It ultimately makes the album bloated with some half-baked remixes where the only new verse added comes from the featured artists, giving less weight to the impact of originality. It’s as much to do with quality as it’s with the pacing, which gets hindered due to them crowding space and deflecting from the good. For some, the quality of the tracks allows them to excel past the typicality of it, like with “Mbappe (Remix)” and “Friends (Remix),” where it comes down to how these artists give us greatness over the beats. Future, and Lil Tjay and Luar La L do so in each track, respectively, and in doing so, make these tracks more replayable than “Gladiator (Remix),” which has us hearing a weak Lil Wayne verse. Others minimally pass the threshold, making them as playable as the solos, specifically as the non-solos tread similar, redundant paths of Hip-Hop, despite rising above a satisfactory level.
Many featured artists assimilate by influencing the sounds that mirror theirs, like with Fivio Foreign and the more apropos New York Drill beat. It’s efficacious, but it never establishes something new with the music, making us have to get a make-or-break feeling from the verses. It becomes an oft contrast as the following track, with Hydro and SHB, brings a cadence with its more broken-down drill beat while delivering flows more creative than Fivio’s. There is some enjoyment with the Fivi track “M3,” but “Betty” brings the sauce. Fortunately, the slight Latin spice and energy boast it further, making everything come together naturally. The producers deliver these nuances that can help them distinguish the New York aesthetic from track to track, like the smooth pianos on the street beat of “Si Salimos” with 50 Cent or the Salsa notes within the trap beat of “Peso a Peso” with Rich the Kid, Quavo, and Ñengo Flow.
With such an influx of features, there came intrigue, which left me satisfied, as the balance between languages has to bridge so tracks can have an impact instead of getting a random Wisin & Yandel track where T-Pain just sings the chorus. These features come with a purpose, but the few like “Gladiator (Remix)” and “M3” are comparatively modest, and you’re left keeping others on replay like the fantastic flows on “Coco Chanel” with Bad Bunny and “Si La Calle Llama” with Myke Towers. With the production feeling streamlined, instead, a slight improvement from the last KBRN project, which was looser as a mixtape, it adds depth to the flows, allowing the rappers to take it by the horns and capitalize with a set of slick bars. It’s especially pertinent when you can hear the parallels in quality between English and Spanish. It’s an album that can get enjoyed either way; it has the balls-to-the-walls creativity of Hip-Hop today while retaining soul, which comes from the solo tracks.
With at least half the tracks being solos, they help to continue Eladio Carrión’s lyrical prowess, especially when he has to spearhead them without falling into some typical trappings, like redundant sing-song flows. With “Cuevita,” which sees him trying to replicate thematic resonance alongside tracks like “Flashing Lights,” that commentary gets lost with an inflated ego. It doesn’t bring the trap flavors of “Padre Tiempo” or the slickness of “El Hokage” or “Quizás Tal Vez.” Eladio Carrión continuously delivers captivatingly visceral lyricism shining through with intricate allusions, metaphors, and wordplay, like when he raps the lines “Treinta mil en Champs-Élysées, otros veinte mil en Brantôme/Los tengo buscando la receta como Plankton/De día brillando como el techo de un Phantom/¿Blanco o negro? Tú escoge’, Danny Phantom,” off the final song, “Air France.”Though it reflects life through braggadocio means, the multi-syllabic scheme gives us a sense of style, lavish excess, and personality within a quick four.
The new Eladio Carrión album is fire, despite the flame puttering between tracks, as if its lacking the splints to raise the levels. With an influx of Hip-Hop, we get to hear Carrión feel right at home without having too vast of a delineation from a perspective direction, which we get. Unfortunately the album is more of a chore, running 18 tracks for one hour, making it feel slightly longer and drab. Not everything lands, and just to get through to hear what does, feels more bothersome than not, but the with the ones that do, you’re left digesting some quality raps, even if you come in it with a language barrier.