Back in 2014, Remezcla touched ground in Puerto Rico to get the skinny on an electrifying new scene pushing the boundaries of hip-hop en español for an explosive documentary we called Trilligan’s Island. Capturing lighting hosiadera in a bottle, the film featured rising stars like Álvaro Díaz and Mike Towers; influential lyricists and MCs who paved the way for the subsequent globe-dominating tidal wave of Latin trap. Another scrappy crew of trailblazers included in the doc were Füete Billete, a rowdy trio comprised of BB Johnson, Pepper Kilo, and DJ and producer Free Bass. Filthy, uproarious lyrics and malevolent trap beats set Füete Billete apart from their contemporaries, with fans basking in the unfiltered raunchiness of their undeniable party anthems.
The groups’ 2013 debut Música de Capsulón remains one of the most beloved and respected documents of early Latin trap, yet following high profile international appearances and buzzy collaborations, little more than the occasional single has materialized since…until now. Earlier this month, a rumor began spreading on Twitter that Füete Billete would release their highly-anticipated sophomore album in time for Halloween, and the crew has happily delivered a trick and a treat. MMXX (2020 in Roman numerals) is a patchwork of incandescent deep cuts from their scrapped Papelón City LP, woven into new jams drenched in the band’s signature hedonism and delving into riveting new beat combos.
Boastful gems “Hector” and “Pinnochio,” the latter featuring Gaby Chuleta, are poignant reminders for the new generation of traperos that the doors they shuffled through were first kicked open by a smoky, boozy pack of kids from San Juan. MMXX is rife with gratifying nods for longtime fans, from hilarious skits about clingy girlfriends and drug-wary preachers, to the iconic mattress creaking sample from “TRÅ” reemerging on “Bajale.” Even the cheeky surreal-ness of the album cover which features a blinged out Bat Boy -the famous logo of Puerto Rican tabloid Weekly World News- seems designed to reignite our love of songs that make us twerk and chuckle, without feeling like those urges are at odds with each other.
However, MMXX strives for much more than nostalgia. Flairs of ambient experimentation shine on the criminally short “Sea Lo Que Sea,” while “Sex Beat Baile” ruminates on the hybrid possibilities of baile funk and trap, further explored on the Paul Marmota and Lao-produced “Bizcochote.” Providing a deeper glimpse into the ill-fated Papelón City project, which was originally slated for release via NAAFI, Marmota and Lao bring their sinister production to standouts “Scandaloza,” “Hector,” and album closer “Tribales,” which features Chilean neoperreo goddess Tomasa del Real. Most of the album’s guest spots are reserved for production, with Young Martino coming through on “Vienen Por Mi,” Daniyyel dropping in on “Perros,” and Hector Soundz polishing up “Jaragan” and “Isla Piedra.”
The years of anticipation and excellent execution behind MMXX only make the release more formidable, and devoted fans will take heart in learning this is very much the album they’ve been waiting for. In our dystopian 2020, if Füete Billete can’t get you feeling ‘bien guillao,’ I’m not sure what will.