Your Mix Fix: Afro Kumbé

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: Afro Kumbé
MIXTAPE: Afro Kumbé Mixtape Vol. 1

Not really a mixtape in the classic sense, since well, it’s not actually mixed. Here the term mixtape is used by the artist in the looser sense that the rap industry has been using it in the last decade to label collections of bootlegs, unofficial tracks or basically just songs with beats that lack sample clearance and can’t be commercially released.

That’s pretty much what the guys at Afro Kumbé (a ñu-cumbia side project by Miami’s Locos Por Juana) did here. Mixtape Vol. 1 is mainly a collection of remixes and reworks of classic Colombian cumbias with updated sound and in many cases added vocals by the Locos Por Juana guys themselves. Some of the cumbias they chose to rework have already been remixed many times in the last few years since the global cumbia renaissance and they have become genre standards, even clichés if you may, but still these are really fresh dope versions with a very distinct twist. Besides the cumbias, which are obviously the tape’s main ingredient, there are also versions of M.I.A., Kanye West and Jay Z.

The best thing about this not being a real (as in mixed by a DJ) mixtape, is that you can actually download each track separately and listen to them or play them on your next DJ set–something I’m definitely planning to do while I eagerly wait for Vol. 2 to drop.