With an Eye on the Future, Diego Raposo Waxes Nostalgic for the Golden Era of R&B on ‘Lost/’ EP

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Diego Raposo is a name that’s been quickly becoming more and more present in the small Santiago de los Caballeros music scene, and it’s also slowly creeping into the national Dominican radar. When he isn’t busy working on numerous hip-hop projects, like La Ñapa, you can find him refining his solo work right before our ears. Even though he started out making dance tracks, he’s now distilled his passion and influences into a seriously sensual brand of electronic R&B, which materialized beautifully on his new Lost/ EP, his brand new release on MITEL DICO.

There’s no way around it: Lost/ EP is an excellent four-track collection of slow-burning baby-making songs. And an unfairly short one, we might add. These tracks are slick, sensuous, and smooth-as-hell, and Raposo manages to keep things interesting through some good old-fashioned production trickery. “Nice N’ Slow,” the EP’s first track, instantly transports us to the 90s, the golden era of steamy R&B ballads that scream “let’s get busy,” right there with Ginuwine and Jodeci. The song is a collaboration with Dominican duo Martox, who contribute with mellow vocals and exceptional guitar work. All of this, coupled with the deep and austere beat, results in a soulful bomb of an opener.

On the other hand, “Street Signs,” featuring elusive duo Cult Exciter and additional production by Zeli Berusch, has a more experimental edge. For over half the track, almost all of the elements are flipped backwards, creating more unfamiliar textures, like a bass line that ends up sounding like it was played with a bow. The smoldering female vocals sit loud and clear on top of everything, and two minutes into the track, some of the beat’s elements switch back to forward playing, repositioning the rest of the song into more straightforward territory.

On those two tracks, the guest vocal contributions are certainly the stars, and that’s something that can’t be found in the remaining songs. That’s why he puts some extra work and detail into production and instrumentation. Take for example “Maps,” where refined guitars take the melodic lead. The rhythm isn’t exactly new, but he squeezes in little twists that spice things up, like an unexpected break where the beat is only left with a long and rippling trap hi-hat. Sampled vocals are pitched up and down, and they’re also present on “Who’s Been Lovin’ U Lately?,” the EP closer. The song is closer to that future R&B sound, but it totally puts you in the mood for love, as it grooves in the right BPMs and has enough room to breathe.

Lost/ EP definitely shows that Diego Raposo is a lover, but he also encourages love(-making) through his music. It’s also worth mentioning the way he worked with other Dominican names like Martox, Cult Exciter, Zeli Berusch, and Sagz, which suggests his intention isn’t to grow inside the Dominican scene, but to grow along with it.