Mellow Man Ace

  • Mellow Man Ace
  • Escape From Havana (Capitol) 1989 

Despite clever production by the Dust Brothers, Def Jef and others, most of this romantic LA rapper’s album — even with the novelty of four tracks in Spanish (“Rap Guanco,” “Mas Pingon,” “En la Casa,” “Enquentren Amor”) — is by-the-numbers dull. But when he drops a clever bilingual rap over Santana’s “Evil Ways” (in the delightful “Mentirosa”), running suspicious rhymes around a deceitful girlfriend, Ace (alongside Kid Frost) suggests the unique possibilities of Latin-American hip-hop, both in terms of rhymes and music.

[Ira Robbins]