Fernando Bustamante, who raps and produces as Crudo Means Raw, is finely attuned to the power of the loop. Both his viral hit “La Mitad De La Mitad” and the follow-up “Maria” gained much of their undeniable energy from funky, circular bass fillips.
But on his new track “Novena,” Bustamante shifts his focus to a sinuous guitar line. One lick slinks forward and ends on a higher, questioning note; another riff provides a reassuring answer. The attenuated tone of the guitar suggests traditional Colombian music, but also rap radio hits from 20 years ago.
While the guitar weaves forward and back, the drums and bass engage in a pleasing dance — the bass thick and thudding, the drums precise and sharp, like clopping horse-hooves. The interplay between the melody and the rhythm section is similar on another Bustamente track, “El Estrén,” but “Novena” is more complex and more convincing. That’s because it is boosted by a sing-song chant from an all-female chorus. While Bustamente raps in his usual low, affectless style, the women sing strafing lines that take unexpected turns, resulting in a track like few others that have been released this year.
“Novena” is a standout from Bustamante’s new album Esmeraldas, which came out on Monday. It’s his first full-length since 2016.