Local Record Review: 'The Break of Dawn' by Taino Sunz

Beat Blvd. is Heard Mentality's weekly review of local releases. If you're an OC musician or band with something new to offer--vinyl single, full-length album, CD, cassette--we want to hear from you! Send copies, along with any photos and PR material, to Beat Blvd., c/o OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste. 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. You can also e-mail us digital downloads at lbose@ocweekly.com.

taino sunz.jpg

Taino Sunz
The Break of Dawn


With the addition of Taino Sunz into the mix, the hip-hop scene in OC gets a bolstering and much needed shot in the arm. The SanTana-based Puerto Rican duo consists of Hector Rivera, aka HecVortex, and Quique Cruz "El Terrible." Both rebel rappers, who come to OC from the East Coast, have been putting in work for a very long time and are veterans of the game.

HecVortex was a founding member of The Welfare Poets, a critically acclaimed underground hip-hop group whose 2005 album Rhymes For Treason infused jazz and bomba influences with hip-hop creating standout tracks like 'The Media" and "Sak Pasé." Cruz, a producer in addition to being on the mic, has been active since the 90's collaborating and opening for reputable rappers the likes of LMNO, Living Legends and Medusa. The teaming together of these two talents in the form of Taino Sunz definitely deserves a listen and their new 8-track offering The Break of Dawn shows a group on the rise.

The Taino indigenous peoples of the Caribbean discovered Christopher Columbus and his murderous, genocidal ways in 1492 and by upholding their name, symbolism and lineage, Taino Sunz bring politicized rhymes directly aimed at verbally combating all that has transpired from that point in history to the present day. HecVortex and Cruz, both possessing smooth, skilled deliveries, freely spit bars in Spanish, English, and Spanglish with the ease. "Parte del Pueblo" rides along the strength of its roll call chorus: "Somos parte del pueblo / Parte del proceso / Todo Boricua Machetero / Todos los Negros Panteros / Todo Latinos Bolivarianos / Como son los Venezolanos / Todo Indigenas Zapatistas / Como son los Mexicanos."

Recorded before Occupy ever got started, "The Paradigm" is an English language dominant track that captures the spirit of global unrest showing the decolonized minds of Taino Sunz delivering rhymes two steps ahead of the game and the times. "Despierta Boricua" is another rabble rouser calling out the "commonwealth" status of Puerto Rico under the United States with biting independence-inspired lyrics: "Wake up Boricua / Defend what's yours/ Stop acting like a fucking pig on all fours / They made us citizens to fight in their wars / But they throw us all in prison/ When we fight for our cause!"

All throughout The Break of Dawn Quique Cruz's beats are on a consistent head-nod tip at times melding an underground audio aesthetic with Caribbean island rhythms. Collaborations on the album include contributions from Morbius of The Sargonites, Sha-King, and MC Natra all the way from Vieques, Puerto Rico. The last three tracks on the album are remixes and updates of the previous five culminating in the ultra-infectious sofrito mix version of "Despierta Boricua."

By the time the last beat fades, it's clear that the rays of Taino Sunz are piercing through and it's time to wake your ass up Orange County!

'The Break of Dawn' by Taino Sunz is available as a name your price download on bandcamp.com
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