It was supposed to be incendiary; hot East L.A. rapper Kid Frost spitting out angry, Chicano political rap in his first headlining show, but it seemed more like date night in Reseda at the Country Club on Saturday.
Frost is being touted as the Mexican-American answer to gangster rap, reporting the real scoop from the vicious Eastside streets. His image is kind of hard core too, and on stage he surrounded himself with a bunch of ominous guys in black caps, slim mustaches and dark shades, who glowered at the audience the whole show. Still, his hit “La Raza” is the first popular East L.A. anthem in years, and he seems more a spokesman for Chicano solidarity than a merry thug.
Kid Frost is a chunky guy with slicked-back hair, a reindeer-print poncho over his T-shirt and chinos. A fat, gold rope around his neck supported a red, white and green pendant in the shape of Mexico, in place of the Afrika medallions worn by black unity rappers. He asked “How many people in the house speak Spanish?” and the crowd exploded in cheers. He said “This is for La Raza,” the race, and they exploded again. He’s got the Mexican-American equivalent of “Black and Proud” down cold.
Frost has a truly idiomatic Chicano rap sound, underpinned with slightly Latinate beats--maybe the cha-cha settings on the drum machine that generations of black rappers had ignored--and overlaid with the kind of tough, bouncy sax lines associated with the East L.A./Tex-Mex rock of the ‘60s. His rapping style is light but fluent--something like a Young M.C. with an edge--and his articulation is clear.
After half a dozen songs, Frost said good night, left the stage and waited for the tumultuous applause that would call for an encore. Finally, Frost came out--a manhole-cover-size Aztec calendar slung around his neck--and rapped another number anyway.