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MELLOW MAN ACE (Buy CDs by this artist)
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]