Rocking the nicest hip-hop moniker this side of N.W.A., Ernest Gonzales, aka Mexicans with Guns, returns to the fold with a record about as eclectic as it is electronic. Having established himself as a proper re-mixer and perhaps San Antonio’s premier sound alchemist, Gonzales posits 14 transcendental tracks that reach beyond the luchador mask. Unburdened by that most played out of Latino tropes, Mexicans with Guns crafts lush, loping soundscapes on cuts like “Jaguar,” “Deities,” and “El Sol y La Luna,” and this time around he’s brought some friends along. Gary, Ind., emcee Freddie Gibbs delivers on the gruff “Highway to Hell,” the album’s standout track. Chico Mann brings the Antibalas vibe with him on the infectious “Me gustó,” and Nocando spits more than adequately on “Got Me Fucked Up.” Vibrant collaborations with Sasha Perera on “Restart,” Zackey Force Funk on “Corazón,” and Helado Negro on the melodic “El moreno” sharply complement Gonzales’ textured beats while illustrating his skill set as a post-hip-hop artist. Although not included on Ceremony, his remix of “Highway to Hell” featuring Port Arthur icon Bun B is not to be slept — it is a banging glimpse into future Mexicans with Guns joints.
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