Vico C, "Babilla"
Four years after his last studio album, one of Latin urban music's truly original artists shines once again. Former drug addict and born-again Christian Vico C has little use for the monotonous sexual content most associated with the reggaetón of his native Puerto Rico. While some of the rhythms on "Babilla" approach the genre, the intricate production and evocative lyrics tell more finely nuanced street stories. "Agua" is an emotionally raw memory of arrest and jail time, the anthemic "Polvora" recounts violence wrought by the drug trade, the club track "Angelina" is about a single mother, and "Prueba de Farmacia" is a bluesy rock duet with Gustavo Laureano. Whether it's his confident, nimble delivery or clever layering of piano and organ over drum machines, Vico C shows that the devil-or the angel-is in the details.-Ayala Ben-Yehuda