Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Mr Black – El Matrimonio

It’s a nice day for a Black wedding…


Juan F. Carruyo: This is pure craft. The song undergoes at least 3 gear changes, adding a nice proggy structure to the proceedings and the lyrics are a vivid if literal, distillation of what love can make you experience. I can’t help but feel touched at how fearlessly Mr Black is willing to bare his emotions. He’s also savvy enough to kill to birds with one stone, shooting the promotional video at his real-life wedding. 

Crystal Leww: While reggaeton and Latin trap are getting all the press buzz from Anglo media outlets, the success of Mr Black’s “El Matrimonio” is a reminder that Latin American pop is a vast and varied landscape. This isn’t particularly exciting and is probably not going to make the club pop off, but this is so sweet! I’m hoping that at least one granny busts out the dance moves at her grandchild’s wedding somewhere to this song. 

Julian Axelrod: To this day, I still remember watching the Kimye wedding episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians with my then-roommate and being furious when, after an hour of buildup, we didn’t even get to see the damn ceremony. I felt a weird sense of betrayal, not only because this intensely public couple wouldn’t let us see their wedding but because the buildup was so boring. Mr Black may not be as big as Kim or Kanye, but the Colombian champeta superstar deserves credit for turning his highly publicized wedding into a hit single in a way that feels joyous rather than craven. The song shifts from a wedding vows ballad to a reception-ready banger that values stateliness over schmaltz. Meanwhile, Mr Black presides over the proceedings with the elegance and charm of a best man. It’s an impressive display of modern celebrity: a shameless celebration of the self that’s generous enough to let us inside.

Alfred Soto: With a guitar figure recalling high life, “El Matrimonio” pushes Mr Black into convincing shows of emotion. I suppose I’ll get used to the rhythm change. 

Iain Mew: Gliding smoothly from ceremony to reception to party, its all-in-one approach to wedding as a theme is the biggest strength and weakness. It keeps the new ideas flowing, but they come with a bit of a feeling of checking boxes.

Adaora Ede: The Nigerian in me would confuse this with literally any and every 1970s Highlife song that would play at some distant cousin’s graduation party. And it makes sense: according to my research, Mr. Black is the leader of Champeta, a heavily Afro-Colombian genre that is a creole of west and Central African genres and cumbia. In “El Matrimonio,” Señor Negro modernizes the folk tune, slant rapping over jazzy guitarras, spitting out couplets, triplets about the beauty of matrimony. A cross-linguistic, intra-diaspora marriage bop if I’ve ever heard one. Sidenote: Mr Black bears an uncanny resemblance to one of my mom’s favorite Nigerian musicians, Flavour N’abania and imma need someone to drop the English version so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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