ChocQuib House

ChocQuib House

It’s no small coincidence that Colombian trio ChocQuibTown returned with a new album amid global protests against institutional racism in June 2020. “This is historic,” singer Gloria “Goyo” Martínez tells Apple Music. “In Brazil, Colombia, and other Latin American countries where racism is rampant but not really talked about, people are starting to communicate. This will start conversations and bring positive change.” On their exuberant sixth album ChocQuib House, Goyo, rapper Carlos “Tostao” Valencia, and DJ/producer Miguel “Slow” Martínez bring their R&B roots to the fore with Afro-Caribbean flair. “To make a food comparison, this is not a light salad, it’s a powerful dish, with fewer instruments and a tighter sound,” says Tostao. It also brings them closer to the new generation of Latin artists by way of exhilarating collaborations with Dalex, Lil Silvio & El Vega, and Rauw Alejandro. “We may come from rap, but we are not married to any genre,” proclaims Goyo. To that end, Goyo and Tostao guide listeners through the process behind the tracks. Vuelve Tostao: “The lyrics are about these relationships where people behave like they’re in a telenovela. Everything seems to be wonderful, but it’s really not. It’s a little bit like Instagram—lots of fancy cars, but they’re making those payments every month. The song started from a voice note that Slow had and evolved with all the metaphors we came up with.” Goyo: “I remember the day we wrote this one, because we had just come back from playing a show in Panama and we had a couple of days—just the three of us, with no one from our team. It had been a long time since we last wrote together, and it was beautiful. We wrote and recorded the song on the same day. It went really fast and made us think about the way we used to sit down to write together when we first started.” No Vuelvas a Mí Goyo: “Lots of people want to tell the other person, ‘Now that you’re gone, I feel great.’ You might have a new relationship, but at the same time you think about the previous one like, ‘Don’t you ever think of coming back, because that was the end.’ There are a lot of spiteful songs on this album, and this is one of them.” Fresa Tostao: “This one has a lot of groove. It’s kind of particular because it also has a very exuberant drop, a little bit like cumbia. It’s about people who are always talking about stuff that somehow never materializes. In Latin America, a fresa is someone that wants all the fancy brand-name stuff. Nobody wants anyone too fresa in their group of friends, but there’s one in every group. If you can’t find the fresa in your circle, that’s because it’s you.” Amor Tóxico Goyo: “ChocQuibTown is never afraid of doing what inspires us, no matter where the music is taking us. ‘Amor Tóxico’ reflects our tropical side, and so we wanted to collaborate with an artist that could also sing merengue. Slow, who is a genius when it comes to balancing these sounds and making sense of them in his beats, did a great job. Dalex has a beautiful spirit, and we are really happy we had the chance to work together. The song is a message to everyone who is or has ever been in a toxic relationship. I hope it can help them to get over it and seek happiness again.” Pa’ Olvidarte Goyo: “This is heartbreak at the disco, with a drink in your hand—which is okay, too. We’re all human, and we go through different phases. Love is one of the biggest themes for ChocQuibTown. On our first album, there was a song ‘Alguien Como Tú’ where we explored soul for the first time. That gave us the confidence to try and write love songs that were true and came from real life.” Que Me Baile Tostao: “We like the sound here a lot; it’s very Afrobeats. We feel that Africa is claiming back its sound. The music here has punch and nerve, but at the same time you can hear a little conga, which did not necessarily have to be played by Giovanni Hidalgo but rather can be programmed to fit our style. We called Becky G., who fits in just perfectly. She says the video for this song is one of the best ones she’s ever done. It sends a message of unity, and it’s a tribute to the queens, because Goyo and Becky each have their own empire, but in the end they realize that they are stronger together.” Lo Que Quieras Tú Tostao: “This song vibed with a lot of people. It’s a way of telling someone, ‘However you want it, I want it, I’m all in.’ This is the best sound poem you can send your partner when times are rough.” Goyo: “I love the music on this one. Slow experimented with bringing gospel and R&B chords to a song in Spanish for a sweeter sound. We tried to make that happiness and that calm apparent. I feel like everything adds up here, with some space in the music to highlight Tostao’s flow, which has a very Caribbean style. It’s one of the most important tracks on the album for me.” Quisiera Tostao: “This is a song with a very particular energy. It’s about someone who dropped off, not just from a relationship but off the face of the earth. It’s a song to discover behind closed doors and dim lights. There is a line that says, ‘Devolver el tiempo a nuestro mejor momento (Turn back time to our best moment).’ Everybody is looking for their best moment. And this is the kind of energy it conveys.” Goyo: “You always want to be in the right place at the right time and with the right person. And if you don’t have that, you want go back to that time when you were happy.” No Hay Nadie Más Goyo: “We sent the beat to Rauw Alejandro because we hadn’t heard anyone sing so beautifully in a long time. He recorded his voice at once. It was a beautiful chemistry. We met him at a basketball game in Las Vegas, and he’s someone we truly admire as a person and as a hardworking artist.” Humano Tostao: “We do music for people to enjoy, but also music to explore other moods. It was important for this song to be on the record because it makes people think about how today we have less and less contact with people, and it’s about time that we become a little bit more human. I think that’s what people are taking away from it. I hope it flies high, beyond whatever might happen with it commercially, because it sends a genuine message that can help us transform the way we think about these things, especially with certain generations that take it all a little too lightly.”

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