Trap Cake, Vol. 1

Trap Cake, Vol. 1

Rauw Alejandro's debut EP, Trap Cake, Vol. 1, was the throbbing culmination of five years of underground buzz that turned practically deafening. The Puerto Rican polymath began uploading songs to the internet in 2014, nourished by the sensual R&B and dancehall he grew up listening to in Miami and New York City. He gained critical acclaim with early mixtapes and hyped collaborations, cutting his teeth within the island's influential Latin trap wave that made superstars out of the likes of Myke Towers and Anuel AA. But where so many of his peers leaned into mean-mugging malianteo, Rauw Alejandro put sex and romance on the table in a fashion seldom heard within mainstream música urbana. Yes, the pearl-clutchingly explicit lyrics of “Cubierto de Ti” nod to nights spent drenched in debauchery—and yet he also coos about post-hook-up cuddles and eternal love. On “Al Mismo Tiempo,” thumping kicks and shimmering synths provide a glossy canvas for musings on simultaneous climaxes blossoming into unbreakable soulmate bonds. All that, on top of his suggestive, hip-swiveling performances and angelic crooner's falsetto, cemented him as a superstar heartthrob of likes unseen since Ricky Martin's Menudo heyday. Throughout Trap Cake, Vol. 1, seduction is the name of the game and Rauw Alejandro is eager to prove he's no noob. The slow-burning trap ballad “Espuma,” alongside De La Ghetto, is an ode to candlelit bubble baths filled with acrobatic vocal runs and cheeky allusions to rose petals and rosebuds. The opening guitar riffs of “Hasta Donde” evoke sexy ‘80s noirs, while Rauw and Argentine rap star Cazzu dance around each other in a cat-and-mouse chase that will inevitably end with them tangled in bed. These tracks also shine with the experimental pop production that has become a staple of his subsequent LPs. He weaves baile funk into the trappy longing of “Na' de Ti,” with Oliva, while the malevolent drill of Darell-featuring banger “Encima de Mi” lets newcomers know that this pretty boy isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty.

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