Wibal y Alex, Baby Ranks | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Wibal y Alex, Baby Ranks 

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Reggaeton's most ubiquitous offering of 2005 was "Mayor Que Yo," a bombastic posse cut that stuck Puerto Rico's BABY RANKS into a crowd of the genre's more momentous stars--Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel--and immediately elevated his status. It didn't hurt that Ranks also has the backing of Luny Tunes, the production duo responsible for Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina" and most every major reggaeton hit of the last three years--he shows up on seven tracks on Luny Tunes Mas Flow 2, which has sold more than 200,000 copies since its release in March ("Latin platinum" according to the RIAA--as opposed to, uh, non-Latin platinum, which is one million). Though Ranks is an MC he's also a bit of a crooner; he sweetens the boom-and-shuffle beats with hints of Trinidadian soca and the softness of American Top 40 R & B, switching fluidly between English and espanol. Given his trademark heavy use of vocoder, he winds up sounding like a robotic lothario.

WIBAL Y ALEX are also part of the Luny Tunes Mas Flow family, and stick to shout-raps over percussive ultrabass. Their best-known song, "Agitalas"--a breakout hit last summer--is a gratifying bit of braggadocio laid atop trunk-popping thud and a sample that sounds like a sped-up video game.

Wibal y Alex headline and Baby Ranks opens. Sat 1/21, 8 PM, Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan, 312-559-1212, $30-$58. All ages.

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