When you’ve been on the indie grind for a decade, you learn to disregard industry bullsh** and forge your own path. For L.A.’s CookBook and UNO Mas, that means making a record that reflects maturity.
The dynamic duo are back again with their sixth release, C&U Music Factory, a 16-track collection featuring the likes of Evidence (of Dilated Peoples), Scarub (of Living Legends), DJ Rhetmattic (Beat Junkies), L.A. Symph alumns Pigeon John and Sareem Poems (fka Sharlok Poems), and vocalist Raquel Rodriguez.
“C & U is the first record that I think truly represents our sound,” explains CookBook. “We’re not claiming to re-event hip-hop, we’re just trying to do what we do best.”
Reminiscent of notable up-and-comers like Blu and Tanya Morgan, CookBook and UNO put a fresh twist on old-school hip-hop. On “When You Rock & Roll,” Evidence calls out cats who sell their soul for the game.
“They used to want advice / now they tryin to son me / It’s funny how the tides change / When you rock n roll,” EV spits.
“Presente!” is a Latin-flavored track about family and ethnic pride. “Since I’m Puerto Rican and UNO hails from Mexico, our Latino fans always come up to us and ask when we’ll do a song in Spanish,” explains CookBook of what motivated the track. “We really did this for them!”
Thoughtful, cliché-free lyrics over mesmerizing beats and beautiful vocals, “Song of Our Lives” reflects two artists who have come full circle. The duo trade verses about growing up. An ode to his sister who passed away, UNO raps about being the child of immigrants and the sacrifice his parents made for him to have the opportunities he’s had in life.
Like so many artists, CookBook and UNO have experienced the industry shuffle that goes along with the rap game. In 98, the two formed a group called LA Symphony with Pigeon John, Flynn, Joey the Jerk, and Sharlok Poems. That same year, the group’s critically acclaimed debut album, Composition No. 1, catapulted them into the national spotlight. Since then, they’ve released five full-lengths, and two EPs. The last record, Unleashed, was released in 2007.
Although the group is planning a reunion someday in the future, CookBook and UNO Mas stay busy at “the factory” churning out new projects of their own. Together they’ve released Stereo-types (2001), Robertson Bullies (2006), While they Slept (2006). Their fifth LP, The Overflow, resulted in 40,000 hits by the first five months. Last year, CookBook released a critically acclaimed, a retro themed concept album, I Love the 80s.
At press time, it was unknown when the project was slated to drop. But, you can stay updated with them by friending them on MySpace at MySpace.com/CookandUNO.