Gig Seeker Pro



Band Hip Hop Latin





It's an uncharacteristically frigid afternoon in Southtown, and 31-year-old Ariel Faz — the Alamo City hip-hop veteran known simply as R.e.L. — is surrounded by bicycles. Rocking an old-school Spurs cap and his trademark mustache, the new dad settles into the cozy comforts of the Blue Star Brewery's upper confines, becoming increasingly more animated as the talk turns to Chisme. Winners of the Current's 2012 Best Hip-Hop Band award, Chisme is the duo of Faz and producer Eric Frias, aka Progeny, who first turned heads in 2011 with their sample-rich debut album Storytellers.

"Since then things have been going good," says R.e.L. recalling the distant award. The duo has been trying to branch out of the North St. Mary's strip, having played a couple of little mini-tours with Ceschi (owner of Faithfull Records) and planning another one with Fake Four Records' Dark Time Sunshine.* "We're trying to get more into throwing the shows and touring with artists."

Last November, the group released their sophomore effort, In One Ear, Out The Other, a soul-tinged six-track EP that further explores the themes of alcoholism, cultura, and dreams deferred touched upon in their previous work. The disc culminates a 22-month creative process where live performances gave birth to cuts like the geography-infused "Chisme," and the stoic, DJ Muggs-invoking "Weather." Tracks like the optimistic "Drink & Drive" and the rumbling "Ham Sandwiches" capture the duo in fine form, with R.e.L. delivering on-point stream-of-consciousness lyrics over Progeny's textured murky beats. "Breath Deep" eloquently toasts to the land of "kush, margaritas, fruit cups, and freedom," while the stirring mash-up "I Do" (R.e.L.'s favorite) serves as the EP's emotional centerpiece.

"It's a Smiths' sample and it's got a really positive vibe," he said. "We had the beat for a long time and I wanted to rhyme to it. But I couldn't really get the rhyme to do what I wanted it to and not come off very cliché and 'love song.' I found this weird blues track by Lightning Hopkins called 'Suicide Blues' and it fit so perfectly. Right now we're in the process of learning it live. Every time we do it, it's totally different."

For their live performances, Chisme strives to recreate their in-studio magic, combining a mélange of elements including live vocals, MPCs, vocal processors, turntables, and occasionally drums by Chadwick Gonzales. It was this vision that initially brought the duo together, as each was ready to expand beyond the typical call-and-response rap shows that defined their previous projects.

"It's a little less rap and a little more music," says R.e.L. "That's what we're trying to do, be a band. We want to be respected as a band, so we bring our own instruments and try to put together actual pieces of music. I love beats and rhymes, don't get me wrong. I like battle raps. I like all that stuff, but that's just not what we do."

- San Antonio Current

"CHISME new album"

A review of our 2nd album "In One Ear, Out The Other" - San Antonio Current

"Album Review"

Storytellers, the debut album from Saytown rap duo Chisme (“gossip” in Spanish), melds the fidelity of Madlib, the antics of MF Doom, and the rap styles of the Definitive Jux crew into a fantastic piece of local hip-hop. Producer Progeny allows the stories to come from the textures as much as the MCs. The piano loop on “Loveletters” sings nostalgia under a yokel’s story about a paper bag’s place in nature. The album is filled with thematic moments like this, where what comes off as hazy hip-hop reveals itself to be layered, busy music demanding close listening. Lead MC R-E-L is a younger, equally confident but un-insane El-P. His rhymes are heavy on alliteration, emphasizing consonants as much as the vowels, and delivered rapid-fire on even the slowest tunes. His crowning moment comes on “Pickpocket,” where we hear the melody for “Llorando se fue” (originally composed by Bolivia’s Los Kjarkas, its unauthorized version became famous worldwide as “the lambada song”), while Mexican Stepgrandfather provides a piercing vocal syncopation. In the song, MC R-E-L packs a Bonnie-and-Clyde narrative into 30 seconds, complete with a plot twist that reveals itself in the last four words. Narrative, whether sonic or verbal, is something Chisme has on lock. - SA Current

"Chisme Best Hip Hop 2012"

Chisme vocalist R.E.L. (real name Ariel Faz, owner of Acquired Taste Preferred Records, established 1999) describe the sound of Chisme as "that sad shit."

In a recent phone interview, he said that he and producer Progeny (Erick Frias, also billed in SA's hip-hop community as Pointing Fingers) don't have much to offer regarding what they're trying to accomplish with the music of Chisme. They just like the textures to sound a little melodramatic and dark, and the beats to sound big. Other than that, Chisme works because Faz and Frias are both really productive working together. Frias produces new beats daily while R.E.L. regularly reinvents their live show, which will re-debut with a new drummer and second DJ at Luminaria on May 5.

"It's all-encompassing," R.E.L. said. "I wouldn't say that we're a political band, even though those connotations are there. We just kind of take a beat, add rhymes, and create a mood."

And therein lays the rub. Chisme is an ominous and hazy mélange of sound, where the seams are stitched rather than concealed. The lyrics hold up under scrutiny (check the doomed love narrative of "Pickpocket"), but the beats can sway the low end of any house party, especially one buoyed by little more than Lone Star and a window unit. Chisme's sound and verse combine into something like SA's answer to A Tribe Called Quest. The hooks take time to sink in, but when they do, it becomes apparent the music is somehow transcendent without being radio-friendly. In any case, SA is hooked on that sad shit. - San Antonio current


Storytellers released 2011 on Acquired Taste Preferred.

In One Ear and Out the Other, A.T.P.



CHISME (pronounced chees-meh) is the spanish word for gossip. CHISME is a live hip-hop band anchored by the songwriting of R.e.L (Ariel Faz) and the production of Progeny (Erick Frias). They feature live instrumentation with Progeny on MPC-1000 and R.e.L manning the Roland SP-404 and delivering the witty rhymes he is known for. All songs are accentuated by the percussion of Chadwick Gonzales and the piercing scratches from a number of guest DJs. CHISME is part of TX independent label Acquired Taste Preferred.

They received the 2012 San Antonio Current's Music Award for Best Hip-Hop group. Their debut album Storytellers, released in January of 2011, won critical acclaim. A California and Texas tour gave them plenty of stage time and helped to solidify their live show. Performances at Fiesta del Mercado, Luminaria Arts Festival, and Una Noche de La Gloria help make them hometown heros. "In One Ear, Out The Other" is the band's sophomore effort. It was released in November of 2012. It quickly gained acclaim from others around the industry. After a couple of short Texas tours the band is gearing up for 2013 SXSW and Luminaria festivals.