Edwin Antequera is not a good name for a champeta urbana star. This genre needs cred – and for that, you need a good stage name. Take, for example, one of the best-known champeta stars: Twister El Rey. Twister the King. He’s got a name that is making a bold declaration. And as Israel Gómez Monterrosa has declared himself the monarch of champeta, Edwin Antequera has declared himself the democratic leader of the genre, going by Mr Black “El Presidente del Género.” I don’t think any of these people went through the proper channels to earn their positions. One of ten children, Antequera says he was the only dark-skinned one in the family, which is why they called him Mr Black.
The internet doesn’t have a lot of information about Mr Black. No Wikipedia page, no discography, nothing. Which was really unfortunate, because I really want to know when he made this track “Braulio el templao.” It has a very old-school champeta sound – very pure and simple and instrumental – with lyrics that are more traditional for the genre as well. It sings of the neighborhood kid who changed from a chicken to a rat (rat being thief) and becoming the person everyone fears now. Based on mathing out this newspaper article, I would think the song came out around the start of his career in the early 2000s.
Warning about the next video: contains at least five very scantily-clad women. It’ll make sense as you read about the song.
Regardless how traditional his beginnings, by 2013, Mr Black was full champeta urbana. His song “El Serrucho,” which remains a popular party song today, is full of the computer-generated sounds typical of the newer wave. However, it also has an accordion…not typical for champeta, but a move to fuse a bit of vallenato in there.
The song is full of play-on-word double-entendres.
Also just to keep in mind as you continue reading, serrucho literally means a saw, like the tool used to cut wood.
For example, he sings that “Maria broke the bed that Chagua gave her; she brought it to be fixed; because I’m the one that nails it/her (linguistically in Spanish, it’s unclear if he is referring to her or it) (then “nails” is repeated like seven times); I am her carpenter.”
Following this thread of thought, I asked a friend if “tonight I’m going to give the saw” just meant sex, but while I waited for his answer I actually found an article in which Mr Black says (translation mine), “Serrucho is a dance in Cartagena de Indias, vulgarly we say we’re going to “saw the girl,” but the expression is also used to refer to those that like to take other people’s girlfriends or boyfriends.”
When I updated my friend on what I had found, he said “Those Cartageneros. That is definitely local. Only Cartageneros know it. Local culture.”
This makes sense following the verse about nailing Chagua’s girlfriend (‘s bed?).
Also, the video gives the illusion that serrucho is a dance with your arms, but other sources on the internet tell me it’s really a humpy grind.
Let’s flash back to his early days again.
Once again, a much purer Caribbean sound, and an actual story being told. In these old champetas, there’s not even a repeated chorus. That would ruin the flow of the story.
I’ll leave you with Mr Black’s latest, just uploaded to YouTube 2 days ago. You definitely hear the digitized sound – including his voice – and a lot more repetition. He loves repeating syllables in a break-down these days. The content of this one is just about making a party for the world, getting the whole world up and dancing (more or less).
So what do you think? Old Mr Black or new?