Legendary Puerto Rican reggae band Cultura Profética has largely kept out of the spotlight since their 2010 studio album, La Dulzura. But like their fans, they know what it’s like to postpone desire: their top-streamed song, “Ilegal,” speaks to the slow burn of a love that takes its time. This is the track the band chose to return to in the studio, opting to record a down-tempo rendition of the hit in their first-ever Spotify Single session.
The band’s renewed lineup (only three of the current members were in the original band) visited Spotify’s New York City recording studio at the end of last year to perform a recently released re-imagining of “Ilegal,” as well as a cover of the classic “Love and Happiness” from R&B master Al Green. We spoke with front man Willy Rodriguez about the band’s song choices and adding soul to their sound. We also got a glimpse of what’s on the horizon for the group.
“We chose ‘Ilegal’ for this session because it’s a cultural classic. It’s been many years since our last album, and we had to re-spark that creative connection. We found it in this new version with a changed melody and more emotional aesthetic through the piano. The result was a very different sound from what we were used to, but something we were very happy with.”
“We chose a classic by Al Green for our second song because, although we come from reggae, we are very inclined toward soul. We wanted to honor Al Green’s original while giving this song a twist, a new energy that helped to achieve a new sound.”
“We put all our passion into each song. Although we made each with a different style, they’re still part of a whole—there is a common thread. We are used to talking about social issues in our songs, but we are also romantics at heart.”
“This session has been important for us, for what we plan to do on the new album. We connected as a group and we felt very happy to see how everything flowed naturally.”