I love getting emails from journalists about the things they are excited about covering, especially in the oh-so-murky space that is covering Latinos in the US and the highly coveted Latino Millennial.
How can we have a healthy perspective of these merging voices without purpose-filled narrators with vision, right? In this case, a note from journalist Marlon Bishop reminded me of an awesome long-form and video piece he authored about Puerto Rico and hip-hop for Remezcla called “Trilligan’s Island – Puerto Ricans Are Blowing Up Latin Hip-Hop.”
In 2012, I lived in Santurce for 2 months – a neighborhood Marlon talks a lot about in his piece about San Juan and Puerto Rico’s hip-hop scene. Check this piece I wrote about the art scene back in 2012, #InspirationArchives: (Art) Fever y Soulita en San Juan. Anyhow, it really changed my perspective on a lot of things and the hip-hop reflects the extremely complex relationship the Island has with the United States. It produces a culture of extremes.
Already knowing about pioneering groups like Cienxia Ficcion (listen) politically-motivated groups like Intifada (who I had booked with Bocafloja in NYC in 2007), Marlon’s piece seeks to place exactly where Hip-Hop En Español on the Island is right now; both underground and overground in the mainstream Latin urban industry. In 2015, the barriers to entry of both worlds is melting into something new and that’s a good thing for entrepreneurial artists everywhere con ganas.
Separate from Remezcla‘s mini-documentary and article – the great DJ and music producer Nickodemus – put out this sweet video “A San Juan Minute” featuring some other emcees you may not know besides Velcro who was mentioned in the Remezcla piece – like EA Flow, Nebula, Ikol Santiago. Check it as it’s a cool supplement to Marlon’s piece:
Voices of Latinos in the United States will be rising a lot in the next few years (I’m also hoping we continue to hear from more women from all these worlds, too). Recently, the Los Angeles Times called the obvious: “Here are two things about the future of pop music everyone agrees upon: It will be dancey, and it’s going to be more Latino.” We’re seeing it when huge festivals like Coachella book notables like Calle 13, Bomba Estereo and this year, Los Rakas.
The impact is going to be much larger from the legacy of the pioneers of this movement when sincere efforts are made to collaborate not only musically, but on the touring front, amongst media figures (IE. Are you writing about Latin music and keep having to ghettoize your message to get published? Make a new platform and call it how it is!), and the people pulling the strings in this Digital Era behind the scenes to quite frankly, build the damn bridge beyond the Babylon that was the old industry.
Because this is not the same industry and with brains & will we have power. It’s time we claim our diasporadical-ness. So in that respect, I agree with this statement from Marlon’s Trilligan’s Island piece:
Es pa’lante que vamos…