2011 – what a Raka year.  Feel like a ton of bricks hitting me, but we forge on!  Los Rakas is one of the hardest working groups out there, blazing trails and constantly breaking down barriers.  They transcend genre and style while showcasing their talent and creativity everywhere they go.  I am so proud to be working with these guys and have no doubt 2012 will be theirs.

Los Rakas in Austin, TX in 2011 (Photo by Nina Parks)

Accolades for debut EP, ‘Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada’::::::::::
NPR Music ‘Top 50 Favorites of 2011’

PRI Worldwide‘s Afropop WW ‘Stocking Stuffers 2011’
National Geographic ‘Top 10 Releases of 2011’
Amoeba Music‘s ‘Best International Hip-Hop Release’
Okayplayer’s Largeupdotcom ‘Toppa Top 10 Caribbean Albums of 2011: #3’
AMP‘s ‘Five Most Memorable Artists of 2011’
The Washington Post‘s ‘Lost Tracks’
#67 on Club Fonograma‘s ‘Top 100 Tracks of 2011’

A lot of people said a lot of things, but these are some of my favorites:::::

“If Calle 13 is keeping Latin rap alive, then Oakland-based Panamanian duo Los Rakas gives it something to look forward to. Cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun sound fresh and intelligent on their new EP Chancletas Y Camisetas Bordada.”Alt Latino

“They’re celebratory without being goofy, topical and tropical, riding the kind of ping-pong chemistry that only a well-matched duo can achieve.” – David Dacks for Exclaim!

Every few years or so an act comes along that reminds us that reggaeton isn’t just a bunch of monotonous, pre-fab, bootyshaking basura for kids who are too young to appreciate salsa. Like Tego Calderon or Calle 13, Bay Area-duo Los Rakas blow up reggaeton’s lame conventions with smart, funny and wickedly inventive beats and rhymes. Panamanian-American partners Raka Dun and Raka Rich take the music back to its origins – back to the original, ’80s Panamanian/Jamaican reggae-en-español connection – while updating the mix for the 21st century. The result is a completely re-imagined version of reggaeton: smarter, funnier and with better beats. We dare you not to dance to this one. – Tom Pryor of Nat Geo

“Los Rakas are two amazing rappers from Panama, now residing in the Bay Area, rapping about both ill fun street sh*t and super emotional immigrant narratives.”Jawnita for East Village Radio

“Los Rakas put a serious dose of Baltimore in their Oakland for this one–and considering their Oakland was already pretty full of Black Panama, it’s amazing they found room for so much bass culture on one track.” – Eddie Stats for Large Up

“The front single off Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada is a tour-de-force number that’s so high caliber, you better believe the duo when they claim to be “dangerous.” Its fragmented depths and hinting disco strings work perfectly under the Panabay slang, one in which the Oakland cruisers once again plays ode to its beloved Mexican fanbase.” – Carlos Reyes for Club Fonograma (Read the full album review)

“Crammed into this eight-song EP, you’ll hear the flickering drum breaks of Baltimore club music, the syrupy pulse of reggaeton, the wheezing synthesizers of West Coast hip-hop, the buoyant riddims of Caribbean dancehall and the sound of a mattress squeaking in 4/4 time — a blush-able sound that knows no borders.”- Chris Richards for The Washington Post

Favorite video interviews::::::::

Big Buds Magazine with Los Rakas in LA *Best Weed-Related
Frank 151 in NYC *Most Prepared Interviewer
World Up in NYC *Best View + Afro-in-Wind Shots + Rewind to Live Show Reference
Remezcla in NYC *Best Live Performance In Brooklyn Coffee Shop
Ghetto Newsflash in LA *Flyest Interviewer + Cali Questions
Largeupdotcom in NYC *Best Live Concert Capture
Votolatino in Austin *Best Interview With Rico Sucking His Teeth

The round-up:::::::::::

Los Rakas“Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada” EP (Soy Raka LLC)
#1 on iTunes Hip-Hop/Reggaeton Chart
#2 on iTunes Overall Latin Chart

  • Collie Buddz National ‘Playback Tour’ Openers
  • SXSW @ Vibe Magazine House, Virgin Mobile House, Peligrosa, CNN Grill showcases
  • Festivals: UCLA Reggae/Jazz Fest, Snoop Dogg’s ‘Spring Gathering’, Cypress Hill’s ‘Smokeout Fest’, Central Park Summerstage
  • Licensing: Film – WWE’s ‘The Reunion, Video Game – Call of Juarez: The Cartel and TV – MTV Tr3
  • Acclaimed official remix with Goapele for her single, ‘Play
  • Main page placement on YOUTUBE.COM/MUSIC, Coverage in NPR, AOL, MTV IGGY, FADER
“Self-released and wonderfully self-assured, we’re in front of one of the year’s most eventful and accomplished urban albums.” –CLUB FONOGRAMA

“Oakland-based Raka Dun and Raka Rich represent some of the best in Spanish-language rap coming out of the US, with a classic flow married to beats that draw from dancehall, future bass and good ol’- fashioned boom-bap.” –AOL SPINNER

“In a sea of rappers reciting endless lists of brand names, sexual positions and expensive traveling destinations, it’s beautiful to remember what true love for music feels like.” –NPR
Ta Lista
If most music videos strive for maximum eye-candy then this joint is like a eye-pinata.” – LARGEUP

Cueria – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdqv2TT0A1w
“The group recently debuted a short to go with the song “Cueria” which evokes some possible parallels to the shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland in 2009 and could be speaking to the excessive use of force by police in general.” – FRANK 151

Celebrating their 5th Anniversary as a group last month to a sold-out 500 capacity theater, The New Parish, in Oakland, Raka Rich & Raka Dun are prepping their upcoming solo projects and next Los Rakas release for 2012 while continuing to collaborate on hot songs and tour to growing audiences; the Raka movement is bubbling worldwide.

…and finally.  Some of my fav photos:::::::::::

my fav shot by phil emerson

Los Rakas @ CNN Grill @ SXSW 2011

Brazilian indie pop band HOLGER came to the Los Rakas show at SXSW, big fans!

Ladies <3 Raka Rich @ Dance Right in LA

Fitting in 2 interviews in NYC @ East Village Radio

With Maria Hinojosa at NPR

Raka Krypto + Raka Dan + Raka Nati in Austin

Rocking Remezcla’s ‘The Spot’ in New York City

Raka Dun gets his literature on on the NYC Subway

Backstage at Los Rakas First NYC Headlining Show – February 2011

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