March 3, 2012

Afro-Latino Hip-Hop

I came across this great article written by Isabel on

The article gives a great deal of history on the relationship between Hip-Hop and Latin music and the fusion of these two musical genres.


Afro-Latino hip-hop is a shared history blending two musical traditions.  As Black History Month winds down we pay tribute to some great Afro-Latino hip-hop artists.  We’d also like to tell a bit about this bridge between African-American and Latino/Hispanic cultures.
African-American culture has given us a whole history of great music, from jazz to blues to hip hop. Latinos, as a minority group along with African-Americans, have been right with African-Americans in putting their own mix to the goodness.  Afro-Latino hip-hop is a natural extension of this history.
During the 70s hip-hop started to form with spoken word and the dub related music style. It ultimately blew up around block parties in the Bronx by African American and also Latino youth. Soon hip-hop started to spread internationally, starting in the late 70s in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba. Soon after, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Brazil started to explode with traditional Latin music infused with dub and rapping.
One of the first Afro-Latino hip-hop DJs was Puerto Rican and Cuban DJ Disco Wiz. Disco was in his name given its influence on the beginnings of hip-hop. With Casanova Fly and Prince Whipper Whip he started the first exclusively Latino hip-hop group called Mighty Force Crew. Yet these Afro-Latino artists weren’t very public about their cultural heritage.
It wasn’t until 1981, when Spanglish was used by the groups The Mean Machine and The Sugar Hill Gang, that Latinos openly culturally influenced hip-hop. Soon after Latin-Carribean MCs and DJs broke into the scene substantially. Master OC with The Fearless Four and The Fantasy 3 started a reggae-infused scene in Harlem and moved Afro-Latino hip-hop in that direction.
During the 90s hip-hop began to spread around the country rather than overseas. On the West Coast a number of artists began to mix English, Spanish and Spanglish in their Latin-infused rap.  Performers in this category include:
  • Kid Frost
  • Mellow Man
  • A.L.T.
  • Cypress Hill
  • Ecuadorian-born rapper Gerardo
Johnny J produced several Tupac Shakur albums, making an important mark on hip-hop history. Southwestern states beyond California, such as Texas, began to have popular rappers emerge. Chingo Bling, Juan Gotti, South Park Mexican, Sinful of tha Mexicanz and Kemo the Blaxican all brought the hip-hop scene to the South. In the southern East Coast around Miami, Don Dinero and Pitbull were successful in their use of Spanglish rap.
Other important artists to the scene worth mentioning include the following:
  • Akwid
  • Jae-P
  • Crooked Stilo
  • Mexiclan
  • David Rolas
  • Control Machete
  • Cartel De Santa
  • Molotov

curated by Cristopolis

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