Culture

This Week PR And DR Were Going AT IT – And I’m Not Just Talking About Baseball

DigitalSportsLounge

Making fun of each other relentlessly is something Puerto Ricans and Dominicans do often, especially when we are up against each other in world events. As was the case this week with the World Baseball Classic.

Now that el fuego has died down, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the major burns that were happening this week before, during, and after the game, because people were going HAM on Twitter.

As a Puerto Rican, I got a good laugh in myself during the baseball game. ‘Cause sometimes, mi gente, we be wildin’.

What you can’t see in this photo is the three piece Puerto Rico flag suit he’s wearing.

But some folks just don’t get the rivalry.

I get it though, similar food, similar music, similar love for platanos.

Some people were coming hard for the Puerto Rican Adobo love.

What? You never brushed your teeth with Adobo?

Folks fortunate to have a bit of both in their lives were clearly conflicted.

Looks like he’s wishing he’d never been born.

This Twitter user was disoriented by the whole ordeal.

It’s like when your parents are fighting and you’re just like “Can’t we all just eat some tres leche and relax?”

Even the anthem got geeked on.

This updated anthem is modern, and everyone can sing along. We should just vote and make it official already.

Even with all the Puerto Rico shade, some took it in stride and kept it moving.

It’s hard to knock Puerto Rican pride when we represent for breakfast.

My fellow NYC Boricua wasn’t having it.

Word, yo. Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in the hood gotta look out for each other.

And then some folks spoke too soon.

In a thrilling game, Puerto Rico bested the Dominican Republic with a score of 3 to 1.

By the next morning, some were just tired of the comparisons and wanted peace and love.

Can’t we all just get along?

But for others, suspicion was on the rise.

I’d have been more nervous if it was a Morir Soñando.

Others were still licking their wounds from the loss and felt like throwing some more jabs.

To be fair, y’all know Dominican Spanish be fast AF sometimes.

By the following evening, everyone had said their piece, and the only sentiment that really matters was the one:

Mad corny, indeed, my friend. We are all poppin’.

READ: Mexicanos vs Puertorriqueños, Americanos vs Dominicans: 13 Storylines that Make the World Baseball Classic a Must-Watch

Were you watching this game while scrolling the beef on Twitter? Share with the links below!

Bad Bunny Strikes Again And Graces A Security Guard’s Debut Single

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Strikes Again And Graces A Security Guard’s Debut Single

@urbanfloweb / Twitter / shootter_ledo / Instagram

San Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, more commonly known as Bad Bunny, El Conejo Malo, is very familiar with the transformative effects of SoundCloud. Bad Bunny was bagging groceries at a supermarket when he gained a cult following on SoundCloud. Since then, he’s risen to international fame, with dozens of accolades under his belt. Last year, he won the Latin American Music Awards Artist of the Year award and Billboard awarded him the Top Latin Song of the year for “Te Bote.”

Bad Bunny’s style and attitude might seem odd to some, but that’s given him all the success in the world. Like a true saint, he has a history of prioritizing his people over fame and glory. Just last month, Bad Bunny canceled a European concert tour last minute to fly home to Puerto Rico and participate in the Ricky Renuncia protests.

For the last year, Bad Bunny has been secretly working with other SoundCloud traperos to help boost their career.

Credit: Nabru Records / YouTube

In a way, nothing has changed for Bad Bunny when it comes to what matters most to him. He’s prioritizing Boricuas and Latin trap, hanging out with his friends, and listening to SoundCloud. 

That’s how he discovered Jesús Antonio Dominguez Collazo, A.K.A. Shootter Ledo.

Credit: Nabru Records / YouTube

Ledo has a biology degree and just fools around with music on the side. Right now, he’s working as a security guard. It just so happened that Dominguez and Benito had a mutual friend in La Paciencia, a producer with ears in all the right places. Last fall, La Paciencia played “Subimos de Rango” for Bad Bunny, and the trapero couldn’t get enough of it. Apparently, Ledo and Omy de Oro had spent just a couple hours making the track before they posted it to SoundCloud.

Bad Bunny loved the song so much that he created some verses to add.

Credit: Nabru Records / YouTube

La Paciencia had given him a heads up that they wanted to share the track with Bad Bunny to see what he thought of the song as a single. Dominguez says he honestly hadn’t even thought of getting off SoundCloud and creating a track, let alone with El Conejo Malo, when he got the call that San Benito already was writing verses for the song. 

It’s no mistake that Bad Bunny is helping produce new artists.

Credit: shootter_ledo / Instagram

It seems that La Paciencia and Bad Bunny had set up the hotel room specifically to hear artists spit lines in person. When Dominguez first walked into the hotel room with Bad Bunny, he was nervous. Bad Bunny knew it, and afterward, asked him to come back the next morning to try again. For Bad Bunny, it felt like he was “forcing it.”

So Dominguez went back to his security guard night shift and went back the next morning with new verses.

Credit: Nabru Records / YouTube

He literally wrote new verses during his shift and nailed it. La Paciencia and Bad Bunny took him on and more. Bad Bunny is a featured artist on the single. “What that man did, no one does…,” Dominguez said. “The most popular artist in the world did a remix to someone else’s first song. And he didn’t even know me…. no tiene nombre lo que él hizo.”

The track’s cover art honors El Conejo Malo’s own letras.

Credit: @urbanfloweb / Twitter

It’s a full-circle moment when Bad Bunny gets to rap about his Gucci wallet and how, “Si quiero, me retiro feliz y contento.” He knows that he’s in his moment, and that if he were to die, they’d erect a monument of him (Me muero y me hacen un monumento / estoy en mi momento).

Now, Ledo is just waiting to see if Bad Bunny’s help with “Subimos de Rango” jump-starts his music career.

Credit: Nabru Records / YouTube

“I’m going to see what fruits this [single] brings,” he says thinking about what’s next. “I’m going to see who sticks, who wants to collaborate. Pero, yo estoy puesto pa’ zumbar canciones… and get to where I need to get to.”

You can watch the full music video, by Shootter Ledo and Omy de Oro, featuring Bad Bunny right here.

The video premiered just two days ago and already has 700,000 views. The most liked comment on YouTube translates, “Wow, Bad Bunny with the surprising theme and bringing back trap. Thank you Bad Bunny.”

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Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

Culture

Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

aruni_y_photography / Instagram

Anyone traveling to the Dominican Republic this summer has likely been met with the cautionary warning; “Don’t drink anything from the minibar.” Eleven tourist deaths on the island in 2019, ranging from natural causes to counterfeit alcohol consumption, have spurred FBI and State Department investigations. Though news of flight and hotel cancellations abounded, I missed my family and refused to let fear stop me from seeing them. Since I lived to tell the tale, here are a few things I learned about my father, about myself, and about the precarious paradise that keeps calling me back.

Billy Joel and Nas have interpreted the “New York state of mind,” and if you have ever visited the Dominican Republic beyond the purpose of tourism, you’ll know that there exists a Dominican state of mind too.

Credit: Dan Gold / Unsplash

Whenever I exit Las Americas or Puerto Plata airports, humidity slaps me in the face, and my Dominican mindset is immediately activated. On this island, electricity does not run 24/7. When the electricity goes, or as we say “se fue la luz,” water doesn’t run from the tap either. All that is left to do is swap your sneakers for flip-flops, and exorcise your need for immediate gratification. It takes practice, and I re-learn this lesson with each visit.

The Dominican Republic is changing fast. 

Credit: zonacolonialrd / Instagram

There is new construction everywhere you look. I sit on the balcony chatting with my father and stare across the street trying to remember how it looked before the apartment building was constructed in that space. I can see from an open doorway on the ground level that wooden boxes are being stacked, and hauled out in front of a business. I tune out my father’s voice as I focus on the shape and size of the boxes. My Spanish needs work, and I ask my father, “Papi, what does ataúd mean?” The business slogan translates to “Quality Coffins.” I think about magic realism traditions in Latin American literature, and I am reminded that so often a country like this juxtaposes disparate images and experiences in such a casual manner. I don’t think I would be able to live across the street from a constant reminder of death anywhere else but on this incongruous island.

We drive to the countryside of El Seibo for a few days.

Credit: fedoacurd/ Instagram

My father syncs his playlist and he directs my sister what song to play next. The first song is by Boy George. I watch my father sing along, and I can’t help but think about the Dominican Republic’s homophobic culture steeped in hyper-masculinity. Same-sex marriage is not recognized on the island, and members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and violence. I talk to my sister about this later that night, and she tells me small changes are coming to the island. The city of Santo Domingo hosts inclusive events like Draguéalo, where you can even sign up for a Vogue class.

Credit: Draguelao / Facebook

My father’s playlist continues and I’m struck by his selections ranging from Taylor Swift to A.I.E. (A Mwana), a song by a 1970s group called Black Blood, featuring lyrics in Swahili.

I watched this Dominican dad jam across continents, decades, cultures, languages, and race. I realize there is so much I don’t know about him, and so often we shortchange our parents’ knowledge and experience, reducing them to stereotypes and gendered tropes.

My next lesson is on staying sexy.

                                                           Unsplash/Photo by Ardian Lumi 

After a few days in the countryside, my sister and I rent a hotel room in La Zona Colonial. We ready for a night out when she looks at my outfit and asks me, “Um, is that what you’re wearing tonight?” I thought my yellow jumpsuit was poppin’. My sister pulls out a little black dress from her overnight bag and kindly suggests I wear it. The dress is tiny. It’s skimpy. It’s super short. It’s absolutely perfect. I channel my inner Chapiadora, Goddess of Sex Appeal and Free Drinks, and dance all night. 

Growing up in the 90s, I styled myself in oversized men’s clothing. It wasn’t until that one magical summer in the Dominican Republic when the heat was too oppressive to wear jeans, so I wore—gasp—a skirt. That was the first time I felt sexy, and learned the power of sex appeal. Though I wielded that power throughout my twenties, it fell away in my thirties. Wearing my sister’s LBD I realize I still have “it,” and in the Dominican Republic, sex appeal is ageless. Be careful when you come here. You may fall in love with a local, or you may just fall in love with yourself again.

The island leaves me with one last lesson.

It comes late one night, sharing a few bottles of wine with my father and sister. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver—the worst blind person is the one who refuses to see. I could say the current political landscape in the U.S. reflects this willful ignorance, a refusal to see; yet it is the same human experience felt across space and time.

I come away wondering about my own blind spots.

                                                            Instagram/@rensamayoa

I board my return flight thinking up ways to combat willful ignorance at home, thinking about maintaining that flexible DR state of mind and thinking about buying a little black dress. As tourism in the Dominican Republic picks up again, and unfavorable headlines drop out of the news cycle, this changing island stands in its own plurality welcoming visitors, and offering endless opportunities to teach us something new.

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