They May Not Get a Lot of Shine, But these Latinos Helped Spark the Birth of Hip Hop

Most people know groundbreaking Latino rap acts like Cypress Hill and Big Pun, but Latinos have been part of hip hop waaaaaay longer – pretty much since the beginning. NPR’s Latino USA recently released a two-part series about the Latino history of hip hop and highlighted some of the Latinos that were putting it down since DAY ONE. Here’s what we learned:

Latinos Were Present at the Very Beginning of Hip Hop

Photo Credit: Easy AD / Wikimedia

Latinos, especially Puerto Ricans, were some of hip hop’s pioneers: DJ Charlie Chase was a founding member of the Cold Crush Brothers (that’s him at the bottom left of the photo). Devastating Tito was a member of the Fearless Four. Prince Markie D Morales of Fat Boys. Prince Whipper Whip and Ruby Dee of Fantastic Five.

Hip Hop Was Born During an Economic Depression in NYC

There Was Tension Between Latinos and Blacks Over Hip Hop

Before Stuff Like Planet Rock Was Released, Breakdancers Listened to Funk

Credit: RasputinStream / YouTube

Stuff like “I Get Lifted” by George McCrae.

DJs Loved Using Funk Tracks With Heavy Latin Elements

Credit: Jason Amendolara / YouTube

“It’s Just Begun” by Jimmy Castor Bunch was a crowd favorite. Other acts like Ray Barreto and Joe Bataan were also popular.

DJ Charlie Chase: “The funkiest stuff always has these Latin influences to it.”

Raquel Rivera: “Those breakbeats… they have a lot to do with what was called Latin soul, Latin funk… [they feature] timbales, congas, so there was that caribbean Latino influence.”

Lots of Guys Learned to Breakdance to Get Girls

There Was a Latino in the First Rap Group Signed to a Major Label

Credit: Kanal von RuffRyder07 / YouTube

The Fearless Four, who released the hit track “Rockin’ It” were signed to Elektra Records. One of the founding members, Devastating Tito, was Puerto Rican. Oh, and if the song sounds familiar, Jay-Z used the same sample in the song “Sunshine.”

In the Early Days, Graffiti Was Just as Big as the Music

Photo Credit: klg19 / Creative Commons

Most people were exposed to graffiti through subway trains, which were bombed by graffiti artists. Once an artist became well-known, people would look for more of their work. Graffiti legend Lee Quiñones: “Back then, kids would hang out and watch trains for hours… hoping to find new murals.”

Quiñones, who had fans such as Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat, had his first showing at a gallery in Rome, Italy. He was only 19.

Look out for A Latino History of Hip Hop, Part 2 on Latino USA.

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He Is An Indigenous Rapper Who Is Dropping An Album And Suing The Government To Fight Climate Change At The Same Time


He Is An Indigenous Rapper Who Is Dropping An Album And Suing The Government To Fight Climate Change At The Same Time

Meet the 17-Year-Old Aztec Rapper Suing the Trump Administration

This 17-year-old Aztec rapper is in the midst of releasing his debut album while suing the Trump administration — here’s why.

Posted by NBC Latino on Thursday, September 21, 2017

He is fighting his generation’s fight to protect the environment.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a 17-year-old rapper and environmental activist who is the leader of Earth Guardians, a group of young people fighting for legislation to protect the environment against the Trump administration’s agenda. He and 20 other young activists have filed a lawsuit against the United States government, claiming that the administration is not doing enough to protect them from the impacts of climate change. He is also dropping his rap debut, an album that stresses the importance of standing up for what you believe in and what you want to protect. In Martinez’ case, that is the environment.

“We’re using the stories, which is the passion, which is the emotion that gets people to move, Martinez told NBC Latino. “Then there’s the science behind it as well, working with top climate scientists to build a comprehensive climate recovery plan. That’s what we’re demanding from the government.”

Martinez understands that everyone can’t completely pause their lives to fight for the things they are passionate about. What Martinez suggests, according to the NBC Latino video, is for people to use professions to bring attention to causes they care about.

You can learn more about Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Earth Guardians by tapping here.

READ: There’s A Crew In Mexico Rapping In Maya

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If You Grew Up With An Immigrant Mom, You’ll Relate To This Rap Song


If You Grew Up With An Immigrant Mom, You’ll Relate To This Rap Song

Credit: Kap G/YouTube

His mom steals the show.

A few weeks ago, 21-year-old George Ramirez, better known by his stage name Kap G, dropped “El Southside,” his much anticipated mixtape. “El Southside” has gotten some positive reviews, and the clear single off the mixtape is “Girlfriend,” a catchy anthem that’s perfect for all of you messing with some other dude’s girl.

But that’s not what stood out the most for us. In fact, one of the best parts of “El Southside” isn’t even performed by Kap G, or any guest rapper. (Young Thug and YFN Lucci make appearances.) It’s the words of wisdom dropped by his mom at the end of “Move On Up.”

In the track, we hear her talk about how she only finished elementary school in Mexico and has worked hard, low-paying jobs to support her family. Her hard work and sacrifice are worth it because it gave her kids a better life, and an opportunity to follow their dreams. In Kap G’s case, that dream is to be the next great rapper.

Listen To The Song That’s Getting This Latino Rapper Comparisons To Future And Young Thug

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