Chicano/Latin(o) Hip-Hop Overview

The hip-hop phenomenon has reached an ultimate high in our communities. Around the Los Angeles area, most of us listen to stations such as Power 106 and The Beat 100.3. What we donít hear on the station is the hip-hop music of our people. Sure the station is home to the Pocos Pero Locos show, but, in my opinion, that show is one sided. The show fails to showcase the various styles of hip-hop within our community. They choose to play the gangster rap genre, and, like someone stated in the hip-hop forum, that is not all there is inside our communities. We cannot, however, deny the fact that the show has listeners. But, I do believe that the show can become more universal by including other styles of hip-hop in their programming, and thus, attracting additional listeners.

THE CONCERTS:

Concerts seem to be the next big step for our peoplesí that are into hip-hop music. A couple of weeks back, Hit a Lick Records attempted to a concert to showcase Latino hip-hop acts. Following the unsuccessful ability of the underground hip-hop scene in the 2001 Aztlan Fest to attract listeners, I had a doubt about the Hit a Lick concert. I was not present, not because I donít like to support, but because I had other matters at hand. Iíve been informed that a rumble or riot broke out. I am also aware that Channel 11 news was present during the events that unfolded that night. If this is so, then I feel that the events of this night have just hurt our attempts to rise above our current state. The negative effect this might have is unpredictable, but just as unpredictable is if this media coverage will have a positive effect on our evolving industry.

Aside from big concerts, there is a group of promoters, DJs, and rappers, called The 5th Battalion. This group does smaller underground events around the west side of Los Angeles. Their ability to pull in crowds of 200 and 300 people in amazing. They use the basics of a ďgrassrootsĒ promotional system to accomplish these awesome local gigs. If they can take it to the next level, remains to be seen. But I have noticed a ton of great talent floating around in their scene, local names like El Nuevo Xol, Los Tumbados, Blunts LLA, Street Platoon, and The Psycho Realm. These groups contain an incredible amount of talent, and, should any of them break out, should accomplish great things for our communitiesí hip-hop hopes of globalization.

OUR STRUGGLE:

We have many struggles. I feel that the main obstacle facing our artist is the separation between our communities. The gangsters canít go across town because of rival gangsters, and the common people canít go around town for fear of the gangsters. So, we canít support our artistsí live performances. Hating is very common as well. SPM is loved in Texas, but in Califas. heís not well received It is this separation of our people that prohibits our industry from advancing. It is our thinking of looking out for us and only us! It is greed and hate! What do you readers think of this idea? SPM has, what seems to be, the best distribution capabilities. Why canít he be a leader for our people? This can show the world the true talent of our communities.

THE LANGUAGE:

Perhaps our language might be a problem in the quest for universal appeal. Some rappers use bilingual lyrics, some might use Spanish, and some might use English. In our communities around the Los Angeles area, I see Spanish and Bilingual lyrics being very common. And why shouldnít they be, we can all relate to the two languages. But what about a white kid in Washington State? Is it possible that our cultureís heavy influence is too much for some? Can outsiders appreciate our cultureís music and accept it? Or, do our artist have to sacrifice some of our culture in order to assimilate into this countryís rules of how things should be done? Many underground artist will not sacrifice such an aspect of self, but it is possible that these artist will suffer at the expense of not becoming ďuniversal.Ē It is up to us, then, to search for these artists, and support their efforts. We should appreciate their art form, rather than turn away from it. This article is an attempt to get us to think about what is going on within ourselves and our communities. It is an attempt to begin a change for all of us. Let us stick together and make this work.

written by TOLTEKA



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