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    Latin Rap: How Creative Expression United A Colonized Continent

    Latin rap is some of the oldest and most diverse hip-hop that exists outside of the United States. As many Latin countries have faced political corruption and turmoil for many decades, Latin lyrics of political dissent are also some of the most timely and striking of all. Here are some of the qualities that differentiate Latin rap from the rest of the genre.

    Complex Musicality

    The “creative explosion” for Latin hip-hop occurred as a result of the Californian children of Latin-immigrants sampling “what their parents were listening to.” South American rappers would later experiment by rapping over these tracks in Spanish. Latin artists continued to explore from there.

    According to Hot97, Annuel AA is “considered the father of Latin Trap music”. The genre now varies greatly throughout the continent. But in other Latin American countries, thoughtful and thoroughly well-written lyrics are the epitome of good rap. For example, “The Colombian scene loves boom-bap”. Check out Colombian rapper, N. Hardem’s “Shajtar Donetsk”.

    Youthful Disdain for Dictatorship

    “Rappers in Chile took the expressive qualities of hip-hop and made a local version to face the dictatorship,” says Freddy Olguín, music journalist and fellow rapper. “Jaguar” by Pablo Chill-E and featuring Ithan NY is a contemporary song that displays these sentiments with lyrics, “el gobierno están buscando que me calle”.

    Why do themes recur from country to country? “Appearing around 1980 in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of São Paulo, rap is closely linked to the rediscovery of African-American sounds.” “De Onde Ce Vem” by Rincon Sapiencia reflects this with lyrics like, “Olhe la África, o drip é ancestrall.”

    Like hip-hop, the effects of colonialism are also noticeably apparent on a global scale. Argentinian rapper Nicki Nicholes says, “If you see someone screaming in the street, it makes no difference what language they’re yelling in. You still feel the emotion.”

    Machismo and Aggression

    Female rappers like Nicki Nicholes hope lyricism and delivery will someday overpower the accompanying “machismo” many male rappers display while performing. Nicki Nicholes says, “Women in Argentina are told how to act, how they should dress. As soon as I turned 18 I got this [“b*llshit”] tattoo to say, F*** that! I’ll do what I want.” Check out her single “Colocao”.



    1. True statement: “If you see someone screaming in the street, it makes no difference what language they’re yelling in. You still feel the emotion.”

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