On #SXSW: Post by @Conrazon

Words by me here —> I don’t do SXSW. It comes at a bad time of year for me (it’s the time of year I break down from awful winter and go island hopping.) But my friend Natalia Linares, who works in the business of music, does. Check out her latest post on this ever-growing conference:

Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 11.44.11 AM

#PuentesFuentes: “Community support is about collaboration, not competition!”

Words via Conrazon‘s blog:

Salute to Chief Boima and Dutty Artz for this post that laid out a lot of things I’ve been thinking about the last 5 years I’ve been to Austin for SXSW.  I urge you all to mediate on this and figure out how we can continue to build space with each other both in our communities and at gargantuan event$ happening nationally.

Read more here.

 

New album by Los Rakas to drop on Universal Musica!

No Tan ListoNews from Rakalandia!

Panama via Oakland, Calif, Latin hip-hop duo, Los Rakas have released the first single,No Tan Listo,” for their debut album with Universal Musica’s urban label, Machete Music. The record will drop on April 15. (Grab the single here.)

As someone who played a minuscule role in this band’s publicity efforts, I couldn’t be more proud:

(Watch an interview I scored for them on CNN on Español here: http://bit.ly/Nd4fpO)

I also scored this premiere for them in the now-defunct (*sad face*) AOL SPINNER.

Screen shot 2014-03-07 at 3.11.45 PM

That was a tiny glimpse to the press this duo has been getting. Just do a search online and you’ll see tons of articles, especially about their upcoming shows at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. (And you can thank their publicist, Raka team member, Conrazón, for all of that good press!)

Also check out their collaboration with The Bots – “Spaceshippin’” – for the Converse Cons EP (also features my favorite NYC rap crew right now, Ratking) came out via VICE’s Noisey.  Download the song here.

 

On Latin Hip-Hop

Calle 13
Calle 13

I’ve been thinking a lot about Spanish-language — or, if you prefer, Latin — hip-hop, lately. Perhaps it’s because I seeing gains by artists I can call friends, such as Los Rakas from Oakland, Calif. (Also this. The band led by Tony-winner Tray Anastasio, of Phish fame, covered Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux? Whaaaaa?)

A recent article in The New York Times and a segment on NPR’s Alt.Latino also prompted me to reflect where the genre has been and where it’s going (as well as growing.)

The Times’ Jon Pareles interviewed René Pérez Joglar and Eduardo Cabra Martínez from Calle 13 in advance of their forthcoming album, Multi_Viral (March 1).

Check out this excerpt from the Feb. 21 piece:

From its debut album in 2005, Calle 13 has spurned genres. It dabbled in the Puerto Rican hip-hop called reggaeton but refused to be bound by it. Since then the duo has constantly expanded its music, drawing on the folkloric, the electronic and the orchestral, mixing from a world of sources — discovered in the course of their ever-expanding tour circuit and lately, Mr. Cabra said, on YouTube.

Calle 13 has won 19 Latin Grammys, more than any other act, and it has rallied international audiences with songs that hold messages of solidarity, sympathy for the hard-working poor and demands for freedom and individuality, like the Andean-flavored “Latinoaméricano.” Calle 13 keeps its distance from party politics, but not from hot-button issues: Mr. Pérez strongly supports Puerto Rican independence, regularly describing the island as a colony of the United States.

“I think every musician has a responsibility when they are making music,” Mr. Pérez said. “Sometimes people are hard on you because you say things. But I prefer that, rather than to be an artist that does not say anything and that’s why people like you. It’s almost like you’re invisible. There is a lot of music going on that for me is invisible.”

Pareles also chatted with colleague Ben Ratliff about the band’s impact and political activism via their music in this Times’ “Popcast.” Listen here.

Over at Alt.Latino, hosts Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras invited Latin music blogger Juan Data, as well as a pioneer of Mexican hip-hop, rapper Bocafloja, to discuss how hip-hop trickled into Latin America, changing the music scene forever.

Juan Data brought up Mellowman’s “Mentirosa.” Remember that song? Blast from the past. Listen to “How Hip-Hop Changed Latin Music Foreverhere. (And check out this October 2013 Alt.Latino segment on the women of Latin hip-hop.)

Though the number of Latin hip hop artists has increased, and the genre’s profile is somewhat raised, it’s important to support independent artists for several reasons. Mostly, because I’m sure the mainstream public can’t tell the difference between Latin hip-hop, reggaeton, bachata, and so on.

Supporting indie artists is also a way to find fresh, new music – a godsend since it’s not the same old reggaeton/urbano songs played one million times on the Spanish language radio stations.

I always tell folks to listen to Los Rakas, a duo out of Oakland, Calif., via Panama, that I’ve worked with in the past. The pair’s profile keeps rising and they have a dual album and some other exciting stuff on the horizon.

In the meantime, check out their song, “Hot,” currently playing in the video game, FIFA ’14. That’s big!

Last year, a Chicago-based DJ friend (Christian Vera of Soulphonetics) hipped me to an artist by the name of The Color Brown. Real name Ruben Borrero, Color Brown was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chi-town.

I love this quote he gave Northeastern’s Independent when asked about the name, “The Color Brown.”

“After coming to the U.S. from Puerto Rico, I had a newfound love for the Latino culture in general. Not only Puerto Ricans, but also Mexicans, Salvadorians, Guatemalans, Colombians, Venezuelans—just everybody that identifies themselves with this mix of cultures that have to go through the same struggles in this country, regardless of their country of origin. I also realized that white Americans often referred to us as “brown” people not as an offense, but as a way to categorize us. I guess “The Color Brown” is an attempt to re-conquer this word and this color that all Latinos share in common in one way or another. It is, in short, my tribute to the struggle of all those brown people in the United States.”

That’s what it’s all about, especially the part about loving the Latino culture as a whole.

The Color Brown has a new song, La Excepción (free download!). With a backing beat by J.Cole, the song is about working hard by any means necessary to make it, no exceptions. Listen to the track below.

*** Update, Feb. 27: After I posted this story, I was contacted by some reggae/hip hop artists from Chile! They’re called Sur Flow (Southern Flow) and their song, “Old School,” is on the raggamuffin tip! Good stuff that brings me back to college parties in the late 1990s.

Here are just a few Latin hip hop artists I recommend:

Choquibtown, Bomba Estereo, Ephniko, La Mala Rodriguez, Ana Tijoux, Chingo Bling.

MTV Iggy has a good list here. And these ladies below.

West Coast style Valentine’s Day music from Los Rakas

unnamed-1via Conrazón:

Continuing their tradition of putting out great free music and especially on Valentines Day aka #RakaLove  – you’ve heard 2012’s Raka Love and 2013’s Lets Get It On (Pa’ Encima), right?? – Raka Rich and Raka Dun team up again with the Bay Area’s Mars Today, putting out a lush call for loving in new track “Tell Me

Get the Free Download and make sure you tell Los Rakas how you like it today at this hashtag:

#TellMeRakaLove

Get the song nowhttp://losrakas.bandcamp.com/track/tell-me-mars-today-ft-los-rakas

Raka Rich freestyles over Drake & Jay Z’s ‘Pound Cake’

Screen shot 2014-01-25 at 10.37.20 PMLos Rakas may be on tour with J-Boog, but they keep gifting fans with tracks every so often. This new one features Raka Rich dropping cocky lyrics over a remix of Drake and Jay Z’s ‘Pound Cake.’

Ahora estoy llenando estadios…” (Now, I’m filling stadiums.)
— Raka Rich on the track.

The “bilingual East Bay-flava’d banger,” produced by one of my favorites architects in the game — Nima Fadavi, is where the genre is going to keep going, folks. Get on it.

And it’s not just Spanish. Hip-hop is global game, and this is good thing for those who are sick of the same 10 artists we keep getting shoved down on throats on all mediums. (And, yes, I’m aware Jay Z and Drake are two of the 10, but that’s what makes this track special. Raka Rich, along with Shark Sinatra, Sin Que, and D.A.Go give this track a different flavor for sure.)

Zuzu and Burt Fox. <3
Zuzu and Burt Fox. ❤

Also check out a new BASS-tastic track by Brazil/Brooklyn’s Zuzuka Poderosa. “Baile Crunk,” produced by Burt Fox, is just as hot as the hook proclaims:

Rio De Janeiro, Tennessee & H-town,
Rio de Janeiro, Atlanta, Miami…

Los Rakas Drop Brand New Video “No Tan Listo” on MTV HIVE

Upcoming Summer Album, Double-Disc “El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo,” Coming Later This Summer

532689_531151136924188_322647019_nKickoff National Tour With Internationally Renowned Reggae Band – SOJA – in San Diego on Wednesday, April 24. Confirmed To Perform With Tego Calderon at Summerstage in July During the Latin Alternative Music Conference. Win Puma’s “Blank CanvasProject, Raka Logo On Major Brand SneakerMake A Cameo In Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” Video!
Watch “No Tan Listo”: http://mtvhv.com/11i5Lbb

“Already known as mixtapes wizards before they started recording their own songs, Los Rakas concocts a bilingual gumbo from the Caribbean musical diaspora of Jamaican dancehall, reggaeton and reggae, stiffened with straight shots of hip-hop and R&B.” – LA Times

“The illusion of effortlessness is part of what makes them so cool, and they generate inspiring mega-wattage the way most people barely wake up.  There was no need for the comic aggression, transparently defensive displays of wealth, or an authenticity that sounds a lot like sociopathy.  They perform from a meaningful place and make it look good.  Los Rakas is skill, just skill on a pocket of sunshine.” – Pop Matters


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24th, 2013: Coming out strong in advance of their two-disc summer album “El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo,” the first video off Raka Dun’s (“El Negrito Dun Dun”) side of the project, “No Tan Listo” drops on the eve of a nationwide tour with internationally renowned reggae group SOJA (dates here).  The album will be released on Los Rakas’ label, Soy Raka.

Standing strong like a lion,” Raka Dun (pronounced “Doon”) calls out to a world that “ain’t ready” for the duo’s fresh take on hip-hop, dancehall, pop and experimental music in both English and Spanish. The video features Los Rakas in their native Oakland, California with Raka Dun – alongside Raka Rich and the Raka family – giving us raw Raka lyricism, ushering a new era of American rap and introducing the #SoyRaka movement worldwide!

Los Rakas have been busy since their homegrown label Soy Raka released “Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada” hitting #1 on iTunes Reggaeton/Latin Hip-Hop chart in 2011. The Los Rakas logo – Raka Smiley – is now on a special-edition Puma sneaker available at West Coast chain “Shoe Palace.” The brand collaborated with Modelo Especial and Complex Magazine for a fan-driven contest called the “Blank Canvas Project.” Up & coming artists (including Joel Ortiz) designed special edition Puma’s and fans voted on their favorite designs, with Los Rakas winning the competition due to overwhelming fan support.

1_1214445061_puma_losrakas_fb_banner


Raka Puma: Available at Shoe Palace!

 

Besides being the first independent group to have their group logo on a major brand sneaker, the group has continued to put out a healthy dose of singles & videos to their rapidly growing network of international fans – called the “Raka Nation” – while building notoriety for their wildly energetic live shows. Making their Mexico debut in 2011 at Festival NRML and consequently at 2012’s Corona Capital Festival in Mexico City, Los Rakas have been expanding their movement to South America. The group has also played on national tours like Collie Buddz’s “Dark & Stormy Tour” in Fall 2012, while debut headlining in cities like Miami, Austin, DC, Boston and continuing to sell-out shows in Los Angeles and their native Bay Area.

Watch a Clip of Los Rakas Sold-Out Show @ SF Independent: http://youtu.be/mS7GzPE_Z28

The group’s most recent video, the “sexy and blunted” (Village Voice) “Bien Ribetiao,” garnered homepage placement on VEVO in Summer 2012. The song was off Raka Rich’s mixtape “El Flow Californiano: Mixtape Vol. 1.” Rich told AOL Spinner: “The style has never been done in Spanish, so we wanted to do it really well and visually have it rep all our styles being born in Panama and raised in The Bay.”  A few months later, SPIN Magazine premiered the “evocative and immediate” collaboration with Caribbean clothing line RepJA – “Hablemos Del Amor” – a call to peace and ode to the young lives lost too soon like Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Panamanian artist El Kid and others.  Los Rakas cam be seen making a cameo in just released video “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, shot on a pirate ship in the Bay Area – the video premiered on MTV last week.

Los Rakas music has been featured recently in two episodes of FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy‘ and HBO Latino’s ‘Sr. Ávila, 1ª Temporada.’

With “El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo,” the group presents a cohesive album in two discs exploring the sounds and textures of their bi-cultural twist on the globally urban Raka-sound. During a recent interview with MTV Iggy, when asked about the album’s was two discs, Raka Dun explained, “It was organic, we didn’t really plan it like that. We were each working on releasing solo projects. So we sat down and were like, ‘Let’s just release them at the same time.’‘” 

On what to expect from the release, Raka Rich continued, “Dun’s side of the album is like a documentary. It’s a little more personal. The sound of the album is like dancehall reggae with hip-hop, experimental, with a little bit of jazz and soul. My side is called ‘Ricardo’ – it’s more about partying and nightlife. The sound of the CD is like Michael Jackson, ‘90s, uptempo music, feel-good stuff.”

To kick off the release of brand new music, Los Rakas will tour with SOJA across the US beginning in San Diego on Wednesday, April, 24th, traveling up through California to the Pacific Northwest. The tour continues midwest towards Chicago, with a pit-stops in Miami for the Latin Billboards and Austin for the Pachanga Latino Music Festival alongside Latin American greats like Intocable and the young electronic group out of Mexico, 3BallMTY – then back up to New York to play Webster Hall and ending in Boston on May 19th. This summer, the group will return to the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) where they won the “Discovery Artist” prize in 2010 – taking the stage at NYC’s most famous outdoor stage, Summerstage – alongside Tego Calderon.


TOUR DATES: www.losrakas.com/events

San Diego, Ca – Wed, April 24th – House of Blues – http://bit.ly/15nn688

Los Angeles, Ca – Fri, April 26th – Club Nokia – http://bit.ly/XlKBw2

San Francisco, Ca – Sat, April 27th – Warfield Theatre – http://bit.ly/17yL8cX

Eugene, OR – Sun, April 28th – McDonald Theater – http://bit.ly/10oF897

Seattle, WA – Tues, April 30th – Showbox SODO – http://bit.ly/ZahI4K

Boise, ID – Wed, May 1st – Knitting Factory Concert House –  http://tktwb.tw/15pE0Tn

Salt Lake City, UT – Thurs, May 2nd – The Depot – http://bit.ly/10oFsoo

Fort Collins, CO – Fri, May 3rd – Hodi’s Halfnote – http://bit.ly/Z7Csem

Denver, CO – Sat, May 4th – Ogden Theatre – http://bit.ly/ZairD3

Omaha, NE – Tues, May 7th -The Waiting Room Lounge – http://bit.ly/13n85z8

Minneapolis, MN – Wed, May 8th – First Avenue – http://bit.ly/179lA7Q

Madison, WI – Thurs, May 9th – Capitol Theater – http://bit.ly/XdjBLZ

Chicago, IL – Fri, May 10th – House of Blues Chicago – http://bit.ly/ZEX0FF

Austin, TX – Sat, May 11th – Pachanga Latino Music Festival – http://bit.ly/ZjZF9c

New York, NY – Fri, May 17th – Webster Hall – http://bit.ly/YAL9Jo

Philadelphia, PA – Sat, May 18th – Electric Factory – http://bit.ly/ZyGhrz

Boston, MA – Sun, May 19th – House of Blues – http://bit.ly/WNMFcd

Petaluma, CA – Fri, May 31st – Mystic Theatre – http://ticketf.ly/105bjDj

New York City, NY – Wed, July 10th – Summerstage (LAMC) – http://bit.ly/11wfo7P

For more information about Los Rakas: Nati@LosRakas.com
To book Los Rakas: Thomas@IneffableMusic.com 

 

#SoyRaka | #RakaNation | #ElNegritoDunDun | #Ricardo
@LosRakas on Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

ABOUT LOS RAKAS:
Los Rakas is comprised of cousins Raka Rich & Raka Dun, pioneering Panamanians by way of the Bay Area on the frontier of a new Latin urban sound.  Known for their fresh mix of Hip-Hop, Plena, Reggae and Dancehall music with both Spanish and English lyricism, Los Rakas represent the cutting edge of Pan-American flows. Taking their name from the Panamanian word “Rakataka” – a negative slur used to describe someone from the ghetto – Los Rakas have set out to both inspire fellow “Rakas” by empowering them, and to become successful despite their circumstances, turning the current Latin hip-hop world on its head. Los Rakas make music born of migration and tradition, critique and celebration, joy and pain. They make New World music. American music. Panamanian Jamaican Californian music. Music for b-boys and rude girls, dancers and romancers, mainlanders and islanders and isthmus folk alike, which continues to bubble one “Raka” at a time.

SXSW: Zuzuka Poderosa and Los Rakas in Austin

Los Rakas and Zuzuka Poderosa — artists that I’ve worked with and am a HUGE fan of, will be in Austin, Texas, next week for South By Southwest (SXSW)! Here are the details:

SHOWCASE: Listen GlobalAct Local

FRIDAY || 3/15/13 || 1 PM – 8 PM

Free. All ages. No wristbands/badges required.


Kenny Dorhman’s Backyard
1106 East 11th St, Austin, Texas 78702

More than just another party, the Listen Global. Act Local. showcase is Sol Collective’s second annual meet-up for musicians, artists, activists and creatives. Listen Global. Act Local. unites premiere acts from all corners of the globe to give something back to the Austin community. “With over a million people coming into Austin for South by Southwest, we really wanted to connect with local community and support the city’s creative projects” explains Estella Sanchez, Director of the Sol Collective Arts and Cultural Center in Sacramento.

Listening global means a lineup of some of the heaviest hitters in the global music movement including A Tribe Called Red, Los Rakas, Mandeep Sethi, Sonora, World Hood, Zuzuka Poderosa, Las Cafeteras, Chorizo Funk, Sapient, El Indio, and DLRN.

All info: http://on.fb.me/Xkdt5u

More about the artists >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
LOS RAKAS
“Already known as mixtape wizards before they started recording their own songs, Los Rakas concocts a bilingual gumbo from the Caribbean musical diaspora of Jamaican dance hall, reggaeton and reggae, stiffened with straight short of hip-hop and R&B.” –LA Times
“Their politics are refreshingly evident but subterranean to pop dazzle.  Hide your teenage daughters from their energetic live show. –
Village Voice

Los Rakas website: http://www.losrakas.com
Latest video “Bien Ribetiao“: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDQIBZixZVI

ZUZUKA PODEROSA
“Baile funk flipped inside-out.” – SPIN
“Not only is she bringing her own brand of the hot Brazilian underground sound to the rest of the world, but from her international vantage point she operates like a provocatively rhyming hurricane, sucking up global riddims from ghettotech to dancehall and flinging them back out at gale-force speeds.” – MTV 

Zuzuka’s new “Carioca Bass” EP in Fact Magazine: http://bit.ly/UAbFnk
Zuzuka’s new video, “Seda” in Spin Magazine: http://bit.ly/Wiwxix