HIP-HOP AROUND THE WORLD | RAPPING MEXICO
MEXICO CITY — No ice gold. No low riders. No G-strings. Just pure anger.
Hip-hop has been around in Mexico since Chicano rapper Kid Frost dropped his "Hispanic Causing Panic" album in 1990, mixing rhymes in Spanish, English and Spanglish. However, it was mostly an underground scene, confined to basements and house parties, while the clubs played rock and pop.
But last year’s sudden explosion of Puerto Rican reggaeton — that catchy fusion of dance hall reggae, hip-hop and tropical music that has scored a series of international hits — has opened the door for the Mexican rhymers. Now, night clubs in barrios across Mexico have started playing a mix of reggaeton and hip-hop to heaving dance floors.
Rappers here take their inspiration from the United States and Caribbean, but give it a distinctive Mexican twist.
The music is filled with rich Latin sounds such as salsa piano licks and norteno horns in place of the soul and funk samples that drive U.S. rap.
And the lyrics are more socially conscious and political than the "bling bling" talk of wealth and women dominating U.S. hip-hop or the pure party buzz in the Puerto Rican sound. Sociedad Cafe, a crew from one of Mexico City’s toughest barrios, raps about the gun violence plaguing poor neighborhoods, a problem that has given Mexico one of the highest homicide rates in the hemisphere.
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