Latino Music Essay

1848 words - 7 pages

I have grown up listening to Hip-Hop just as I did listening to my mother’s blaring Bachata and Merengue every Sunday morning and from what I can recall, the artists I primarily listened to were black, or Eminem. The only Spanish rappers I did listen to were Reggaeton artists, meaning I did not listen to many predominately English speaking Latino rappers. This revelation of my early musical tastes begs the question as to why I was not exposed to more Latino rappers during the late nineties and early millennium. In learning about how Latino’s have participated within the realm of Hip-Hop, one learns that allow Latino’s have played a major role in its foundations, the call for a strong identity has emerged due to various group’s rejections of the Latino presence.
In order to understand the distinct contributions of Latinos in regards to Hip Hop and how they have been taken advantage of and such, one must be aware of the areas of Latino influence within the genre over the years. Many early Hip-hop jams, which began to emerge during the late sixties and seventies, were held in primarily Hispanic areas around New York City, such as Spanish Harlem and other neighborhoods (Barco 65). From early on, Latino participation, especially Puerto Rican, spanned various areas, including rap, graffiti, b-boying, breakdancing, as well as being the active listener and performer (Flores, Recapturing History, 63-65). Puerto Ricans in particular have always had a special connection with Hip-Hop in which they were “using rap as a vehicle for affirming their history, language, and culture”, thus making Hip-Hop history theirs as well (Flores, Puerto Rocks 90, 103). When it is said that Hip-Hop history is Puerto Rican history as well, it is suggested that it is also another group’s, namely African-American history. Although Hip-Hop is primarily referred to as being a black musical creation and “as the creation of African-Americans”, both ethnic groups share a history of collaborating together both in positive and negative ways (as will be discussed later). African-American acceptance of Latino culture stems largely from similar experiences of prejudice and shared African roots. In addition, black hip-hop has included various Latino elements, illustrating growing acceptance and integrations between both parties. Various elements present in black hip-hop include Spanglish lyrics, rumba rhythms (Morales 300-301), and the celebration and desire for a Latina woman, who shares similar physique to African-American women (Rivera 131-132). In examining Latino Hip-Hop history, an overall theme of inclusion and exclusion emerges, where Latinos are included if they provide something desirable and marketable and excluded due to their ethnicity. Because of this, the need to affirm Latin identity becomes a necessity in order to solidify the Latino presence within the genre.
Latino rap takes on the Latin American experience and builds upon to tell poetic stories of pride,...

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