Puerto Rican rappers sing on social illsJuly 3rd, 2011 - 12:46 pm ICT by IANS
San Juan, July 3 (IANS/EFE) Rap singers in Puerto Rico are now using their songs to highlight social problems faced by the island in Central America.
Rappers like Residente, Omar Garcia and MC Siete-Nueve sometimes denounce the government and the drug-trade-fueled surge of crimes.
Residente, also known as Rene Perez, said the relationship between rap and social questions “should be very close”.
However, US rappers, he said, no longer write protest songs.
“They have good rhyme, while some don’t, but they don’t talk about anything. And that is a problem,” he said.
Residente has enjoyed international success with songs like “Pal’ Norte” about the treatment of Mexican immigrants in the US, “El hormiguero”, which decries militarism , and “Los de atras vienen conmigo”, lamenting the state of poverty in Latin America.
Omar Garcia - once known as OMG - helped blaze a trail for rap in Puerto Rico in the 1990s.
He said rappers, unlike singers in other genres, “communicate things as they are”.
“The rapper opens his mouth and says what he says, just as it is said. The problem that appears is born from the same thing: from the lack of education, empathy and solidarity,” Garcia said.
“There are artists who don’t have the gift, or who don’t like, to write about social issues, yet they do have the responsibility and the power of drawing attention,” he said.
MC Siete-Nueve, the Puerto Rico-born son of Dominican parents, is an outspoken advocate of independence for the island and a bitter critic of Puerto Rico’s continued colonial status.
In 2008, he sang “Quedate callao”, blasting Puerto Rican reggae star Daddy Yankee for campaiging on behalf of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
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