Tag Archives: conscious hiphop

Latin Protest Anthem Nominated For A Grammy While Cuba Cracks Down On Dissidents

Patria o muerte (translated homeland or death) is a saying that was born in communist, revolutionary times in Cuba. For over six decades, the authoritarian regime on this Caribbean island has held a firm hand over its citizens which has resulted in many people looking to other countries for a more positive life or being exiled for their words or actions.

See also: Freemuse X Shouts Artist’s Voice: Cuban Visual Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara

Many artists have faced severe oppression by the regime in recent years but that does not stop them from using their voices and talents to try to bring attention to the tyranny their people face on a daily basis.

Since its release in February, the rap song Patria y Vida, has accumulated over 9 million views on YouTube and become somewhat of an anthem for people in Cuba and all over Latin America. The rap hit was recorded in Miami (the home to an enormous exiled Cuban population), by a group of artists, some of whom are currently living in exile.

The song title is a more positive take on the before mention saying and part of its lyrics read: “We are artists, we are sensitivity/The true story, not the wrong one/We are the dignity of a whole people trampled on/At gunpoint and with words that are still nothing”.

See also: Rapper Maykel Osorbo and Visual Artist Luis Manuel Otéro Arbitrarily Detained In Cuba

The song has helped motivate the Cuban people to stand up and raise their voices for a more equal and just society. In an unprecedented event in July this year, great masses of people took to the streets in protest, an collective act that was not possible in past years.

The song also pays tribute to the San Isidro movement, a response to state censorship of artistic works: “They broke our door/they violated our temple/and the world is aware that the San Isidro Movement is still in position”. The current president has called this movement (as well as the rap song) unpatriotic and for it to be crushed.

Now, as fuel to protest fire, Patria y Vida has been nominated for a Latin Grammy award, an achievement that is sure to help keep the torch of protest going for some time (Update: on Thursday night the song won Song of the Year at the Latin Grammy Awards!).


Homeboy Sandman Goes Off On New Single ‘No Beef’

On the contrary to the title of the song, Homeboy Sandman does have a beef. This time it is directed, kindly and cleverly, against those who insist on continuing to eat tortured meat and those who apathetically and stubbornly turn a blind eye to the horrors that hide underneath their plates.

The song, which is produced by Sandman’s long-time collaborator Aesop Rock, is off of his new EP, Anjelitu, which drops very, very hard beats and comic rhymes about the strange society we live in.

Sandman explains in the song how every aspect of his life, physical and mental, has improved after turning to plant-based food, and humorously he points out certain hypocrisy in meat lovers’ arguments: “Don’t argue with me about protein/It makes me think you can’t read/This is not 12 B.C/There is B12 in seaweed”.

Sandman continues:

“It’s been said that everyone’d be vegan if slaughterhouses were made of glass
But I’m afraid the reason for it is even more sordid: Slaughterhouses are made of cash”

Homeboy Sandman’s Angelitu EP is out now on Music Mello Group.

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Song Of The Day: Shouting At The Wall By MC Abdul (Video)

The conflict that has been going between Palestine and Israel has quite a long story. Opinions about it are diverse and the whole thing is complicated.

At the end of the day, there are people living in these war zones. Each and every day their lives are affected by the nonsense decisions of a few people. No one should have to live like this. Not Palestinians. Not Israelis. No one.

MC Abdul (real name Abdalrahman Alshantti) is a 12 year old artist from Palestine who decided to put his pained thoughts into lyrics and try to reach the outside world and show how life can be in this terrible place.

“I’m exhausted
Last night I couldn’t sleep
And when I did
I could hear bombs in my dreams
nightmare situation
how could they be so evil
making martyrs out of children and innocent people”

It’s fair to say that this young person is doing quite a good job at using his voice to change and affect the world through his art. MC Abdul already has a record deal with Empire, a label and distribution company founded by Palestinian-American Ghazi Shamiand, whose headquarters are in San Francisco, USA.

Hopefully the world can keep learning more about the situation in this part of the world through the beautiful art of this young man.

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