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9 Recent Singles You Must Listen To from Puerto Rico’s Indie Hip-Hop Music Scene

In recent years, the Puerto Rican independent art scene has been thriving, and one of the genres to see advancement and success has been hip-hop. While the art form has been in the island since the 1980s, it never really reached mainstream success until the sub-genre of reggaeton, also known as regueton, captured the attention of audiences everywhere making it an unstoppable force. As of recent, the sub-genre to gain fame has been trap, but original sounds like boom-bap rap and freestyling alongside the trap/alternative r&b fusion have also found their spot unto listeners’ ears. While artists like Residente continue to fuse hip-hop with world music and Bad Bunny pushing Latin trap forward in the United States, others on the island continue to find their sound and try to make the genre they love more acceptable within the boundaries of the mainstream. Thus, without further ado, here are a few recent singles you should check out from artists keeping hip-hop moving in the “Island of Enchantment.”

 

“On Fire” by Jib Da’ Mist feat. Varez

A short trap track by a boom-bap rap veteran, “On Fire” features Jib Da’ Mist, previously known as Jibaro Da’ Mist, displaying his lyrical abilities alongside Varez over a Savage Minds produced beat that will make anyone want to head bang and jump. Though the tune displays fantastic production and knows its identity as a party track, it also manages to explore the theme of trust while showing the type of ego one must have in the trap sub-genre. However, this does not keep the track from having its flaws. “On Fire” could have  been a little longer, perhaps an extra minute for the listener to continue head banging. However, that probably isn’t a flaw of the musicians, but rather a product of the current landscape of the industry where, in many occasions, in order to have a banger tune, songs need to be short so that they can be streamed more often. Nevertheless, “On Fire” is a great addition to anyone’s party playlist.

 

Listen to “On Fire” on Soundcloud here

(cover art for the single)

 

“Piscolabis” by Salmista López

An aggressive lyrical boom bap single, “Piscolabis” featuring Salmista López  implores people to be conscious and to not let themselves be dragged down by life’s pressures be they politicians, people living a negative lifestyle, or even the media. Furthermore, López puts himself out there by providing a bit of his own experience with said elements. Moreover, he invites people to be real and to use hip-hop as a tool to express their realities as well as love. In the end, the rapper tells the audience that if all fails, God will always be there for support. López’s latest single is another example of the diversity within hip-hop, as it demonstrates that while many stay inside the entertainment side of the business, there are still those who practice the classic boom bap and lyrical roots of the genre while bringing a religious point of view.

 

Listen to “Piscolabis” on Spotify and on YouTube

(cover art for “Psicolabis”)

 

“Mochilero” by Yartzi MC “El Cacique del Free”

Much like Fico Rodz’s “Turista”, Yartzi MC’s “Mochilero” features the rapper presenting himself as a lover of travelling while also imploring listeners to explore the world, which he justifies by stating multiple times how much he has learned, the amount of inspiration he has gained, and all the fun he’s had in his adventures. Moreover, with “Mochilero”, Yartzi MC  wants listeners to enjoy life to the fullest. While choosing an upbeat, energetic, and infectious boom-bap beat to fully display his lyrical abilities is a fantastic choice by “El Cacique del Free”, Yartzi MC also manages to experiment a bit by singing the chorus, a brave move by any rapper who heavily relies on freestyling his raps. In sum, Yartzi MC’s “Mochilero” is a fantastic track for anybody’s adventuring or inspirational playlist.

 

Listen to “Mochilero” on Spotify here

(cover art for the single)

 

“No Saben Na” by Mike Rodz

A freestyle over the beat to Action Bronson’s “Miss Fordham Road (86’ 87’ 88)” from the Statik Selektah produced album Well-Done, Mike Rodz’s latest track is a fantastic musical oxymoron. Featuring a laid-back salsa influenced boom-bap beat and a fast-paced lyrical attack by the Cayey rapper, “No Saben Na” is a display of Rodz’s rapping ability where he touches on themes of determination and inspiration by mentioning a few experiences of his past, present, and what he wants in the future. While the tune is a great entry that regular hip-hop fans will grasp, casual listeners might have a hard time understanding every word that the young MC lets loose. Another element that might potentially scare away some spectators is the freestyle nature of the track. Hip-hop aficionados won’t have a problem with this, but for those who might not be accustomed to this sub-genre of rap might not enjoy how improvised and fast-paced the content is being sprinkled around the track. However, they might get attached to the infectious Rodz chorus and the original Statik Selektah beat. “No Saben Na” is yet another display of Mike Rodz’s hunger to be on top of the rap game.

 

Listen to “No Saben Na” on Soundcloud and YouTube

(cover art for the freestyle)

 

“Un Poeta Más” by Carly Musa

A ballad rapped over a simple piano beat, Carly Musa’s “Un Poeta Más”  presents a story where he displays his lyrical rap abilities while exploring the themes of inspiration and passion as triggered by love. A clear dedication to a loved one, Musa fully puts himself out there, going as far as singing the chorus. However, this is where the single suffers a bit. While Musa’s bravery and heart is in full front, he could have featured a singer to do the track’s chorus and made it an even better product. Nevertheless, Musa’s decision to sing it himself shows courage and introspection, aspects that many artists are afraid to do in today’s music.

 

Listen to “Un Poeta Más” on Spotify here

(cover art for the re-mastered single)

 

“Luz” by Cyborg A.O.S.

Fueled by an aggressive beat and even harder lyrical delivery, “Luz” by Arecibo rapper Cyborg A.O.S. raps about his purpose in life to motivate those who live in a state of constant struggle and doubt , to the point where he is willing to sacrifice himself for those in need. Moreover, he states that we all come from one common place: the light. Furthermore, Cyborg A.O.S. mentions how he is one of the best rappers out right now and he demonstrates it with ability to rap in both Spanish and English while maintaining his hard-hitting flow. While many might not give rappers with some sort of religious background a chance, I believe this track might change many people’s minds.

 

Listen to “Luz” on Spotify here and watch the video on YouTube

(cover for “Luz”)

 

“Ineadecuados” by Cyborg A.O.S.

Starting off with a sample  of “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, Cyborg A.O.S.’ latest boom bap single “Inadecuados” addresses the mental and physical struggles people face and overcome every day in that process of self-empowerment and acceptance. Using a much more laid back lyrical delivery, Cyborg A.O.S. manages to display another flow from his arsenal while delivering a inspiring message for those who need a bit of motivation to continue.

 

Listen to “Inadecuados” on Spotify here

(art for “Inadecuados”)

 

“Tropicana” by José Yellow

Recently being featured in FOKINFROID’s “Super Soltero”, José Yellow continues to demonstrate his hunger for success in this latest dub-influenced trap joint where he shows his love for women, sex, success, and Tropicana as he manages to intertwine all these elements in a mixture of similes and metaphors. Short and to the point, Yellow’s latest track is a banger that will have listeners bobbing their heads and dancing. Much like “On Fire” by Jib Da’ Mist and Varez, this tune is another great add to anyone’s party playlist.

 

Listen to “Tropicana” on Spotify and Soundcloud

(cover for “Tropicana” by Boldestrou)

 

“Será Igual” by Joyce Santana feat. Deborah Blues

An alternative R&B track with some lyrical rap elements, “Será Igual” features Joyce Santana rapping about heartache, broken relationships, and the aftermath of said acts. With a minimalist yet detailed beat by producers Kyoshi Reyes, Young Martino, and Young Class, Santana and Deborah Blues show their ear for a good beat where they can express their points of views on the previously mentioned topics. “Será Igual” is another example of Santana and Blues’ great collaborative efforts while also demonstrating that 2018 will be a great year for them.

 

Listen to “Será Igual” on Soundcloud here

(cover art for “Será Igual” by Alberto Fernz)

 

Fernando E. E. Correa González is the author behind over 20 self-published poetry books. He has been published by literary magazines & journals [Id]entidad, El Vicio del Tintero, Sábanas Magazine, Smaeralit and Tonguas. Other than writing, Correa is also a filmmaker, podcaster, photographer and master’s student. He currently lives in his native Puerto Rico.
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