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“New Day”: Rincón’s Rion Continues to Provide Some Conscious and Introspective Boom-Bap Raps

The Puerto Rican independent art scene is one to bring many voices. However, when it comes to hip-hop, there are many voices that decide to focus on strictly rapping in Spanish, allowing a few times to bring English into the lyrics. This at times can feel a bit elitist, but it comes with a justifiable reason. When it comes to the roots of Puerto Rican hip-hop, the balance is very thin between the origins of hip-hop in New York, where Boricuas had their fair share in the genre’s inception, and the sound that was eventually developed in Latin American countries. However, this shouldn’t stop us as a community from allowing certain voices from expressing themselves and contributing to the movement’s catalogue just because the artist behind the music doesn’t strictly rap in Spanish. Here is where Ryan Martin, known as Rion by the hip-hop community, comes in. He’s a rapper who, in most of his songs, will rap in English, but will incorporate tropical and Caribbean sounds as well as Spanish lyrics from his companions. Recently, the Rincón rapper released his album, New Day, a fitting name for such a project as it was released after the events of Hurricane Maria on January 1st, 2018, kicking this new year on a positive note.


(cover art for New Day)


An introspective album at heart, Rion’s New Day is a project that sees the artist spreading love, consciousness, and positive energy while telling stories about his life. Take for example the song “New Day”, where he raps about the experience of having his new child, or the track “For the Sky,” featuring Mayaguez artist Alexandra “Sandy” Muniz, where he tells listeners to always look up to the sky and reach for the best even in times of adversity. In addition, in the tune “Work,” he and fellow Rincón rap veteran Chagy Vargas share the message behind the importance of working and being educated in order to have a better life, be it personal or external. Rion continues to explore similar topics like these in other songs like “Shape That Future,” another tune about working hard for a better world; “Make The Time,” a track about balancing time to enjoy life; and “Hold Tight,” a boom-bap beat where he raps a series of short stories connected by the theme of time and enjoying it while you have it and “Dream.”


(Alexandra “Sandy” Muniz is one of the most featured singers in New Day)


However, it isn’t only the lyrical content that makes up for introspection and taking positive action. While at its core the album is a boom-bap rap project, Rion makes sure to take advantage of the many sounds that make the soundtrack of his surroundings and, in doing so, he manages to show his reggae, jazz, and Caribbean influences. For example, in the song “For The Sky,” he displays some of his appreciation for tropical and Caribbean sounds. Meanwhile in “GMBS,” which features Manny from the Rincón rock band The Disfunction, he is able to demonstrate some of his reggae inspirations. Moreover, in a track like “Hold Tight,” he continues to show his love for Caribbean sounds and manages to mix them up with some jazz.


(picture of Chagy Vargas, left, and Rion, right, as found on Rion’s Facebook page)


Rion’s New Day is a fine example of some of Puerto Rico’s diverse voices in the independent hip-hop scene. Not only is he a musician who mostly raps in English, but he is one who can appreciate the diverse music Puerto Rico has to offer by displaying his love for reggae and jazz as well as tropical and Caribbean sounds, all while providing some introspective and conscious rhymes that help you appreciate life and look at it from a new perspective.


Listen to Rion’s New Day on SoundCloud


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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