At first it was the rap that moved Isnay Rodríguez - best known in the world of alternative music as Dj Jigüe - and only later, with the creation of the production company Guámpara music, did this incredible electronic artist began to mix musical creation with production. From there, he produced Golpe Seko brothers, the award-winning record of the Santiago duo Golpe Seko, as well as his own album, Metamorphosis. The rich African, Caribbean and Cuban heritage, together with the popular slang and the sounds of the neighborhood, are the irreplaceable ingredients of his creations. A combination that they have called the "Guámpara Sound" is undoubtedly a touch of freshness and originality for Cuban hip hop.
From reggae to soul, passing through several urban subgenres, Kamerum is the lively representation of the sound that promotes the production company, Guámpara Music. Kamerum blends sounds and themes from the Caribbean, Santiago de Cuba and America in general to create and produce for other artists. The year 2004 saw him born as part of the Sentimiento Rapero project and later as a member of the community project called G12K. His first album, which is currently in the works, is called Fe de Barrio, and is dubbed a "poetics of the neighborhood"— a summary of his career to date. On AfroRazones, Kamerum produced for other artists, was on his own track and mixed and mastered the full album.
Although he currently only gets onstage when he feels a strong need to express himself, before entering the world of production, El Prófugo served as an MC in the early 2000s. His first beats saw the light with his first songs, and thus began his career as a producer, making the music against wind and tide, "because it really bounces." With influences directly from North American music, El Prófugo also works with classical music, rock and roll, jazz and Cuban rhythms, many of which are extract directly from his vinyl collection, a truly original touch in his creations.
It's safe to say that from 2004 to the present, a good part of Cuban hip hop is signed by El Lápiz. Working with the group, Article 53 from Santa Cruz del Norte, was his premiere as a producer, a career that has been added emblematic names such as Al2 el Aldeano, El B, Randy Acosta, Danay Suárez, Bárbaro el Urbano, and Etián Breba-G Man, among many others. His creations, marked by the heavy bass, are directly influenced by American rap and reggae. He is currently producing the solo album by Darwin Borrach, member of duo, Golpe Seko, as well as the latest album by rapper, Soandry.
Dj Drew first became involved in the world of music production in 2008 in a small recording studio. He began producing for reggaeton artists before being linked to the world of hip hop and, later, electronic music. From there, he has worked with several artists of these genres in Cuba: Company Yoruba, La Reyna and La Real, Etian Breba-G man and Raudel of Patriotic Squadron, just to name a few. With Luz de Cuba he recently recorded the album Tinta y pentagrama, an exquisite mix of hip hop, electronic and spokenword. His musical influences, mostly North American, are molded in his creations to bring them closer to his Yoruba roots.
HIP HOP AND R&B ARTISTS
Although Rafael “El Individuo” had accomplished several independent projects before, it’s the group, Con100cia, that he’s been a part of since 2009, which forms his style as an MC in the urban world of the island. He is set apart by his obstinate resolution to send a message and to invite reflection of the issues that contaminate society. At the moment he experiments with other genres like the jazz, with other artists including Alberto Lescay. His art and his music are based on the conviction of not having the absolute truth, but his own truth, the result of his own experience as a citizen and artist. This is what he conveys through his music.
Committed initially to experimentation, Sigrid went through several genres before indulging in neosoul, merging it with traditional Cuban rhythms, which she carried in her veins from an early formation thanks to a family of musicians. A band formed by bass, drums, saxophone and piano, with occasional accompanying voices, gives life to the themes this singer defends through a beautiful voice and a particular style of interpretation. In her songs, contemporary R&B, soul, rap, jazz, son, and filin are intertwined. It represents, without doubts, an interesting project within the alternative scene of the country.
Director and vocalist of the Company Yoruba group, which she founded along with producer and vocalist Ashlie Garcia in 2003, Rositika is an artist who makes rap fusion with other musical rhythms such as folklore, reggae, dubstep, son, and electronic music to create her own style. Part of her work is also related to ancient sounds, with which she achieves a more contemporary seal without losing essence. Costumes, accessories and dance and an excellent stage are all key parts of Company Yoruba’s performances.
La Reyna y La Real
After each forming independent careers, La Reyna and La Real appeared as a duo in 2012, taking the female voice of hip hop on the island to another level. The daily lives of women, that is, life itself from their own experiences exist in their songs with funny lyrics but not far from the reflection. With tremendous strength and not a lot of sensitivity, this duo explodes rap fusion with jazz, electronic music, reggae, blues, salsa, son, and other genres. On the stage they are a beautiful provocation— a defiance.
Despite not having grown up in a hip hop neighborhood that was too popular, Mutila managed to start a career - still budding as a rapper. His lyrics, always on social themes, respond to his philosophy in front of music: he sees rap a tool to express himself, where words acquires their greatest splendor and can reach people and make them think. A lover and defender of oldschool rap, some of the tracks from his album, Uno + (2010), were included in volumes I and II of the compilation of Cuban rap by El Profugo. In Mutila’s own words, his career has been like lightning: suddenly light and then darkness. Just a start.
Positivo is a rapper committed to himself, to music and the people since he discovered that through his lyrics of social content, he could convey a positive message of self-improvement and faith. He began as an MC in 2002, as a member of the group, Manigua, with whom he recorded a year later the album En el monte. In 2007, he continued as a solo artist which he is to this day. His philosophy as an artist is based on the firm belief that the best way to break down the barriers that preordain our dreams is to destroy the barriers of the mind.
Etian Brebaje Man
Singular chronicler of hard daily life, Etian Brebaje Man jumped into the Cuban alternative scene from the celebrated Alamar festivals in Havana and, over time, has shaped rap with other rhythms, collaborating with emblematic Cuban bands like Interactivo. His origins are linked to the group Supremo Explosión - disintegrated in 2008 - and his album Poco Bonito, which was recorded independently, has been defined by him as "a cry of self love." In the album you can listen to a daring artist, fierce defender of the urban movement and human values. Live, he is undoubtedly a great show— a unique performance.
From the very same Alamar, birthplace of important exponents of the urban movement, arrived Renovación Urbana on stage in 2013. It's a project composed by Baniel Roche Corzo (director) and Yaimel Camps López (vocalist), which injects a dose of Cuban hip hop and dynamiticism that distinguishes them both in their recordings and on stage. They try, above all, to take music to other levels and to reflect the public - all types of public, they assert - with messages that rooted from their own experiences. The lyrics of their songs and the connection that they achieve in their performances create a combination with great power that make the most of each presentation.
The musical heritage that the Caribbean has given to Cuba, together with the African roots, breathe in each one of the themes created by Yissi Calibre, member with Darwin Borrach of duo Golpe Seko. Together, they have achieved a sound mix that includes traditional Cuban music, jazz and reggae, which distinguishes the rap made in her native Santiago de Cuba. About fifteen years after joining the Cuban urban movement, they premiered in 2016 the album Golpe Seko Brothers, produced by Dj Jigüe under the label Guámpara Music. Yissi is a rapper who advocates for women's rights in hip hop, music in general, and also love without barriers.
SPOKEN WORD ARTISTS