Latino hip hop

Latino hip hop is a form of hip hop music developed and performed by Latinos. Latino hip-hop got its start in the mid-1980s after the larger hip-hop scene emerged.

As the Hispanic population, specifically the Puerto Rican-American population, grew drastically in places like California, Texas and Arizona, first- and second-generation kids began to look for a sound that was different from what their parents were listening to, said Khool-Aid, host of a nationally syndicated radio show for Latino hip-hop called "Poco Peros Locos." The genre combines urban rap sounds with lyrics from the barrios, or neighborhoods. Some songs used Spanish slang words, or Spanglish.


Hip hop emerged in the 1970s in New York City and became a form African American musical expression and artistic culture. The emergence of hip hop is often compared to the emergence of boxing because of its strengths, popularity, and culture. Hip hop was used to vocalize events and issues going on in the world or ones personal life, and even though it started off in the African American culture, it became prominent in other communities like the Latino community.

It is believed that hip hop was created in the 1970s however, nobody knows exactly when hip hop was really created. Elements of hip hop have always been around. When the media first noticed hip hop, they learned that it came from the streets of New York. The public's perception of hip-hop is that it is an African American attribute because it was a new form of art for African American.

What many do not know is that the majority of the people who were influenced and later contributed to hip hop were Latinos. Puerto Ricans are MCs’, break dancers like the Rock Steady Crew, and Graffiti artists (Sal Rojas, Brown Pride).

The youth in the streets, who came from one cultures, shaped hip-hop to represent the voice of the people of the streets, and eventually helped hip-hop spread across America, "At its most elemental level hip hop is a product of post—civil rights era America, a set of cultural forms originally nurtured by African American youth in and around New York in the ’70s"(Nelson George, vii).

Most Hip-Hop is used to make change for the better in a world of political and social inequality and discrimination. Even though many believe the black communities started hip-hop it was actually commenced by the youth who needed to express their feelings and those who wanted to take action to better their situations. Hip-hop began in the United States but it has spread all over the world which shows its power to spread and share ideas.

Distinction of Latino hip hopEdit

Hip hop is often used to voice out problems and solution. It has become so huge, diverse, and part of different communities and cultures that many try to create "sub-divisions" and give each aspect of hip hop its own category. However, many argue that hip-hop is united no matter what language or topic it is.

Continued expansionEdit

One such Latino hip hop artist is Jakpot. Jakpot had a very tough childhood. He was born to a Peruvian mother and father who migrated from Peru to New Jersey "on a one-way ticket destined for the American Dream" (

When Jakpot was only five years old, his mom became very ill and died two years later. His father decided to leave New Jersey and take his children to New York with him. In New York their situation did not get any easier. They had no money left because they had spent most of it on medical bills and because of a language barrier the only job Jakpot's dad could obtain was a janitor position.

Jakpot soon began to notice the exploitation his dad went through because he was an immigrant, but, "Jakpot's first brush with the reality of hate crimes against immigrants occurred after his family moved to Patchogue, New York. It was in that Long Island town that Marcelo Lucero, a dry cleaner employee from Ecuador, was murdered simply for being Hispanic" ( At that moment Jakpot felt compelled to speak on behalf of Latinos and immigrants in the United States. He speaks through his hip hop; he expresses the frustration experienced by Latino immigrants who search for a better life in the United States and he wants Americans to please be more accepting and welcoming.

Latino hip hop todayEdit

Like Jakpot who searched for a positive outcome from his music, Los Rakas are two young Panamanian artists who are searching to better a situation through their hip-hop music. Starting from their name they are trying to influence change, "Raka comes from the word Rakataka, it's a Panamanian word. We shortened it to Raka. They used that word to refer to people from the hood, but in a negative way. They would label everyone from the hood Rakataka, you feel me. We took the word and decided to make it positive. Like yeah, we from the community, from the barrio. But a Raka can go to college, and be a businessman, you know. So that was the whole idea" (Los Rakas,

They grew up listening to El General and Nando Boom, and were motivated and inspired by those Latino artists to not give up on their talent or goals to create good change. They describe their music as, "organic [we express] whatever we feel at the moment, its real natural" (Los Rakas, All their music represents the Latino culture particularly the Panamanian culture. They are "talking about the community. The good, the bad and the ugly about the community" (Los Rakas, Los Rakas believe that Panama is becoming more corrupt and violent and they hope to influence the youth through their music to stop taking the wrong path and follow Los Rakas footsteps in following their dreams and becoming successful. Los Rakas have become popular and are admired because even though they left Panama and now reside in the Bay area they have not forgotten their roots and are trying to help their ‘people’ through what they do best: their hip hop music.