The Mean Machine (rap group)

The Mean Machine was a rap group composed of Puerto Ricans who rapped in both English and Spanish. They are known for the single "Disco Dream", released as a 12" 33 RPM single in 1981 on the Sugar Hill Records label. In 1986, they recorded a single called "At The Party" on the Honey Hush label.[1] The group is often cited as the first bilingual rap group, and is possibly the first ever Latin hip hop group.[2]

From Left to Right: Mr. Schick (Daniel Rivera Jr.), Jimmy Mac (James McLean), Cool Cliff (Clifford Santiago) and DJ Julio (Steven Santiago)


The best description of the group is one written (at least partially) by a former group member. "The Mean Machine went through a few members in the late 70s, before settling to the final four members at the end of 1979. About a year and a half later, they were knocking on the doors of Sugar Hill Records and auditioning for Sylvia Robinson and her crew. They rapped in both English and in Spanish making them one of the first bilingual rap groups around. Sylvia loved the idea of making a bilingual rap record and released their first single "Disco Dream" in the summer of 1981. Some of D.J. Julio's lyrics used on the track were actually borrowed from Son of Sam of the Harlem World Crew with his permission. Hispanics all over the country went crazy over the group when they heard Spanish rap for the first time. This of course lead to the opening of doors to Latin America. The group was shelved by Sugar Hill following a radio interview they did with Frankie Crocker at New York’s WBLS. One of the members said something about the label that didn’t sit well. Later the group went on to record some songs under the Honey Hush Label. Jimmy Mac died and so did Cool Cliff may they rest in peace. We also had another person join the group after the recording of Disco Dream who went by the name of Butch Kid. D.J. Julio is now living in Florida, and Mr. Schick is living in South Carolina. Butch Kid lives in Brooklyn N.Y."


  • DJ Julio (Steven Santiago)
  • Jimmy Mac (James McLean)
  • Mr. Nice (Jose Semprit)
  • Mr. Schick (Daniel Rivera Jr.)
  • Butch Kid (Roman Barksdale)
  • Cool Cliff (Clifford Santiago)


  1. ^ "Mean Machine, The Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-02-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Murray, Forman; Mark Anthony Neal (2004). That's the joint!: the hip-hop studies reader. Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 0-415-96919-0. Retrieved 2009-04-07. Back in 1981 the group Mean Machine came out with the first recorded Spanish rhymes in their "Disco Dream," a side that deeply impressed some of the present-day Latino rappers like Mellow Man Ace and Latin Empire ... CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)