With the onslaught of anti-Mexican rhetoric coming out of the US these days, rarely is the progressive and talented side of Mexico showcased to the world. The country’s had its reputation run through the mud in recent times, typically shown as lawless, impoverished and a drain on its northern neighbour.
Certainly, Mexico is not without crime or poverty – cartel violence, corruption and other serious issues are very real that impact on the lives of most Mexicans to at least some degree. But the country has and continues to improve and, along with it, so too does Mexico’s hip-hop, reflecting on current attitudes and the state of the nation.
Mexico’s rap scene is one of the oldest and best-established in the world. Since the 90s, Latin hip-hop and more specifically Mexico’s own personal Chicano rap has been catapulted into the global hip-hop world, influencing artists everywhere from LA to London to Sydney.
Alongside the US, Mexico’s hip-hop scene took to New York old-school, West coast funk and now through to modern-day trap, all while creating their own unique Latin twist.
Since the beginning, Spanish language verses and features by Mexican artists have been increasingly common across English-speaking rap scenes – the reason why is clear. The typical fast and aggressive flow of Mexican hip-hop elevates tracks’ impact and delivers a hard-hitting sound practically every time.
Even if you don’t have a clue what’s being rapped about, the Mexican accent often says enough. But today, the dominance of gangsta rap is loosening and new trends are taking hold. Glorifying the chaos of Mexico’s social issues is no longer the common approach to hip-hop that it used to be, emphasised by the popularity of new and different hip-hop artists.
CARTEL DE SANTA
One of the biggest names on the Mexican scene, Cartel de Santa is a group of seasoned MCs who have been dropping the country’s biggest rap tracks for over two decades. Mixing gangsta rap on hard, hi-hat-filled beats, their music is an easy transition for any fans of US trap.
Hybridising hip-hop with rock and alternative then blending it all with a distinctly Mexican sound, this up-and-coming Mexican outfit bring a conscious approach to an otherwise trap/gangsta-focused scene.
AKWID’s old-school sound clashes with traditional Mexican trumpets and funk beats to produce some unbeatable head-bobbing vibes. Listen to their music and it’s a visceral top-down, driving round Cali experience – check them out.