Dominican Hip-Hop on the rise? / by Randy Ortiz

As I sit here semi-fresh of my trip back from Dominican Republic I find something worth mentioning on the amazing rise DR Hip-Hop has taken within the past couple of years... but have doubts of it going any further than my country's backyard. Not everything in art and music has to be profound or dictate a story that wows the artist in us so this isn't a expectation plea for rapperos at all. I am a fan of some of the most nonsensical noise music you may come across but at the same time that I nod my head or dance to it...  after the fun is over something's got to give if you want to have shelf-life or international appeal within a genre to the outside looking in. The majority of rapperos releasing tracks all spit the same filler lyrics and just have club surface appeal, I don't know if it's because they are hungry (food and money) so they want to make a quick hit or if the ones actually caring for the genre are deep inside a cave with no internet connection (could be) and no voice. Some of the artists I like and listen to are Villanosam, El Vakero, Sensato, Mozart La Para... not all with deep lyrical content so it falls into the "For A Good Time" music and that is what I fear.

All I see is a major focus or push to keep boasting about the stereotypical terms that Hip-Hop is known for; which in turn adds nothing to the said loved genre... just the soundtrack to a bumpin street car nada mas. Weed smoking... check, liquor... check, clubbing... check, girls... check, substance or anything that deserves an award (El Casandra in DR) at least for lyrics... no check. If never taken off the glasses of an illusioned child looking at the flashing lights of the rapper with luxurious lifestyle and video vixens how can you take that step beyond? Hip-Hop is the storytelling art/craft that lends to what people goes thru no matter what their world is, but is it really just about clubs, Nuvo and bitches? Yeah I might be a little down because all I see is poor mentality in a culture that is soo deep it puts their asses to sleep, yet all they focus on is the temporary fame that makes it seem there in for a quick buck and not the love. Everything that I've said might be taken as I don't like what they are doing, but it's the total opposite, I like what they are doing however I do know it can be taken a step further so they just don't seem like the flashy hick that knows how to rhyme.

Reading the write-ups at Rafael Brenes 'La Puerta De Cholo' (1, 2 both in Spanish) lets me know that Dominicanos see Hip-Hop has staying power and recognize the talent now but also notice the mentality of those we listen to. The same way I went along with Onyx's 'Throw Ya Gun' is the same way I go with Villanosam's 'El Sapito'... eventually you evolve. There was 'Freaks Come Out At Night' then 'Self Destruction', a glimmer of self consciousness and not all rap evolved into self-indulgence rhymes. Lapiz Conciente is one that comes to mind with the track 'Yo Soy Papa' where he rhymed about the country's state and the slums which was great, but at this point the rest of the stage is full of monkeys and not enough handlers. I have seen and know there is better for Dominican Hip-Hop, I just need for them to step out of the club for a bit and stop wearing shitty Ed Hardy with blinged out sunglasses indoors.

Si Se Puede! ...haha!