As Puerto Rico’s indie music scene continues to grow and expand, more artists are gravitating towards electronic and experimental sounds to deliver something different. One of these artists is Guabágeuse who last year managed to present Colonoised, a reflection on the concept of colonization through noise and ambient music.
Kicking off Colonoised is “Collective D(h)aze,” a surreal, ambient noise experience that will surely provide headtrips. Afterwards, we are taken into the pounding “Hirudo,” a track that puts listeners right in the middle of the violence involved in colonization. Then, one is provided “Flambé,” an electronic noise number that’ll have some headbanging and others reflecting on a surreal and psychedelic trip.
To start the second half of Colonoised, Guabágeuse presents “Locust Swarm,” a noise and 8-bit blend that captures what it would feel like to be attacked by a swarm of locusts and other insects, in this case serving as a metaphor for the colonization of Puerto Rico. Next, “Protean,” provides yet another surreal experience as it serves as perfect ambient or background music for an insect’s evolutionary period, in this case a metaphor for the chaotic changes the island has gone through. Finally, the project finishes with “Gnosis,” a blend of noise, ambient and electronic music that begs listeners to reflect on the island’s history in order to be knowledgeable and not be fooled by politicians in the future.
As many experimental artists do, Guabágeuse provides thought provoking music that’ll have listeners reflecting as they listen to the unique experience being provided. With Colonoised, the electronic noise musician manages to deliver a project that explores the concept of colonization, but more specifically in his homeland of Puerto Rico while creating surreal and psychedelic images.
Listen to Colonoised on Spotify
2018 was a very active year for the Puerto Rican indie music scene, but while most of the output came from musicians exploring hip hop and its subgenres alongside electronic artists, rock n roll and its many sub-genres also saw a bit of love going their way. One of the many interesting projects to come out last year was Mettaur’s The Solution of Divorce, a project that demonstrated how math rock and pop punk blend so well while giving a bit of life to both sub-genres.
The project kicks off with “In Desperate Need of a Punk Rock GF,” a tune that shows the group exploring the subject of love. Meanwhile, the following track, “All My Friends Are Lesbians,” is one that touches on the themes of love, gender roles and toxic masculinity. The next song, “Sell Your Soul,” follows the math rock experience as the band proclaims one’s identity before selling out. Then, “Carnal Caribbean Lifestyle,” touches on identity once again, but it focuses on one’s insecurities and how one must face them. Afterwards, “Let’s Be Alcoholics,” tells a love story fueled by alcohol and drugs. The following tune, “Seasonal Depression,” explores the topic in the song’s title to the sound of math rock guitars. Next, “Called in Sick,” continues to touch on subjects of introversion, depression and feeling stuck to the blend of math rock and pop punk. Then, “The End is Nigh,” further explores the sound of emo pop punk as the band touches on the subjects of depression, insecurity and suicide. Afterwards, the group blends all of the sounds used thus far in the tune “For All Time.” Finally, the project finishes with the only track sung in Spanish, “Oscar Cries In Spanish,” as the musicians explore a problem faced by many Puerto Ricans, being bullied for their language of preference, be it Spanish, English or Spanglish.
As previously stated, 2018 was a great year for the Puerto Rican indie music scene. Mettaur’s The Solution of Divorce is another example of the greatness the entire year provided as it delivers a great mix of pop punk and math rock, which delves into topics many can relate to in today’s Puerto Rico.
Listen to The Solution of Divorce on Spotify and Bandcamp
Like punk and metal, metalcore has never seen the light of mainstream popularity in Puerto Rico, but this hasn’t stopped musicians from exploring the genre that saw its peak in popularity back in the mid to late 2000s. Thus, bands like Modules, with their debut EP, Fractions, continue to keep the sound alive by continuing to experiment with it.
All throughout their debut EP, Modules wear the sound of metalcore on their shoulders. Starting with the “Intro” and ending with “Crossroads,” Fractions is a power fueled presentation that will surely have listeners head banging and creating mosh pits to the heavy guitar riffs, beating drums and growling vocals. Meanwhile, others will have a more reflective experience understanding the lyrics which touch on a variety of topics such as identity on “Mirrors,” point of views on “Perception” and life decisions on “Crossroads.”
As technology and the internet slowly makes it easier for artists to get their work out there, more musicians have taken it upon themselves to work on their projects independently in every single way. One Puerto Rican artist slowly doing this is Gabilan who with his love-themed mixtape, Mixed Feeling, managed to display his passion for music while wearing his influences on his shoulder.
Starting Mixed Feeling is “Broken Heart,” a tune that sets up the main theme of the mixtape, heart break. Afterwards, he delivers the reggaeton tune “Dejame Decirte,” a track that continues with the subject of heartache as the young musician makes heavy use of autotune. To finish the first half of the mixtape, Gabilan delivers “FakeLove,” another heartbreak song that blends elements of R&B and the new wave of emo trap to tell a story about the aforementioned topic.
Kicking off the second half of Mixed Feeling is “Celine,” an autotune heavy R&B influenced pop tune that features elements of dancehall and reggaeton. To close the project, Gabilan delivers “Keep on Feeling,” a song that shows him exploring more boom bap hip hop influenced sounds as he blends his rapping skills with some melodies and guitars.
To summarize, Gabilan’s Mixed Feeling is not perfect by any means as it suffer from technical elements such as mixing and mastering. However, the mixtape shows a passionate artist looking to go deep into the music scene as he explores a wide variety of sounds. With time and trial, Gabilan might become one of the scene’s prominent musicians.
Listen to Mixed Feeling on Soundcloud
As R&B slowly becomes one of the more explored sounds in the Puerto Rican indie music scene, more artists are following the footsteps of many of today’s biggest names and blending the ethereal sounds of the alternative side of the genre and blending it with the soundscapes made popular by trap music. One of the many artists to be exploring the genre is singer Envy who recently delivered Phases, an EP that shows his influences.
Kicking off Phases are “Hmu” and “Otw,” two tracks that show Envy exploring ethereal late night playlist type of R&B highly influenced by the extremely popular The Weeknd and a bit by the currently growing movement of emo trap. Afterwards, Envy provides “Dnd,” a tune that explores more trap influenced R&B while exploring the popular theme of life after gaining a bit of fame.
The final two tracks in Phases are “Idk” and “Lax.” The first of these is a slow and laid back R&B tune that explores drug use and music as coping mechanisms while creating a perfectly relaxing vibe for those looking for a new addition for their late night reflective playlists. Meanwhile, the last song in the EP is a more energetic tune that might serve well for party playlists as the artist shows some of his rapping skills.
All in all, Envy’s Phases is a nice short but to the point EP that displays his potential for mainstream success as he manages to deliver some great R&B tunes that show his influences. Hopefully, future projects will see him grow as he continues to find his own unique voice in the scene.
Listen to Phases on Soundcloud and Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in Envy’s Facebook
As some of the most active underground trap artists in Puerto Rico, it was only a matter of time before the dark and horror influenced Gaby Chuleta and the aggressive duo OMVR X JC would get together to collaborate for a song or a project and this is exactly what they did with Dios Bendiga El Trap, a project that presents how well the three musicians blend to create something interesting.
Starting Dios Bendiga El Trap is the EP’s title track, a song which highlights OMVR’s trademark aggressive delivery, JC’s more passive flow and Chuleta’s wild verses. Afterwards, the trio provide “Enchuletiau,” a tune that has the potential to play very well in strip clubs and after party playlists.
The second half of Dios Bendiga El Trap begins with “Me Huele a Dinero,” a tune that highlights the importance money has on the trio’s lives. Finally, the project ends with “Peek-a-Boo,” a song which shows the artists’ abilities to use their Spanglish skills over a haunting horror influenced trap beat that perfectly fits the musicians’ chemistry.
Though Dios Bendiga El Trap doesn’t show Gaby Chuleta nor OMVR X JC exploring new lyrical territory, the EP shows the trio’s fantastic chemistry and ability to experiment while taking things step by step as they provide a short but cohesive collection of tunes. Hopefully, this will serve as the blueprint to follow for many of Puerto Rico’s trap underground musicians who wish collaborate and deliver projects in the future.
Listen to Dios Bendiga El Trap on Soundcloud and Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found on Gaby Chuleta and OMVR X JC’s Facebooks
One of the reasons why Puerto Rico’s independent music scene has continued to flourish is because of the internet. Thanks to platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, artists of all mediums have been able to get their work out there. One of the musicians to take advantage of some of these is producer Marlon Frank who manages to stay in touch with Ponce and the rest of the scene while constantly traveling from the island to the diaspora and vice versa. Thus, in order to keep contact with the scene, the beat maker recently released his latest EP, Fases, a collection of six beats that will have listeners relaxing and moving their heads.
For the most part, Fases is a soulful instrumental hip hop project that is perfect for studying, relaxing, meditating, writing and even stretching exercises as it isn’t really a beat tape that will distract the listener from whatever it is that he or she is doing. However, when one listens to “2999” one cannot help but get up and move a bit demonstrating that the musician can take the listener out to dance, at least for a short period.
While on the surface one might look at Fases and say that it is just another beat tape, one has to look at the artist’s experimentation and growth. Throughout the EP, Marlon Frank explores classic soulful boom bap hip hop, more trap influenced sounds and even a little bit of electronica and 8-bit music, as found in the aforementioned “2999,” and what makes Fases so special is how seamlessly he makes these beats so cohesive despite the sounds being from different musical palettes.
Overall, Marlon Frank’s Fases is a fun, loose and danceable beat tape that will easily capture listeners’ ears as the producer experiments with a few genres in the fields of hip hop and electronic music.
Listen to Fases on Soundcloud and Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in Marlon Frank’s Facebook Page
As 2018 finally closes, many in the Puerto Rican independent music scene released a variety of singles to close out the year in proper fashion. While hip hop and its sub-genres continue to dominate, many electronic and rock musicians showed up to the end-of-the-year party to showcase their work.
“K-Ye” by Siete Nueve
Featuring fantastic production by Vaga, Siete Nueve’s closing single for 2018 is a great introspective and conscious tune that displays the artist’s lyrical abilities, which serves as a warning to those who want to be part of the streets.
“Agradecido” by Marlon Frank
Another of the hardest working Puerto Rican producers in the scene, Marlon Frank blessed us in December with a lo-fi hip hop beat that will surely relax many ears as he tries to show gratitude to those who have supported his work this past year.
“Temblor” by Furry Vowels ft. Los Walters
A funky electro-disco collaboration, the latest track by Furry Vowels and Los Walters is one, which will definitely play well in many parties and dance floors.
“feeling jazzzyyyy,” “A d e u s : (”, “m e n é a l o • ▲ ☀” and “l o f i - t ó n ★ ❀” by Kampo
As one of the most active producers in the indie scene right now, Kampo’s December 2018 was filled with a ton of music. Among the many tunes released was “feeling jazzzyyyy,” a relaxing and laid back track that has a ton of replay value. Then he released “A d e u s : (”, a lo-fi instrumental that feels as if the producer is reflecting on the entire year and letting go of it in order to move forward. Then with “m e n é a l o • ▲ ☀”, the young artist sets a perfect vibe for the upcoming festivities to welcome the new year as he provides a danceable psychedelic tune. Finally, Kampo’s December 2018 was finished with “l o f i - t ó n ★ ❀”, an instrumental that embraces its lo-fi aesthetic while providing a solid blend of reggaeton and trap elements to close out the year properly.
“Temple Of The Absurd” by Out of Hand
Released in August, the first single for the upcoming Condemned to Fail EP shows Out of Hand displaying their crossover thrash and death metal influences as they reflect on the state of mankind.
“Bubble Party!” by Back Seat Driver
A track that mixes elements of pop punk, math rock and metalcore, the latest Back Seat Driver single continues to show the band’s potential as a young group of talented musicians.
“Rompe el Fili (El Kush)” by Krey
Featuring production between Krey, Big G and Boi-1da, the latest track by the singer and rapper celebrates marihuana use and love in a danceable and relaxing trap tune that will surely have listeners moving their bodies in one way or another.
“Dizzy” by Siloe Andino
Featuring production by Efecto, the latest single by Siloe Andino is a highly danceable song that will certainly have listeners shaking their hips, stomping their feet and clapping their hands to the heavily infectious rhythms.
“Shawwwty” by 6ELA
A simple, short and to the point trap tune, 6ELA’s latest single is a track, which shows his Spanglish in a song that will surely play well in live performances.
“Valentina” by Elefantes de Yaya
A love-driven funky rock tune with psychedelic elements, the latest Elefantes de Yaya song is one that will have listeners sensually moving their bodies in the bedroom, clubs and even the beach.
“Móntate” by Jib The Mist
A reggaeton tune that mixes elements of trap, Jib The Mist’s latest single shows his ability to make a danceable track with potential mainstream appeal
“AMEN” by Gaby Chuleta
Featuring production by Fly Twilightzone, Gaby Chuleta’s latest solo single provides an infectious beat and chorus that further demonstrates the young artist’s mainstream potential and the producer’s growth
“TUPAI” by Gaby Chuleta ft. 13:00am, Watxon, Ferrori, Jose Yellow & Rvlph Doel
A posse cut that will definitely create mosh pits in live performances, the latest collaboration by Gaby Chuleta, 13:00am, Waxton, Ferrori, Jose Yellow and Rvlph Doel shows all of the artists flexing on a variety of topics such as drug use, late night parties and ladies.
“Lloripari Remix” by Rafers ft. Mr. HumA
A remix of the young artist’s earlier single, “Lloripari Remix” features additional vocals by Mr. HumA as the two musicians continue to display their skills towards making danceable and potentially mainstream appealing pop-driven music.
“Despelote” by Rafers
A trap-influenced pop tune, Rafers’s last single for 2018 explores love while trying to provide an ethereal late night vibe as the young musician explores auto-tune driven melodies
“Nos Invaden” by MarYola
A highly danceable tune, the latest MarYola single sees the band explore dance rock, synths and elements of prog rock as the group continues to experiment while showcasing their adaptability
“Se Les Ve” by A1NWG ft. Aaron P
A short but to-the-point single to close out a successful year, A1NWG’s last 2018 single is an auto-tune-driven trap and reggaeton blend that shows the rapper’s lyricism while providing a bit of a psychedelic vibe.
“Distancia & Tiempo” by Kombo the X Writer
Featuring production by Huztle, Kombo the X Writer’s latest single features the musician exploring melodies and trap sounds in a heart-driven introspective tune which explores love, current life experiences and his mental state.
“Desvestirte” by Kalixx
Featuring production by Alers “La Pesadilla,” Kalixx’s first single is an ethereal R&B love driven tune that displays the singer’s singing skills and potential for mainstream appeal.
“COUPE” by Chris Wav. & Blxxdshot
Featuring production by Young Tago, the latest collaboration by Chris Wav. and Blxxdshot is a trap track, which will surely play well driving down the highway with the perfect chemistry shown by both artists.
“LA MERCA” by OMVR X JC feat. Jose Yellow
Produced by OMVR, the latest collaboration by the dark trap duo and Jose Yellow features the musicians’ styles in full display as they provide some mosh pit worthy music that could also play well in late night party playlists.
“MOLDISCO” by Janmarcus
Featuring reggaeton production by ONYX, the latest Janmarcus single features many of the genre’s traditional danceable sounds and themes as the young musician continues to explore familiar Latin soundscapes.
“Ternura y Maldad RMX” by Axel Cupeles ft. J Cash
Released a couple of months ago and featuring a trap-driven production, the remix to Axel Cupeles's “Ternura y Maldad” features additional vocals by J Cash as it keeps its love and sex-fueled themes.
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Gyanmarckus
A cover of the classic Cyndi Lauper single, Gyanmarckus’s synth and disco influenced tune is a tribute to all the ladies looking to have a life where they can have fun without having to look over their shoulders for any form of danger in a time in Puerto Rico's history where there have been a vast amount of women killed through domestic violence.
“New Opp” and “Rare” by Envy
As one of the most active members in the scene recently, Envy had a very busy December releasing a variety of solo singles. The first of these is the trap tune “New Opp,” which shows the musician’s ambition and determination towards success. Afterwards, he delivered “Rare,” a bass-heavy tune produced by MB13 where the musician continues to explore trap-driven R&B.
“Bag” by Envy & STZ
Accompanied by production by J Patterns, the latest trap-driven R&B collaboration by Envy and STZ is a fantastic tune that will surely have listeners dancing and sharing the bedroom with their loved ones
“MONEY CASH” by OMVR X JC
Featuring production by Fly Twilightzone and Bravo, the latest single by the dark trap duo sees them experimenting with vocals while providing some of their trademark anger-fueled sound.
“Fragancia” by Los Walters
As one of the slowly approaching mainstream success synth pop groups of the indie scene, Los Walters had a successful 2018 with their project Caramelo and with “Fragancia” they closed the year in perfect fashion as they delivered another relaxing yet danceable track for fans and new listeners alike.
“xx-xxx-mayacupey” by Orteez ft. Vento Alejandro and Fokin Froid
The first single for the upcoming project Sonido Porno, the latest collaboration between Orteez, Vento Alejandro and Fokin Froid is a fantastic alternative R&B tune, which displays the artists’ strengths over a very sensual and relaxing beat.
“Salty Dog” by saintmist
Released a couple of months ago, saintmist’s TounyTrece produced “Salty Dog” features a Scarface sample as the young rapper continues to experiment with his rapping skills.
“Baby Cripi” by Fuete Billete
Released a few months ago, the latest single by the group that could be considered some of the originators of Puerto Rican trap shows them in top form as they display their mastery of the craft while flexing about drugs, material possessions, style and sex.
“SANTA SAUCE” BY 13:00am
Featuring production by AVILA and AROV, the latest 13:00am solo single served as a Christmas gift for his fans. The single presents an interesting and bass-heavy beat as the young musician continues to experiment with melodies.
“TESLA” BY STZ
Produced by francis, the latest solo single by STZ features synth driven trap production while the rapper flexes all over the beat.
“British Bitch” by Chris Wav.
Featuring different production for the trap genre by BUNK TRASH, Chris Wav.’s latest solo single features some storytelling elements while the young musician flexes in multiple forms through a short and to-the-point song.
“No Sé” by Watxon ft. Rvlph Doel
A traditional Latin trap tune, the latest collaboration between Watxon and Rvlph Doel is a love-driven track, which showcases a balance of melody and lyricism while providing a late night party vibe.
“Vete Pal Carajo” by Espuelérico
Released on Christmas, the latest Espuelérico single is a folk track that encourages listeners to embrace their identities and be themselves while touching on the domestic violence problem in Puerto Rico
“Periódico De Noche Buena” by Rampolla
A boom bap tune accompanied by an inescapable acoustic guitar, Rampolla’s latest track is conscious rap song with storytelling elements that wishes to make listeners reflect on the goods they have while being aware of the work which needs to be done in order to make Puerto Rico better.
“Tu Chilla Favorita” by Las Bellaqueens
After not releasing a single for around ten months, Las Bellaqueens returned to close 2018 with their dose of feminist-driven, explicit and sexual trap as they touch on the subject of being a mistress.
“Me He Tardao’ (Remix)” by Mike Rodz ft. Carly Musa, Logan La Torre, Fico Rodz, Kombo the X Writer and Arliana
Another posse cut, the remix to Mike Rodz’s “Me He Tardao’” features the infectious BluJarvis production with additional vocals by fellow independent musicians Carly Musa, Logan La Torre, Fico Rodz, Kombo the X Writer and Arliana as they all display their balance of melodies and lyricism while touching on the subject of ambition delivering a fantastic group effort.
“Amigx (Dreambow Remix)” by Labajura
A remix of his tune from his self-titled debut, Labajura’s latest single is an exploration of the slowly emerging dreambow genre, which fuses synth-pop and dembow into a unique mix of relaxing yet danceable music.
As shown all throughout 2018, the Puerto Rican indie music scene is extremely active even in months where there’s little to any music being dropped, which goes to show the amount of ambition, determination, hunger and passion these artists have for their respective crafts
As one of the most active producers in the independent scene, Kampo has been constantly releasing singles and EPs. Though he is known for mostly presenting instrumental projects that take hip hop in different directions, recently he released an EP, Puerto Phonk, which shows him distorting vocals in a variety of ways.
Starting the project is “Quitate el Grillete Que Tu Te Encojona,” a highly danceable track that mixes elements of Christmas instrumentation blent with salsa and trap sounds which starts to show Kampo’s foray into distorted vocals. The following tune, “Pal 3some Le Wa Meter Bien Kabron,” shows the artist experimenting with autotune in a comedic fashion over a fantastic beat that features trap elements mixed with a soulful trumpet and a hypnotizing acoustic guitar. Finally, “Tu Eres de Las Que Abre Heineken Con la Boca” is a song that samples Calle 13’s “Se Vale To-To” as the artist creates a very relaxing yet moving atmosphere over the famous vocals by Residente.
To sum up, Kampo’s Puerto Phonk demonstrates that the young musician is showing no signs of slowing down as he continues to deliver different experimental projects which continue to demonstrate his talent and potential.
Listen to Puerto Phonk on Soundcloud
All of the pictures in this article were found on Kampo’s Facebook
Fernando E. E. Correa González is the author behind over 20 self-published poetry books. He has been published by literary magazines & journals [Id]entidad, El Vicio del Tintero, Sábanas Magazine, Smaeralit, The Occulum and Tonguas. Other than writing, Correa is also a filmmaker, photographer and master’s student. He currently lives in his native Puerto Rico.