As electronic and noise music continue to be explored and fused by underground Puerto Rican musicians, the genres continue to show a variety of unique sounds that in one way or another reflect the island’s past and present. With Sancocho Studies/Batata, Guabageuse does just this as the musician expands on his fusion-based experimental sound.
Sancocho Studies/Batata starts with “Eugene Mary Hosts,” a psychedelic ambient track which not only makes one think about Eugenio Maria de Hostos’s adventures across the world, but also prepares the listener for the experimental EP they are about to embark on. Then one is taken into “Jain Pest Control,” a tune that features elements from a variety of genres, some of these being 8-bit music, noise, psychedelia, ambient and electronica. Next, “El Empastedillo (Paz Para Los Hombres)” is a danceable yet intriguing tune that shows inspiration from noise, synthpop, Latin sounds and industrial music. Afterwards, “Slung Slag Slug” serves as another 8-bit influenced psychedelic track that can be both danceable yet thought-provoking with its soft and wonder-inducing melodies blent with fast-paced beat and hi-hats. The following song, “Nueve Sietecueros,” is an 8-bit influenced song which serves as one of the project’s more danceable tunes. Finally the project ends with “Mickey Tre (3),” which serves as a perfect closer as Guabageuse shows many of the elements examined previously while expanding on them a bit.
Sancocho Studies/Batata continues to display Guabageuse’s exploration and potential to be one of the most progressive electronic musicians out there as he displays zero boundaries as to the fields he is willing to experiment with, be they dance music or noise driven psychedelia.
Listen to Sancocho Studies/Batata on Spotify
"Alejandro's Classics No.1 (Raw)": Alejandro Rigau Displays His Potential in His Lo-fi Debut Project
As one of the most active members in the indie music scene recently, Alejandro Rigau has released a variety of projects under different names, from kombuchi and Pheelin to Concuerda. However, on October 2018 he released a lo-fi folk project under his own name with which he shows his love for the acoustic guitar and melodies in a variety of ways.
The lo-fi project begins with “La Bella Durmiente,” a short acoustic guitar-driven tune that takes one back to the sounds found in the soundtrack to 2007’s Juno. Then, “Si Yo No Tengo Tu Amor” is a much more rock & roll-driven song which shows the musician displaying different influences while experimenting with the theme of love. Next, “Cronicas” displays the artist’s folk and Latin rock inspiration in a song fueled by deities and mythology. Afterwards, “El Buda del Caserio” shows the Rigau’s storytelling skills in a folk song accompanied by what seems to be rain or a fan in the background. Subsequently, “Feliz Contigo” shows the musician exploring the subject of love once again. Meanwhile, “Colores” once again demonstrates the musician’s ability to present images easily. On another note, “Te Amo” shows Rigau touching on love once more, but with a sound influenced by 1950s rock ballads. Then, “Chica Extraña” is a story-driven ballad where the artist expands on the aforementioned skill. Next, “Leonela” demonstrates Rigau’s description and storytelling abiltiies blent to present a very vivid image, a showcase also found in “Blues del Naufrago.” Finally, Alejandro's Classics No.1 (Raw) closes with “Viejo Amigo,” a tune which explores friendship, and “Mujer Bella,” another song that explores love while showing the young musician’s folk and blues influences.
Overall, Alejandro Rigau’s debut album is a collection of different stories told alongside a folk-driven acoustic guitar, which display the artist’s ability to provide a concise project while showing his potential for greatness.
Listen to Alejandro's Classics No.1 (Raw) on Bandcamp
As many musicians in Puerto Rico’s independent and underground scene struggle to deliver projects due to economic constraints, some settle for lo-fi production as long as they can get their work out there. A group that has recently achieved said goal is the young hardcore band Anywhere Once with their project Teddy Bundy who embrace said aesthetic and deliver a very grimy EP made up of untitled in-your-face tunes.
Influenced by a variety of genres, with their Teddy Bundy EP Anywhere Once manage to deliver a lo-fi project that features elements of hardcore, screamo, math rock, indie rock and noise rock through a compilation of six untitled lo-fi tracks, which ultimately demonstrate the band’s passion and search for artistic expression while facing one of the island’s most difficult moments
As hip hop continues to be the most explored music genre right now, artists continue to experiment with its foundation of boom bap and lyricism to reflect and share stories which display some of today’s realities, a mission that AIZ 731 takes into his hands with his latest project 7:31 AM.
Starting the project is “Ser Rapero,” a hard hitting tune that establishes AIZ 731’s perspective of what a rapper should be. Then, “Tiempo” is a reflective track about using time wisely to balance every type of activity. Afterwards, “Desde Mi Viejo San Juan” samples the classic song as AIZ 731 takes on the subject of the Puerto Rican diaspora and the hard decision of leaving the island to find new opportunities. Next, “Yo Te Pienso” features melodic vocals by Mikael in an R&B influenced boom bap tale of love. Then, “La Calle Me Habla” serves as a powerful tune reflecting on the life of the streets. Finally, the first half of 7:31 AM finishes with “La Bella y La Bestia,” a collaboration with Mil Raices which uses elements from the classic fairy tale blent with Latin rock and reggae sounds to reflect on today’s violence.
The second half of 7:31 AM kicks off with “Quisiera Decirte,” an introspective track that sees AIZ 731 grieving as he remembers the good times he had with a loved one and the tragedy which led to said person’s death. Next, “Noche de Rap” is a boom bap tune that serves as a celebration of hip hop and the culture it has sprung. Afterwards, “Las Cosas Como Son” is a conscious and politically driven hard hitting track that shows the rapper delivering his thoughts on the current political and social climate of the United States. Then “Brindemos” sees AIZ 731 joining forces with Ele Perez to deliver a fun lyrical song which reflects on those who resort to alcohol to escape their regular lives. Next, “A Escondidas” shows AIZ 731 collaborating with Dela to present a piano-driven boom bap tune to tell a love story. Finally, 7:31 AM ends with “Perdon,” where AIZ 731 explores the subject of forgiveness in a variety of ways.
AIZ 731’s 7:31 AM is a project that continues to show the artist growing as he displays lyrical and storytelling abilities while exploring boom bap and hi-hat driven hip hop while, at the same time, not being shy of going out there and delving into R&B and Latin rock.
Listen to 7:31 AM on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in AIZ 731’s Facebook
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and María, many Puerto Rican artists took to their work in order to share their thoughts and experiences with said catastrophic events. One of the projects to come out of this was José Iván Lebrón Moreira’s Ciénaga and its debut Isla Eterna, an ambient piece which samples a variety of sounds to capture the chaos of said time in Puerto Rican history.
Isla Eterna starts with the lead single “Augurio: El grito del eclipse,” an ambient tune that provides a very soulful saxophone as it shows the days before the cyclones hit Puerto Rico. Then, “9-6-17 En ráfagas” perfectly captures the dark and chaotic event of Hurricane Irma. Next, “9:20” presents Hurricane María in full effect as the track is mainly composed out of sound recorded at the moment of said event. Afterwards, “El ojo” samples sounds from Hurricane María and accompanies them with dark, electronic and somewhat psychedelic sounds to present the chaos of going through the eye of such a devastating cyclone. The first half of the Isla Eterna ends with “Desde los balcones,” a powerful tune that blends samples and acoustic guitars to provide a very emotional track set in the aftermath of Hurricane María.
Hurricane María. Next, “Sobre las muertes” serves as perhaps the darkest and most difficult song to process as it can easily bring one to tears after reimagining and rethinking the amount of lives lost in such a chaotic time. Afterwards, “WAPA Radio 1” briefly samples the famous Puerto Rican radio station as the track quickly shifts into a sound that can only be described as the vast amount of media coverage the hurricanes received, which, in a way, further enhanced the chaos the island was going through. Finally, the project closes with “Reconstruye,” an ambient tune that provides a glimmer of hope while capturing the start of a long healing process for the entirety of Puerto Rico.
Overall, Isla Eterna is a powerful project that reflects on what is perhaps the most chaotic moment in recent Puerto Rican history. While it might be a hard listen for those who experienced the events because it clearly brings back difficult memories, the album might serve as an eye opener for those who have never gone through such an event.
Listen to Isla Eterna on Bandcamp
As rock-n-roll continues to be one of the most prominent explored genres in Puerto Rico’s underground, a few bands are taking more risks and exploring the more experimental side of the music. One of these groups is Anti Teenage Sound Deterrents (ATSD) who, with their self-titled debut, manage to successfully go through a wide range of rock’s multiple genres
Kicking off ATSD’s debut is “Academy,” an instrumental tune that starts off as a traditional stoner rock track that then turns into a psychedelic trip which then shifts into further exploration of the stoner sound and finishes with a bit of noise rock touch that softly turns into a quick blend of everything aforementioned. Afterwards, the ensemble deliver “Caveman,” a song that starts off as a nice mix of dance and surf rock with a hint of power pop making it a somewhat mainstream appealing number. Then ATSD deliver “The Mosquito,” a track that shows the band blending elements of stoner, indie, dance and noise rock to deliver a fun yet very visual adventure, if one takes the time to imagine the experience of being the insect in the song’s title or the person trying to fend off said creature. Next, the band provide “School Dazed,” a hardcore and noise rock driven track that shows a bit of love to Mayagüez’s Dan Siego while bringing elements of prog rock. Closing the EP is “Crown,” prog rock tune with elements of shoegaze and dance rock that serves as the cherry on top to what has been a great presentation
Overall, ATSD’s first project is a fantastic first project that shows the band’s potential and fearlessness towards a variety of genres that seem to receive little to no attention by Puerto Rico’s mainstream and underground alike further demonstrating the amount of space they have to continue experimenting.
Listen to ATSD on Spotify and Bandcamp
While reggaeton and trap continue to be the popular genres within hip hop, traditional boom bap sounds accompanied by conscious and introspective continue to be explored and embraced by Puerto Rico’s independent and underground scene and that is exactly what Una Banda Un Sonido (U.B.U.S.) manage to do with their self-titled debut.
Kicking off the project is “#Ubus,” a track that serves as the mission statement for the trio as they make it clear what they’re going to do as a band, music with introspection and a purpose. Meanwhile, “De Nacimiento,” sees the musicians reflecting on how the art form has been with them since the day they were born. Then, with “Deja Vu,” group MC Ebano takes over delivering another lyrical display alongside a boom bap beat that features a hypnotic sample. Closing the first half of the project is “Sigo Peleando,” sees Del Verbo taking over the track as he raps about continuing to pursue his goal of being the best MC.
Starting the second half of the album is “Tsunami,” a tune that shows the artists flexing about their lyrical prowess. Afterwards, the crew deliver “Tipico Rapero,” a boom bap lyrical song that shows the musicians, specifically Siole Andino as the MC and Ebano as the producer, displaying their uniqueness while touching on more conscious subjects such as domestic violence and violence against women. Next, U.B.U.S. deliver “Versus,” a track with some experimental boom bap production where Siloe Andino raps about his identity and love for hip hop while Del Verbo reflects on identity and his mission as a rapper. Finishing the project is “Dizzy,” a somewhat danceable psychedelic and hypnotic boom bap tune.
Overall, U.B.U.S.’s self-titled debut is a good project that shows introspection, passion, lyrical prowess and love for the classic boom bap sound that paved the way for hip hop. In short, it is the type of project which will have lovers of lyricism salivating and one that might inspire some to start writing and rapping.
Listen to Una Banda un Sonido on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in U.B.U.S’s Facebook
While 2018 was a very active year for the Puerto Rican independent music scene after the chaotic events in 2017 and the earlier parts of the year, 2019 seems to be one that will continue said fast-paced activity as artists of all genres are already delivering a wide array of singles in order the kick year off properly.
“Ella Se Fué” by A1 NWG
A1 NWG returns once again and delivers a love story accompanied by a blend of hip hop and Latin sounds that will sure make listeners dance and others digesting the lyricism in display.
“Ya Te Extraño” and “Voz extraña” by Adames
A reggaeton love story involving heartbreak, the first of Adames’s singles this month is a tune that will have some listeners dancing. Meanwhile, the young musician continues to explore the subject of love in the R&B-driven “Voz extraña,” a song that sees him experimenting with singing a little further.
“Dead Walking” by Blackwill
A hard hitting trap single influenced by the sounds of Florida’s underground, the latest Blackwill song is one that will surely create mosh pits and make people shake their bodies in every way possible.
“La Espera (Tributo A Willy Rodriguez)” by Carly Musa
A tribute to Willy Rodriguez, Carly Musa’s latest single is a hip hop interpretation of classic Cultura Profetica sound while the young musician provides a love story of his own.
“Eastside” by Chasing Nomads
A cover of the Khalid, Halsey and Benny Blanco single, Chasing Nomads’ latest track is a lovely expansion of the group’s musical capabilities.
“100pre Sere” by C.J.
A love-driven R&B-influenced trap tune, C.J.’s “100pre Sere” shows the artist’s singing abilities, songwriting skills and his way of balancing rapping and singing.
“Reasons” and “Rotation” by Envy
A pretty active member in the scene right now, Envy’s 2019 kicked off with two singles. The first of these, “Reasons,” features some really soothing indie rock influenced R&B that serves as a very relaxing intro to 2019. Meanwhile, “Rotation” is a hip hop tune featuring some fantastic production by NINETY8 where Envy does a little bit of flexing and display of his work discipline.
“Savage Mode” by Homies Clan
Featuring an interesting blend of electronic music and alternative hip hop in the beat, the latest single by Homies Clan is a display of lyrical abilities while keeping up the competitive spirit of hip hop alive.
“ANIMAL” by Joe XO ft. ARM
Featuring additional work by ARM, the latest single by Joe XO is a hype anthem that blends trap and electronic music to create a tune that will definitely play well in dance clubs and strip clubs.
“PLO PLO PLO” and “PESOS” by OMVR x JC
OMVR x JC continue to be the most active trap duo in the underground with their latest crime-driven “PLO PLO PLO,” a tune which shows a change of pace in terms of their beat selection while maintaining the group’s blend of aggressive and melodic raps. Meanwhile, “PESOS” is a crunk and snap rap influenced track that shows the duo displaying their usual chemistry over a highly danceable beat.
“Sobredosis” by Prepucio Galáctico
As one of the most experimental noise producers in Puerto Rico right now, Prepucio Galáctico’s latest single surprises nobody with its fast-paced hard hitting sounds and surreal imagery.
“Summer Bummer” by The Blue Leaves
Released a few months ago, The Blue Leaves’ “Summer Bummer” displays the band’s ability to make alternative rock ballads with lo-fi aesthetics.
“Cosas Que Tenía En La Mente” by Reyes †††
Featuring very relaxing guitar work and a soothing beat, Reyes †††’s “Cosas Que Tenía En La Mente” shows the young rapper displaying his lyrical skills as he touches on love, being free and having peace of mind
“Hora de Irse” by Mike Rodz
Being one of the most active members of the scene recently, Mike Rodz’s latest single sees him taking advantage of acoustic instruments to tackle the wave of violence across Puerto Rico.
“DESCONTROL” by Jero DLO
A trap influenced R&B tune, Jero DLO’s “DESCONTROL” is a sex-fueled track that provides some explicit imagery accompanied by auto-tune and marijuana-driven lyrics
“No Te Veo” by Uvejota
Featuring production by MIKEPHANTOM, the first single by Uvejota is an auto-tune fueled R&B song that shows the young musician telling a love story and putting his emotional side out there
“Me odias y me quieres” by Yabdiel
A trap tune with strip club potential, Yabdiel’s “Me odias y me quieres” is an auto-tune driven track that displays the artist blending his lyrical abilities with some melodies.
“PREFIERE” by YUNG HUSTLERS
The first single by the newly formed group YUNG HUSTLERS, which is made up of young musicians Yung 17 and Steven Wantz, is an entry into the ever-growing field of emo trap/sadboi rap.
“K I L O $ ;_;” by Kampo
As one of the most active hip hop producers in the scene right now, Kampo has been releasing singles and EPs left and right. So it isn’t strange at all that he kicked off 2019 with “K I L O $ ;_;”, a tune that he sees him blend his lo-fi aesthetic within a trap beat that will surely have listeners bobbing their heads and dancing
“RUNNIN” by 6ELA
A blend of acoustics, chilled vibes, autotune and the bass of a trap banger, 6ELA’s “RUNNIN” is a song that’ll make listeners do a variety of actions making this a single with high replay valuable.
“Hasta Mañana (Banana Spanish Version)” by Gaby Morales
A tune that will have listeners shaking their bodies in a variety of ways, Gaby Morales’s remix to Jada Kingdom’s “Banana” is a fun dancehall tune for parties at the beach and weekend drives
“Periodico de Ayer” and “MUEVELO” by MAX
A blend of reggaeton and dancehall, MAX’s “Periodico de Ayer” is a love-driven tune that will have some dancing and others listening to its story. Meanwhile, “MUEVELO” shows the musician blending reggaeton with high trumpets and electronic elements to create an interesting and danceable tune.
“Jeans de Cuero” by Los Walters
A relaxing yet danceable tune, Los Walters knock it out of the park once again with “Jeans de Cuero” as they continue to expand their synth pop and electro sound while staying close to their essence.
“Blueberry” by Eros ft. Angel
A blend of trap and R&B, Eros and Angel’s “Blueberry” is a love and sex fueled tune that will play well in late-night playlists and parties.
“LiGeRiTo” by PioTripz
A drug fueled lo-fi party trap tune, PioTripz’s latest single is a slow-paced but to-the-point song that shows the young artist exploring different sounds.
“No Me Conocen” by Ryan Blaze ft. Kombo The X Writer
A blend of pop rap tune produced by Yizus Piccolo and Gaby Morales, the latest collaboration between Ryan Blaze and Kombo The X Writer shows both artists going against haters and discussing the difficulties of working as indie artists.
“BENZ [RMX]” by 13:00am ft. Erre, Andre OT & Janmerce
A fantastic remix produced by Avila and Arov, 13:00am’s “BENZ [RMX]” is a trap tune that mixes melodies and rapping which will surely play well in any form of party environment, especially at night and strip clubs.
“La Verdad (Acoustic Version)” by Julio Angel
A tune that shows Julio Angel continuing to explore his vocal talents, the acoustic version of “La Verdad” is an emotion filled tune that displays the young musician’s mainstream potential.
“Si Yo Te Digo” by Bryan Lopez
A blend of pop reggaeton and dancehall, the latest Bryan Lopez single is one that continues to demonstrate the young musician’s mainstream potential
“Muévete Coño” by Canubis
A rap single that features some interesting production, “Muévete Coño” shows Canubis’s lyrical abilities while encouraging listeners to start moving to achieve their goals.
“No escondo na (Freestyle)” by Ryan Blaze
Featuring production by Gaby Morales, the latest freestyle by Ryan Blaze shows the musician displaying his lyrical abilities while stating his point of view regarding fake rappers and keeping the competitive spirit of hip hop alive.
“Entre Tragos” by Zekiyiii ft. Ryan Blaze
Featuring production by Dexion, the latest collaboration by Zekiyiii and Ryan Blaze is a pop tune that shows the artists mixing rapping and autotune melodies to create a danceable and fun single with mainstream potential.
“Yo Sé” by Eros
A blend of pop and R&B, “Yo Sé” shows Eros expanding his mainstream appealing sound as he continues to display his melodic skills alongside a beat that will play well in the nightlife.
“Amor en Vano” by Ade-Line
Released in December 2018, the first single by Ade-Line displays the band’s pop punk influences as they introduce themselves to the world of streaming.
“Guiso” by Tommy Blanco
A trap beat that will surely play well in party playlists, Tommy Blanco’s first single provides a fun and hypnotic beat as the young musician displays his rapping skills and encourages a free Puerto Rico and “con drogas.”
“6.40” by Marlon Frank
As one of the most active members of the indie scene, Marlon Frank has been releasing singles left and right over the past few months. His most recent is a showcase of relaxing yet bass heavy instrumentation that will take listeners on psychedelic trips.
“DE NEGRO” by JOXAN ft. YUNG BOI
A bass heavy and mosh-pit worthy trap track, the latest collaboration between JOXAN and YUNG BOI is a gang anthem that will surely play well in live performances.
“BRILLO [un freestyle pichando]” by YUNG BOI
A trap tune that displays the artist’s rapping skills, “BRILLO” shows YUNG BOI flexing about material possessions and the nightlife over a hypnotic beat
“Museo Personal” by Cologne
As one of the promising bands to come out of the scene recently, west side-based Cologne kicked off 2019 with the dreamy indie rock tune “Museo Personal,” which continues to demonstrate the group’s potential as a successful ensemble.
“La Movie” by Rafers ft. Míto
As one of the most active members of the indie scene right now, Rafers comes back alongside Míto to deliver an auto-tone heavy trap tune that reflects on male chauvinism, gossip and obsession, amongst other things.
“She Deserve It” by Blxxdshot
A hypnotic blend of melodies and rapping, Blxxdshot’s latest single is a look at thot culture and everything it involves.
“ITCHY” by WowZa
After going for quite some time without releasing any music, Rincón-based rapper WowZa finally released his latest single “ITCHY,” a trap tune that displays his rapping skills while going into the surreal lyrical territory found in Florida’s underground.
“NOTA SERIA” by TIAGO STA. CRUZ
A surreal blend of dark trap and industrial rap, TIAGO STA. CRUZ’s “NOTA SERIA” is a psychedelic and nightmarish that will take listeners on headtrips.
“Diosa” by Cometta
A blend of melodies and raps to the sound of bomba fused with a trap beat, Cometta’s “Diosa” is a unique presentation that pays homage to Puerto Rico, love and the muses.
“Incompetentes” by Clveless
A lo-fi boom bap track, Clvueless’s latest single is a display of his lyrical skills as he reflects on subjects such as critique from others, staying focused and the status of hip hop.
“Borracho y Loco” by Krey
Another active member of the indie scene, Krey’s 2019 kicks off with the trap-influenced R&B tune “Borracho y Loco,” a love song that continues to show his ability to balance melodies and rapping
“Gigantes” by Elefantes de Yaya
Serving as a tribute to the many musicians and muses that inspire their sound, “Gigantes” by Elefantes de Yaya is a fun blend of funk, Latin rock and psychedelia that will have listeners dancing in a variety of ways.
As seen throughout 2018, the Puerto Rican independent music scene has been extremely active in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. If January 2019 is an indication of anything is that the movement will continue going strong, delivering music left and right, thus demonstrating what the island’s up-and-coming musicians have in mind.
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.