“Mi Capestrano”: Fabian Gutierrez del Arroyo Presents Himself as a Young Rapper with Mainstream Potential
As hip hop continues to be the sound of experimentation for many young musicians, Fabian Gutierrez del Arroyo takes a shot at the genre with his debut EP, Mi Capestrano, which uses traditional boom bap beats as he displays his lyrical abilities over a variety of subjects.
Mi Capestrano starts off with the jazz rap track “Cafecito Mañanero,” a tune that sees the young musician touching on a variety of subjects including love and critique as he displays his lyrical abilities. Then, “Etiam Farece” is a boom bap track that, among many things, sees the artist reflecting on his lyrical abilities as well as the state of a variety of social problems, one being toxic masculinity. Next, “Mis Disculpas” is a string-driven song that shows Gutierrez del Arroyo exploring the subject of forgiveness. Afterwards, “En La Looper” demonstrates the young rapper’s mainstream potential in a tune heavily influenced by the work of the late Mac Miller. The project then moves on to “Passionsinterlude,” a song that touches on the subject of a rapper’s creative process over a jazzy beat and some soulful melodies. Finally, “Confianza Ciega” is a fantastic boom bap tune where Gutierrez del Arroyo raps about trust in a variety of ways.
As Puerto Rico’s independent rap scene continues to cling on to the trap, reggaeton and dancehall sounds, musicians like Del Verbo continue to explore boom bap and alternative hip hop while displaying lyrical skills. Thus, in Belleza Cruda the rapper based in the Metro area gets together with a variety of MCs, DJs and producers to create a project that explores said sounds while paying homage to hip hop and reflecting on their current lives.
Belleza Cruda starts with “La Demostración,” a collaboration between Nebula, Del Verbo, Linkone, O’pres, Mil Maneras, Nolo 835, R.A.F.O., Ninja, Aiz 731 and Flexo that shows the rappers flexing about their lyrical abilities serving as a perfect introduction to the project the listener is about to consume. Next, “Codo a Codo” features Del Verbo, Epso, Jota C and R.A.F.O. rapping about unity in the face of adversity. Then, “Poesía de Brea” sees Jota C, Mil Maneras, Epso, Ebano Flowlanski and Carmen Morales joining forces as they reflect on their upbringing, hardships and how they got involved in music. Concluding the first half of the project is “Redes,” a song that sees Una Banda Un Sónido reflecting on social media and its power.
The second half of Belleza Cruda starts with “Tésis de la Experiencia,” a track that unites Palín, R.A.F.O., Aiz 731 and DJ Drozer to reflect on the origins of hip hop and how the culture has stayed alive despite any adversities. Then, Mala Cara, Mr. Flow The Show, Del Verbo and Siloé Andino join on “Razón de Ser” to provide introspective raps about their life purpose. Next, “Cuatro Principios” presents DJ Bobby LaCosta, Linkone, Ninja and Cyborg A.O.S. joining forces to show love to hip hop and the culture that have given them a sense of identity. Finally, “La Confrontación” unites Del Verbo, Mil Maneras, R.A.F.O., Ebano Flowlanski, Cyborg A.O.S., Epso, Jota C and Mala Cara to deliver a lyrical display on a posse cut that would make the Wu Tang Clan and Hieroglyphics proud.
Overall, Belleza Cruda is a fantastic compilation of posse cuts that display lyrical skills while providing love for hip hop and the culture combined with introspective and conscious raps, which will make fans of boom bap and alternative hip hop proud. Hopefully, this collective will continue to collaborate in the future.
Listen to Belleza Cruda on Spotify
As the scene continued to grow in 2018, more young artists put fear to the side and explored a variety of genres in order to express themselves and put their voice out there. One of such artists is Al Norte who, with Minutos de Experimento, demonstrates his singing abilities and love for the fields of pop and R&B.
Kicking off Minutos de Experimento is “Celebración,” a track that encourages listeners to enjoy life to the fullest. Afterwards, Al Norte tells a love story from its inception to its end through the tracks “Paraíso,” “Cambios,” and “Odio,” all of which continue to display the young musician’s singing skills. Finally, the project ends with “Imperfecta,” a short tune that explores identity and acceptance as the artist practices his rapping abilities.
Puerto Rico’s indie music scene shows zero signs of slowing down and every day more musicians are coming together forming bands to experiment with instrumental sounds. One of these groups is the rock band Slow Grave who, with their debut EP, manage to introduce themselves while capturing a wide range of emotions.
Starting the project is “Devilspeak,” a song that shows the band’s capabilities to create a slowly building tune that later explodes into an epic action scene. Then one is treated to “Hands of Blue,” a track that captures sadness and struggle perfectly. Afterwards, “Bravelung,” serves as a perfect follow up to the previous song as one can easily visualize a person getting up after so much struggle to face said problems. Next, “Eighth Sea,” captures a difficult moment in the middle of the ocean, reminiscent of the struggles presented in Garcia Marquez’s El relato de un náufrago or perhaps a scene straight out of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Meanwhile, “Ainess” serves as a perfect tune for a high budget film action scene or a training montage. Finally, Dreamless ends with its title track, one which captures that moment of aimlessness until one finally reaches a sense of purpose and being.
Overall, Dreamless shows Slow Grave’s ability to present images and emotions, thereby demonstrating the band’s possible mainstream appeal through future personal projects or others, which might involve making scores for movies and series, a goal which many aspire to but sadly don’t get the chance to do.
Listen to Dreamless on Spotify
As Puerto Rico’s indie music scene continues to gain some love, more artists are fearlessly producing work letting their sounds speak for them. One of the many groups to do this in 2018 was J. Rochet who released their self-titled LP, a blend of pop rock and various other genres.
J. Rochet’s self-titled debut starts with a brief “Prologue” that seamlessly transitions into “Show Me Love,” an alternative pop rock tune influenced by the sounds of 2000s rock. The following track is “Go on Strong,” which mixes elements of alternative rock, dance rock and surf rock to provide a danceable number. Afterwards, “Control” some hard hitting rock & roll, which might have listeners head banging with its mix of rock melodies and rapping. Then the first half of the project ends with “Hold On,” a much lighter song that blends elements of dance rock and power pop.
The second part of the album starts with “Somos Uno,” a track that shows the band blending elements of pop rock, blues and soul. Next, “Nothing Else to Prove” a powerful ballad that displays the lead singer’s energy to the fullest. Then, “Break the Chain” provides some more mainstream friendly pop rock & roll, a sound they continue to explore in the following number, “Espacio.” Finally, the project ends with “Forevermore,” a lighter tune influenced by indie rock that wishes to provide hope to every listener out there.
Overall, J. Rochet’s self-titled debut LP is a good display of the band’s mainstream potential while showcasing their blend of a variety of genres within rock & roll.
Listen to J. Rochet on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found J. Rochet’s Facebook
As one of the most active ensembles in the Puerto Rican indie music scene, it was only a matter of time before Misa ‘e Gallo released an album. Thus, in the last days of 2018 the band released their debut, which showcases their blend of various Latin genres with rock & roll and hip hop.
Misa ‘e Gallo’s self-titled debut kicks off with “Sahumerio,” a blend of hip hop, rock and Latin sounds, which serves as a fantastic introduction to the project. Next, “Bien Undel” brings elements of Latin rock, cumbia and hip hop to make listeners dance and headbang. Then “Cervecita” is a relaxing blend of mellow rock vibes and rapping, which then turns into a rock party perfectly serving as an anthem for celebrations and fun weekends at the beach. Afterwards, “Como dice la leyenda” is a blend of bomba, hip hop and Latin jazz that will make listeners move their body in one way or another. Subsequently, “Gravedad” provides some smooth Latin jazz blent with hip hop that will make some dance while others relax. Closing the first half of the project is “Fantasmas,” a dreamy blend of violins, Latin jazz, hip hop and mellow rock & roll.
The second part of the album starts with “¿Quién Sabe?,” a rock & roll tune with elements of funk and hip hop which will surely make some dance. Afterwards, “Yo Nací” is a relaxing blend of Latin jazz, reggae and soul that will have listeners snap their fingers. Subsequently, “Añoranza” is a heavily danceable blend of a variety of Latin sounds, which pays homage to the happy spirit of Latinxs everywhere. Then, “La Clara” is a rock & roll and conscious rap blend, which tackles injustice and political corruption. Next, “El Loco” is another display of the ensemble’s ability to successfully capture and deliver energetic party sounds by fusing a variety of Latin sounds with rock & roll and hip hop. Finally, the LP closes with “Victor Power” a blend of Latin rock and swing music, which will surely have listeners everywhere dancing.
Overall, Misa ‘e Gallo’s self-titled debut is a fantastic project that shows many of the group’s influences as well as their ability to make audiences dance, relax and think in a variety of ways.
Listen to Misa ‘e Gallo on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found on Misa ‘e Gallo’s Facebook
As one of the most promising members of the Puerto Rican underground trap scene, Charlie Boldman was bound to have a very active 2019 and after teasing a project which used Lady Gaga as a form of inspiration for quite a while, it was only a matter time before he released said music. Thus, in order to kick off 2019 properly, he finally released his LVDY GAGA EP, a fast, short and party-worthy presentation that will play well in the nightlife.
LVDY GAGA EP starts off with the autotune-heavy “LVDY GVGV,” a track that will definitely play well in dance floors and strip clubs. Then, “FORZA” features additional vocals by BB Johnson in a tune that will instantly have listeners dancing and shaking their bodies in every way possible. Afterwards, “SITUACIONES X” is a song that serves as a good dance club tune, but it’s one which might even have bedroom potential with its few ethereal elements. LVDY GAGA EP finishes with “BELIAL REMIX,” a track that features Boldman joining forces with Demoniacal Records associate Gaby Chuleta in a tune which presents both artists flexing in a variety of ways while touching on subject matter related to drug use, nightlife and crime.
In short, Charlie Boldman’s LVDY GAGA EP is a short project that shows off the artist’s potential to connect with the nightlife crowd as he continues to master the trap sound. Hopefully, the young musician will deliver more sounds throughout 2019 that show his growth.
Listen to LVDY GAGA EP on Soundcloud
As Puerto Rico’s hip hop continues to stay as one of the most active across Latin America, more musicians explore trap and reggaeton while others focus on lyrical boom bap rap with which they can use their life stories as a way to document the everyday struggle of the common Boricua, a goal R-Two manages to achieve with his latest project, Vida Lucha y Victoria.
Vida Lucha y Victoria kicks off with “Nacimiento,” an easily imaginable scene that presents the rapper’s date of birth to the sounds of bomba, which later transitions to “Desde Un Principio,” a hard hitting boom bap lyrical rap track where the artist chronicles his life while reflecting on everything that made him who he is today. Afterwards, “Mi Vida” presents R-Two rapping over some soulful boom bap as he uses his life as a reflection of the everyday struggle, a topic which is continued in the brief poetry interlude “Vida” by Lady Keys. Then, R-Two pays homage to one of his dearest loved ones in “Una Para Hakeem,” a jazz rap tune that sees him remembering good times, showing love and delivering advice to said person. The project continues with “Insomnia (Mi Barrio) [3 K-Ys Remix],” a jazzy and soulful boom bap song that presents R-Two showing love to the people and environment that made him. Next, “...vs. la Muerte” displays R-Two’s lyrical and storytelling abilities in a tale that shows him reflecting on goals, dreams, success and death. The first part of Vida Lucha y Victoria ends with “Metiendo Mano” where R-Two raps about being focused and working hard in order to achieve his dreams.
The second half of Vida Lucha y Victoria starts with “Dulce Juego (Wou!),” a soulful rap track that shows R-Two exploring the field of love. Afterwards, “Lucha” is a spoken word interlude by Lady Keys that encapsulates the topic in the title in a variety of ways, which blends with “Interludio,” a brief commentary on the relationship between resistance and poetry. Then, “Supernova” shows the rapper reflecting on people’s comments regarding what artists should do to achieve pop star success. Next, “Herencia” presents R-Two, Enigma and eBrs touching on the subject of inheritance from a variety of perspectives be it cultural, historical or through family. The project continues with “La Orquidea,” an introspective tune that shows R-Two reflecting on the beauties that can come out of hardship and struggle. Afterwards, “Hijos de Otra Era” presents R-Two joining forces with Eric “El Niño” to provide conscious raps regarding education and fake accounts of history. Finally, Vida Lucha y Victoria finishes with “Victoria,” a jazzy and soulful collaboration with Ikol Santiago and Lady Keys that celebrates victory in the face of any adversity.
As one of the best lyrical rappers in Puerto Rico, it comes as no surprise that R-Two’s Vida Lucha y Victoria was a perfect display of the artist’s abilities. However, what makes the album so good is it’s cohesiveness showing how the rapper managed to stick to his own style while delivering a fantastic and concise project that touches on a variety of subjects, thus making it one of 2018’s best.
Listen to Vida Lucha y Victoria on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in R-Two’s Facebook
As 2019 slowly kicks off, artists in the Puerto Rican independent music scene are slowly putting out a variety of singles thus letting the world know that the island has something to say. Hence, February became yet another month with quite a few songs to find and look out for.
“HANG ON” by saintmist
A trap tune influenced by the psychedelic hip hop by Kid Cudi, saintmist’s “HANG ON” is an introspective ethereal tune that presents the artist touching on themes of love, self and friendship.
“SECRETOS” by TIAGO STA. CRUZ
A psychedelic and surreal tune, TIAGO STA. CRUZ’s “SECRETOS” sees the musician exploring melodies in a track that will take listeners on a short trip.
“Sharingan” by PHNTMFLEX
A trap tune that features some aggressive bass, PHNTMFLEX’s “Sharingan” has the artist looking at the state of hip hop as he flexes on his skills and compares himself to greatness.
“press play” by seint
After not releasing for a few months, beatmaker Seint returns with a relaxing and laid back beat that definitely plays well on repeat.
“Flow Cocolo” by Tongo
A hip hop track that embraces salsa and psychedelia, Tongo’s “Flow Cocolo” is a fun and infectious song that will surely play well in parties.
“Slipknot = Suicide” by BLACKCROW ft. Blackwill
An emo trap tune mixed with horrorcore elements, BLACKCROW and Blackwill’s latest collaboration is a tune that will create mosh pits in live performances.
“Quédate Sin Aire” and “El Anticristo” by Skeptic
After celebrating his album Boca de Lobo for the entirety of 2018, Skeptic kicked off 2019 with the ethereal tune “Quédate Sin Aire,” a love story that features his spoken word style. In addition, the dark and alternative song “El Anticristo,” sees him practicing his spoken word rapping style while using the antichrist to reflect on the current state of the arts, culture and Puerto Rico.
“Loverboy” by Mr. Kraken & the Wattz
A tune that sees the diaspora-based musician exploring the field of electronic music in the form of synth pop, “Loverboy” is a love story that will surely make listeners dance.
“Camino Sola” by Lizbeth Román
A blend of various Latin genres that range from cumbia to merengue to bomba, Lizbeth Román’s “Camino Sola” is an empowering tune for women everywhere.
“6TEEN” by KENDEVILL ft. BLACKCROW
Influenced by emo and rock acoustics, the latest collaboration between KENDEVILL and BLACKCROW sees both musicians reflecting on their youth over a simple trap beat that captures the essence of their subject.
“¿Cómo Pasó?” by Adames
A blend of trap, R&B and pop, Adames's latest tune shows him growing as an artist as he experiments with different sounds and melodies.
“Te Picheo” by Athan
A trap beat mixed with melodies, Athan’s “Te Picheo” sees the young artist exploring themes such as love and communication as well as use drug.
“DEONTAY” by Angel Wavy ft. Ura de Jezus
Another addition to the trap sub-genre, Angel Wavy and Ura de Jezus’s “DEONTAY” features many of the sound’s staples such as flexing and nightlife themes over a danceable beat.
“Suite HRTBRK” by Envy
Rapper and singer Envy continues to be one of the most active members of the Puerto Rican independent scene by releasing yet another single this time in the form of “Suite HRTBRK,” a tune that will play well in the bedroom and yet another track which continues to display his growth in the field of trap influenced R&B and soul.
“Kingky” by Émina
Released earlier in the year, Émina’s “Kingky” is a laid back, relaxing and soulful jazz and R&B blend that celebrates the great experiences provided by love and the act of sex.
“xxx-xx-sinhablar” by orteez ft. Los Rarxs
After a very active 2018, Los Rarxs come back with the orteez headlined single “xxx-xx-sinhablar,” a reggaeton influenced R&B tune that will definitely play in the bedroom with its relaxing and smooth energy.
“Hazmelo (Ride Slow Spanish Rmx)” by AcMetta
A blend of R&B and trap, AC Metta’s “Hazmelo (Ride Slow Spanish Rmx)” is a tune that will definitely play well in late night playlists with its love and sex fueled content and smooth vibe.
“Al Revés” by Los Wálters ft. Andrea Cruz
Los Wálters continue to deliver singles on a monthly basis this time with the Andrea Cruz assisted “Al Revés,” a fun and highly danceable synthpop tune that continues to show the group’s mastery of their craft.
“Andar” and “Prender” by Pheelin
As one of the most active musicians in the scene recently, Pheelin gifted two new demo instrumentals on Valentine’s Day in the form of “Andar” and “Prender.” The first of these is a nice and relaxing blend of indie rock and bedroom pop that might have some listeners dancing a bit and others just laying back after a hard day of work. Meanwhile, “Prender” follows the same vibe set by the previous tune while also serving as a tune that might play well in coming-of-age cinema.
“#S2S” by stz ft. erre & orteez
Using a trap beat by orteez to display lyrical and melodic skills along with bilingual abilities, the new collaboration between stz and erre is a great tune that explores trust and secrecy.
“Metas y Tatuajes” by Reyes †††
As one of the most active young rappers in the scene right now, Reyes ††† continues to explore lo-fi jazz raps in his latest single where he once again shows his lyrical skills and introspective rhymes.
“Cocotero (Solo Remix)” by Siloe Andino
A soulful, jazzy and banging boom bap tune, the recent remix to Siloe Andino’s “Cocotero” displays the artist’s lyricism in a track where addresses what it means to be a rapper.
“Razones” by Tommy Blanco
A banging trap tune that will surely do well when performed live, Tommy Blanco’s latest single explores the theme of trust in a variety of ways.
“Melón” by Medianogrande
The first single by the indie rock group Medianogrande displays the band’s mainstream appeal and danceable grooves mixed with story-driven lyrics.
“No Key” by Envy and STZ
A collaboration by two of the most active independent Puerto Rican musicians in trap and R&B right now, the latest collaboration by Envy and STZ displays rapping and melodic skills as well as flexing, storytelling and reflection on success.
“Ya no hay vuelta atrás” by Joba Pérez
An introspective and romantic tune, singer-songwriter Joba Pérez’s first single demonstrates the young artist’s pop and mainstream potential alongside his Latin rock and classical music influences.
“Poema de una Rosa” by Yareh
Influenced by bossa nova and Latin ballads, the latest single by young Caguas singer-songwriter Yareh is a romantic tune that shows him displaying his melodic skills and image-filled lyrics.
“Le Meto” by Mike Rodz
A homage to reggaetón and his grind, Mike Rodz’s latest single shows him rapping over reggaetón hip hop blend that sees him reflecting on his lyrical skills and work ethic.
“¿Quién Carajo?” by El Guanín de Tu Tío
A surreal beat with a bit of trap, El Guanín de Tu Tío’s latest track is a weird tune that will surely intrigue listeners all around.
“WAKE N BEIKI” by YUNG BOI
A short but to-the-point tune, YUNG BOI’s “WAKE N BEIKI” shows the young musician exploring lo-fi boom bap production while displaying his lyrical skills.
“Si Vuelvo a Caer” and “La Ventana” by RE-ANIMADORES
Serving as singles for the group’s upcoming album, “Si Vuelvo A Caer” and “La Ventana” demonstrate the band’s indie rock, garage rock and punk influences.
“Dejection” by Yung Lecter
An exploration of lo-fi emo hip hop, Yung Lecter’s latest track continues to show the artist exploring the aforementioned sub-genre alongside love and depression while displaying storytelling abilities.
“LA QUE ME ENAMORA” by ED MRTNZ
A blend of reggaetón and electronic music, the latest ED MRTNZ single is a love-driven track sung in autotune.
“Perderme” by Fisicos
The once known as Jorge y Los Físicos and now simply going as Físicos embrace February with a new single, “Perderme” attached to a music video co-produced by COMO IMÁGENES. The single features the group blending pop rock, blues and psychedelia as they continue to grow.
“A ti llegar” by Andrea Beltran
A fusion of Latin pop rock and ballads, Andrea Beltrán’s “A ti llegar” is a loveable, sweet and moving song.
“SCALABRINI” by Kid WowZa
Featuring a bouncy trap beat, Kid WowZa’s latest single is a fun homage to basketball as the young rapper displays lyrical skills and storytelling abilities.
“Kiero Bailar” by Modafoca
A hardcore punk tune that criticizes the current political status while presenting the celebration that would ensue if it was debunked, Modafoca’s latest single is headbang and mosh pit worthy tune that will definitely have listeners moving.
“Véngole” by Andrea Cruz ft. Gaby Moreno
Accompanied by singer Gaby Moreno as they explore the menstrual cycle, Andrea Cruz’s first led single after the release of her debut album Tejido de Laurel, “Véngole,” sees the young musician continuing to expand her indie folk driven sound while displaying her vocal skills.
As these past few months have shown, the Puerto Rican independent art scene shows no signs of slowing down. February 2019 was yet another example of the ever growing and active movement coming out of the crisis filled island demonstrating that, despite the difficulties, artists have found a way to shown some light.
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.