To say that Puerto Rico’s electronic music scene is one of the fastest growing movements in the island would be an understatement. Every day more and more artists are exploring the field and finding interesting ways of self-expression. One of the many emerging musicians to be coming out of the scene is Mau Lynx who, alongside others like Labajura and Furry Vowels, is making sure to bring something new to the table while still making listeners dance and reflect, which he manages to successfully achieve with his new video single “F.E.D.”
(still from the video)
Featuring guest vocals by Caithlin De Marrais and direction by Amy Leonard, Mau Lynx’s latest video single takes into outer space to tell a story about what seems to be self-reflection and finding of one’s identity. However, this is not to be taken as the one and only interpretation. As the description of the video reads this is a “[s]neak preview into the new series, 'The Art of Dumping'.” Thus, while I might think this song is all about finding one’s place in the universe, others might think of it as a track inspired by heartbreak.
(still from the video)
In the end, Mau Lynx manages to deliver a great danceable and thought-provoking video single that will have audiences shaking their hips for a while and then thinking about the track’s story, which further enhances the impact electronic music can have on its listeners and brings something new to the ever-growing scene in Puerto Rico.
Watch “F.E.D.” on Vimeo
Every day Puerto Rico’s independent art scene continues to grow. However, one of the areas that is barely mentioned from the movement is its literature community. But last Saturday July 21st two up-and-coming writers, Sabana Grande’s Patrick Oneill and Moca’s Anthony Acevedo, got together in Aguadilla’s La Casita Books & Gifts to present their latest short story collections, Rio Muerto and Cortoga respectively, which use the genre of horror to reflect on society’s dark side.
(promo for the event)
Once the audience sat down and got comfortable, the book presentation started with a brief Q&A held by fellow writer Omar Palermo who served as the moderator for the event. Among the many questions asked were some involving how Oneill and Acevedo started writing, their influences, the inspiration behind their new texts, their thoughts on the current status of horror literature in Puerto Rico and how their lives were reflected in any of the short stories.
After the brief Q&A, the writers were given the space to read some fragments of their books. Oneill kicked things off by reading the introduction of his short story “Necromater” and then Acevedo provided listeners a glimpse into his “La Balada del Carnicero”. However, the texts weren’t read in full as both authors felt that the rest would be too gruesome to be read out loud and the audience seemed to think so too as some felt a bit grossed out by the images provided in the stories.
The event finished after the young authors answered questions that ranged from how these texts might affect young readers, the mission of these books and if the writers would be willing to work in the field of comic books. In the end, Oneill and Acevedo managed to create dialogue with the audience regarding a variety of topics, some of which included the current status of Puerto Rico and how these stories reflect that. Thus, what seemed to be a simple presentation of horror fiction became a deeper conversation about reflecting on one’s country and what we can do to rehabilitate it, which goes to show that if horror is written properly it can make one reflect on the more important aspects of life.
Find Rio Muerto and Cortoga
As the Puerto Rican independent music scene continues to grow, more musicians from the diaspora are coming back to the island to perform. Some of the bands to keep their presence in the diaspora and Puerto Rico are the electronic groups Buscabulla and Los Walters, while others like Campo-Formio, Orquesta El Macabeo, Los Petardos! and Dan Siego find ways to spread their music while continuing to perform regularly across the homeland. However, one ensemble that hadn’t been able to present their work in Puerto Rico was The Mona Passage, a prog-rock band from the diaspora led by Nuyorican poet Bonafide Rojas. But that all changed this past weekend when the group shared the stage with Cologne in Mayagüez’s La Tertulia en mi Tierra.
(promo for the event by Anthony Acevedo)
Kicking off the Thursday July 19th night was the west coast indie rock influenced band Cologne who shared their blend of hard, garage and prog-rock making audiences dance, head bang, sing and air guitar to melodies filled with danceable beats and wailing guitars successfully starting what would be a really fun event.
(pictures by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
After Cologne came the guests from the diaspora, the prog-rock group The Mona Passage. Led by poet and guitarist Bonafide Rojas and vocalist Yabey, the experimental band shared their fantastic mixture of spoken word poetry and psychedelic space rock displaying a wide range of influences while creating their own original sound. Furthermore, the ensemble was able to show their love for the Puerto Rico and have some form of open dialogue between island Puerto Ricans and those from the diaspora.
(pictures by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
Last Thursday July 19th was a night about connecting with our brothers from the diaspora through the sweet sounds of rock n’ roll. By having Cologne and The Mona Passage perform together, the audience was treated to the type of dialogue Boricuas from every corner of the world need to have in order to connect as a community.
Listen to The Mona Passage on Spotify and Cologne on Soundcloud
As Puerto Rico’s independent music scene continues to grow, many artists continue to blend a variety of sounds displaying more and more potential to break the wall that keeps them from attaining some form of mainstream success. Among the many indie artists to slowly do this are salsa group Orquesta El Macabeo, hip-hop mixologist PJ Sin Suela and folk singer songwriter Andrea Cruz. However, another artist who is showing signs of potentially gaining said attention is Jota Santa who puts his artistic powers in full display in his self-titled debut EP.
(EP cover art)
To start his project properly, Jota Santa kicks off with “La Musica por Dentro,” a short yet powerful tribute to music and the muses in the form of an acoustic guitar driven blend of pop folk and hip-hop. From there, Santa moves into “Paso a Paso,” another pop folk tune that touches aspects of love and affection. Afterwards, we are treated to “Adios,” a hip-hop and pop folk collaboration with Madvado about leaving a loved one behind.
Moving on to the second half of his EP, Jota Santa quickly gives listeners “Corazon Estupido,” a song that leans more on the side of traditional upbeat Latin pop folk, which continues to enhance his mainstream appeal. From there, the project moves towards another Madvado collaboration in “Tu Cura,” a more electro hip hop driven track that every now and then uses a bit of autotune, melodies and darker sounds, which will probably have some creating images of futuristic neon lights. Closing the EP is “Querido Gobe,” an electro and boom-bap hip hop mixture that presents Santa’s lyrical abilities in an open letter where he expresses everything he thinks about the current political climate of Puerto Rico.
Jota Santa’s self-titled debut EP is a great blend of pop folk and hip hop that, if given a chance, will greatly appeal to mainstream audiences. By finely blending these two genres alongside lyrical themes that many can connect with, Jota Santa might just find himself joining the ranks of artists like PJ Sin Suela, Andrea Cruz and Orquesta El Macabeo as another independent musician who has found a way to break the gap that separates the underground and the audience at large.
Listen to “Jota Santa EP” on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found on Jota Santa’s Facebook page
Among the independent music scene in Puerto Rico there are a variety of musicians who are always willing to use satire as a way to critique certain social aspects. However, not many of them are willing to do so in sounds that don’t gain big mainstream appeal. Enter Los Dannis, a hardcore punk and surf rock influenced trio who isn’t afraid to make fun of the world around them while being staying true to the argument at hand, something they manage to execute perfectly in their debut EP “El Minicombo.”
(cover for Los Dannis' debut EP)
Los Dannis’ comically titled debut EP kicks off with “El Mas Calle,” a satirical surf rock and punk influenced track making fun of people trying to portray a tough guy image to gain some form of attention or just to appear as a menace. We are then moved to “Kako,” a short-and-to-the-point tune that satirizes the stereotype created out of fans of more “urban” genres of music like reggaeton and trap. Afterwards, Los Dannis present “Envydioso,” a more melodic hardcore song that touches on the subject presented in the title, jealousy.
As “El Minicombo” comes to a close listeners are provided with another surf rock influenced number with the live version of the band’s “Mt. Viggy,” which is another fun addition to the EP. Finally, the project with the psychedelic rock and punk rock blend of “Majarete,” a very interesting and creative track that closes “El Minicombo” with a mix of surreal and comedic soundscapes making this EP one that shouldn’t go under the radars of punk and experimental music fans.
With “El Minicombo,” Los Dannis are able to balance a variety of their influences and present their unique sound. Everything from hardcore and surf rock to psychedelia and satire is blended into a nice combo of fun punk rock that will have many dancing, head banging and laughing their butts off making this project a great listen with high replay value.
Listen to “El Minicombo” on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in Los Dannis’ Facebook page
“Un Juego Incierto": San Juan's Desahuciados Leave It All Out There in a Short But Powerful Display of Emotion
It has been made obvious so far that genres like punk and metal will probably remain underground in Puerto Rico. However, as mentioned in a previous article, this does not discourage artists from exploring said genres in order to express themselves. Another band to take this road is the San Juan-based trio Desahuciados, one of the most active post-punk groups to come out in the past two years. While the group has released a couple of demos in the past, at the end of last year they released “Un Juego Incierto,” a short but powerful EP that puts in full display their raw and aggressive sound.
(cover art for the EP)
A very short but very informative project, “Un Juego Incierto” starts off with “Decidir,” a slow yet powerful post-punk and doom metal influenced track that instantly transmits the frustration and anger kept inside by the musicians. The EP then finishes with its five-minute title tune, which is another display of raw emotion through some slow and heavy instrumentation inspired by the aforementioned genres. Though the project may be short, “Un Juego Incierto” is certainly a powerful expression of emotions that will land perfectly with listeners of more hardcore sounds.
(picture found in Desahuciados’ Facebook page)
With “Un Juego Incierto,” Desahuciados manage to put in display their post-punk and doom metal influences while being able to present their own sound. While it will be hard to achieve any sort of mainstream appeal in the island, if they eventually want that, it doesn’t really matter as the band slowly continues to grow, leave their mark and connect with others in the Puerto Rican underground rock scene.
Listen to “Un Juego Incierto” on Bandcamp
As part of their efforts to support the artistic community at large, Mayaguez’s Off The Wall these past few months has been providing a space for painters and other visual artists each Tuesday. In the weekly event adequately named “mARTES,” artists are given the opportunity to display their skills while making an original design that takes into consideration the location and the classic Volkswagen bus. Among the many who have stepped into the spot to put their work out there have been Marisely “Sely” Lugo, Jose Julian Rivera, Eva Ortiz and Paula Zoe Acosta. Recently, young artist and designer Karla Heloise took the stage to bring her own vision into the project.
(promo for the event by Derick Joel)
It was a regular Tuesday night and members of the young community in Mayaguez had recently finished the first summer session offered by the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez allowing them to enjoy the remaining days of the season. As Off The Wall’s doors maintained open for the people, Karla Heloise had some of her work in display as she started to paint live. Later, as the night progressed fueled by a very varied playlist of music, friends and audience quickly arrived to her side to admire and question her work. At one point, it seemed like it would become too hard for her to focus. However, it was good to see so much support for a young up-and-coming artist.
(works by Heloise and the artist at work, pictures by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
(Heloise's contribution, picture provided by the artist)
Though a spot like Off The Wall might be a little difficult for artists to completely focus on their work due to the amount of people that might interfere them, it is still a great location for young up-and-comers to present their work. Last Tuesday July 10th, 2018 was another night for a young artist, in this case Karla Heloise, to put her work in display while also showing part of her creative process. Hopefully, places like Off The Wall in Mayaguez continue to provide a space for artists to work on new creations and forms of expression while interacting with the audience at large.
"A Light That Leads You Home": Light the Path Hold Their Melodic Hardcore Influences on Their Sleeves as They Motivate You To Be Yourself
A few of the music genres that have never made it to the Puerto Rican mainstream are boom-bap hip-hop, punk, metal or metalcore. However, this has never stopped artists from exploring these genres and using them as avenues to express themselves. One of the groups to recently cement themselves as another addition to these types of underground genres is Light the Path, a Fajardo-based quintet that through their first EP, “A Light That Leads You Home,” wear their melodic hardcore influences on their sleeves as they try to inspire others.
(cover art for the EP)
Light the Path’s debut EP kicks off with the nice and short “Intro” that prepares listeners for the upcoming few minutes of music. Then we are delivered with “Believe,” a traditional melodic hardcore track that explores the theme of hope through a matter of teamwork. Afterwards, the band closes the first half of their project with “Start to Breathe,” another melodic hardcore tune that manages to perfectly balance the lighter and darker tones of the genre.
With the second half of “A Light That Leads You Home,” Light the Path deliver clearer messages and continue to display their abilities within their genre of preference. Kicking off with “Open Your Eyes,” the band presents a song about believing in one’s own strength to achieve anything. In addition to this great message, the track is one that would motivate audiences to create mosh pits. From there we are moved to “Burn,” a track that displays some influences from the hardcore punk of the 1980's while angrily bashing anyone willing to change one’s way of living. Finally, Light the Path end their project with “One More Game,” a good closure to the project as it touches on the concept of following one’s path without having people’s opinions deviate that, an idea that isn’t far off from others explored in the EP.
In sum, Light the Path’s “A Light That Leads You Home” is a motivational one both musically and lyrically. It is a project that inspires others to be themselves while demonstrating that musicians across the island aren’t afraid of expressing themselves in what are deemed as much more dark and less accessible mediums of creativity. In short, it is an EP that shows how Puerto Rico’s rock & roll underground is far from dead.
Listen to “A Light That Leads You Home” on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in Light the Path’s Facebook page
As the independent music scene in Puerto Rico continues to grow and spread, the west side of the island is slowly getting more attention as more events are organized daily and more artists based on the area choose to perform outside of their comfort zone. One of the most active bands to come out of this coast is Alma Nebula and recently the pop rock trio decided to finally give their listeners a taste for them to take on the go with their first EP, “Laberintos y Dimensiones.”
(cover art for the EP as found on the band’s Facebook page)
In order to start their debut EP, Alma Nebula decide to give listeners a mainstream-appealing love song with “Un Rato Mas (Dale Ven Aqui),” a tune that puts in full display their pop rock, pop punk and late 1990s and early 2000s Latin Rock influences. Then the band provides the EP’s title track, another pop rock track that features a pretty good guitar solo showing their willingness to stretch their artistic boundaries a bit.
As the project moves along, we are treated with “#Medivierte,” the most moving and danceable song in the entire project as the band presents a fun-loving track that is influenced by genres like ska and arena rock with its nice use of trumpets and other wind instruments. To close “Laberintos y Dimensiones,” Alma Nebula delivers “Frenesi,” the darkest tune in the EP, which blends pop rock and metalcore in a song about passionate love.
In short, “Laberintos y Dimensiones” shows Alma Nebula’s brand of pop rock. Though the project is short and doesn’t show the trio’s full extent of genre blending, it is an okay offering for mainstream audiences looking for something new as it shows a group still finding their own sound.
Listen to “Laberintos y Dimensiones” on Spotify
As the Puerto Rican independent scene continues to grow, many artists continue to display their influences on their shoulders. One of the bands to do so is Baby Bhang, a rock trio influenced by genres like garage rock, pop punk and pop rock. While the group recently released their debut album We’ve Got Something To Say and You Better Listen, it is good to take a step back and look at their first EP, “Monkey Food,” in order to see their growth as artists.
(cover art for the EP)
Kicking off “Monkey Food” is “Rock & Rolla,” a garage rock and pop punk blend that explores what it means to be a female in rock and roll. While the song feels a little overproduced, it shows that the band has the ability to mix lighter and rougher sounds to create something different. Afterwards, listeners are treated with the mainstream appealing “Road Trip,” a pop rock tune that seems to be aimed at younger crowds looking for a perfect summer song. Then, the trio close the first half of their EP with “The Process,” a love song that could be interpreted in a variety of ways, two of which could be platonic love or the type where one waits for the other person to decide what they want to do, be “official” or remain friends.
Starting the second half of the EP is probably one of the most questionable productions delivered in the project, “Cliche.” Though the song touches on interesting subject matter lyrically, the tune, much like “Rock & Rolla,” feels like it was very overproduced by the people involved in the recording process. Finally, to close “Monkey Food,” audiences are provided “Crude,” a track that questions the subject of identity once one gets into any form of relationship.
In closure, with “Monkey Food,” Baby Bhang presents their influences on their sleeves while lyrically exploring different subject matter setting them apart from other groups in the fields of pop rock, pop punk and garage rock. While the band shows this experimentation, this first project also demonstrates that they have lots of room to grow.
Listen to “Monkey Food” on Spotify
All the pictures on this article were found in Baby Bhang’s Facebook page
Puerto Rico’s independent music scene has a variety of musicians coming up across all genres. One of the bands to receive a lot of support from the community all over the island is the rock trio Jorge & Los Físicos. Thus, as they gear up to release their second EP soon, it is nice to take a look back at their first EP, “Tierra,” where they showcased their classic rock, blues and 1990s rock influence.
(cover art for the EP)
As the amount of art and content pumping in and out every day becomes broader and broader, it is hard for musicians to leave a good impact on listeners. With “Tierra,” Jorge & Los Físicos manage to deliver a short project while displaying many of their influences. Starting the EP with “Nuevo Amanecer,” the trio touch on the subject of moving forward while rocking a nice acoustic guitar reminiscent of Latin Rock of the 1990s. Afterwards, we are provided “Mi Angel,” a love song inspired by classic blues giving a glimpse of how old school the band is willing to look for motivation. Closing the EP is “La Vida Buena,” a tune influenced by the work of Jimi Hendrix, Red Hot Chili Peppers and 1990s Latin Rock that tells a story about enjoying nightlife partying.
In short, “Tierra” is a fun and short EP that clearly displays Jorge & Los Físicos’ many influences while showing a lot of promise. In addition, this band is one that presents mainstream potential as the subject matter in their lyrics thus far is either inspiring, fun or love-related, themes that highly connect with large crowds.
Listen to “Tierra” on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found in Jorge & Los Fisicos’ Facebook page
While Puerto Rico’s stamp on hip-hop is firmly cemented with artists like Vico C, Big Pun, Fat Joe, N.O.R.E., Jim Jones and Joell Ortiz as well as the large wave of artists who made reggaeton a mainstream success and others now making it into the mainstream through Latin Trap, there are still some island-based musicians that have yet to receive the proper respect by mainstream audiences or the community at large. One of the many Puerto Rican hip-hop musicians to not receive said respect is the always prolific luchador-mask-wearing producer Recluso who has been recently known for his Fania Beats series and his constant organization of events celebrating the instrumental hip-hop scene in the island. However, while the artist did all of the aforementioned, he also managed to release a new project and his first on Spotify with Los Beats No Se Hacen Solos, where he continues to display his masterful work with beats while providing a variety of emotions, images and stories.
(album cover art)
Kicking off the first half of Recluso’s new project is the smooth and laid back “Ondas de Amor,” which can transport one to a beautiful and lovely event in one’s life such as one’s first love, wedding day or even the birth of one’s child(ren). In short, it is a beat that will make listeners remember moments in their lives that give them warm and happy feelings. The next track in the album is “Viaje Astral,” another laid back beat that will have listeners relaxing, especially if they are under the effects of some psychedelic drug. Afterwards, we are provided with a more headbob-worthy tune with “Alma Adentro,” a song that can perfectly lend itself to any rapper looking for an introspective beat. Then we are treated with “Entre Cuerdas,” a salsa piano and R&B influenced beat that can easily be added to anybody’s bedroom playlist. Afterwards, the masked producer provides “Arriba y Abajo,” a song that perfectly reflects the middle to low class communities’ everyday struggle to make money for daily survival. Finally, to close the first half of the project, listeners are presented with “Corazon de Fuego,” a psychedelic beat that feels like the sweat dropping out of the working class’s forehead.
(Recluso with one of the many musical instruments in his arsenal)
As the tape begins its second half, listeners are given a beautiful track with “Vibra Universal,” a beat that ultimately projects what Recluso seems to want for the world, universal peace. Following this tune is “Naturaleza Sintetizada,” a futuristic beat that seems like it can be a part of a variety of sci-fi films and one that can make listeners imagine what would happen if nature is ultimately destroyed. Next comes “Triste Soledad,” a dark and sad beat that creates the exact image presented in the title, loneliness. After this dark moment, Recluso moves towards a lighter tone with “Nada Importa Ya,” a song that could be interpreted in different ways, but ultimately seems to present the theme of closure in a positive way. Then we are treated with another dark tune in “Pesado Pasado,” which can be seen in a variety of ways too, but seems to be a reflection of Puerto Rico’s troubled past. Finally, to close the project, Recluso delivers “Infinito,” a moving beat that will leave listeners firmly believing that the masked producer isn’t done yet. Moreover, it proves that, despite having a career that spans over ten years, Recluso is still determined to leave a long lasting impact in the field he loves.
(art featuring Recluso's mask)
With Los Beats No Se Hacen Solos, Recluso manages to display his ability to seamlessly balance a wide variety of beats that will have listeners feeling a large amount of emotions while creating potential images of the future or remembering many personal or external life events. Through this short yet powerful and concise album, Recluso truly demonstrates why he is one of the most underrated hip-hop musicians in recent times.
Listen to Los Beats No Se Hacen Solos on Spotify
Find the rest of Recluso’s catalogue on Bandcamp
All of the pictures for this article were found on Recluso’s Facebook page
In Puerto Rico’s independent music scene, there are few bands that could be considered supergroups. In fact, two groups that could be considered in that conversation are the conscious salsa ensemble Orquesta El Macabeo, which is composed of musicians with projects focused on genres like punk, metal, rock and hip-hop, and the dream-pop quartet DOGOS, which is made of members of projects like Las Abejas, Mau Lynx, Dan Siego, Labajura, Furry Vowels and Los Walters. But, while Macabeo has released a variety of albums and EPs for a decade now, DOGOS just recently released their debut self-titled project, a concise mix of dreamy and danceable indie rock tracks for the entire summer.
(art by Camila Buxeda)
DOGOS start off their debut with “Deja de Correr,” a nice and smooth dreamy indie rock-influenced instrumental that will make some dance and others chill while serving as a perfect introduction for the entirety of the project. Next comes “Disimula,” the first track in the album to have lyrics, but, like other tunes in the project, this one features lyrics that feel like a poem rather than words originally written to have a melody. Following the second song is “¿Como Te Va?,” a tune that strikes you with its masterful vocals. It is the type of track that makes you feel like a deity is talking to the listeners about social media while surfing angels provide some danceable surf rock influenced dream pop. In short, the song is truly a highlight and it can easily be imagined as a painting, picture, GIF or video. Finishing the first half of the project is “Ventana,” another ethereal indie rock track mixed with 1980s inspired percussion displaying more of the band’s influences.
(art by @pseudokare)
The second half of DOGOS’ self-titled debut starts with “La Linda,” a dream-pop track that can easily be imagined as a part of an indie movie soundtrack. From there, the project moves towards another instrumental in “Wayne,” a surf-rock influenced dream-pop/dance rock tune to keep the listener dancing as the album slowly comes to a closure. Then comes “Restaurante en el Fin del Universo,” one of the longest songs in the project and one of the most danceable and dreamy ones that perfectly displays the group’s ability to mix these two elements. Finally, DOGOS’ self-titled debut closes with the promotional single “Madrid,” which is a perfect way to finish the project as it continues to display their ability to blend dream-pop, indie rock and dance rock while telling a story that could be interpreted in a variety of ways.
(art by @escopetapica)
With their self-titled debut project, DOGOS show why they are definitely one of the best bands in Puerto Rico’s independent music scene as they manage to present a short, but very concise and highly replayable album that displays their ability to blend dream-pop, indie rock and dance rock while showing a few other influences from the field of surf rock and abstract storytelling.
Listen to DOGOS’ debut on their Spotify
All of the pictures in this article are alternate covers for the project by different artists and they were all found on DOGOS’ Facebook page
As the summer continues to get hotter, so is the amount of music being released by independent Puerto Rican musicians, especially from those in the genres related to hip-hop and electronic music. Here are just a few of the singles released and/or found across the month of June from the Boricua indie scene.
“Kodamas” by Furry Vowels feat. Mau Lynx
Released earlier this year, rather than June, the latest collaboration by Furry Vowels and Mau Lynx is definitely a gem among the large amount of music being uploaded to the internet daily. “Kodamas” is a fantastically danceable synthpop number that will definitely have listeners dancing and imagining themselves as part of a neon-lighted future as they delve into a few surprises in the latter part of the track’s four-minute running time.
“Mensaje de Texto” by Paradize feat. Joyce Santana & Brray
A new addition to the new wave of dancehall and reggaeton, this collaboration by Paradize, Joyce Santana and Brray is a love and sex-fueled tune that will definitely have listeners dancing everywhere be it a house party, disco, bar or the streets.
“Wish” by 6ELA feat. Envy
Another addition to the ever growing catalogue of Puerto Rican trap, this one features 6ELA and Envy dipping themselves into the more melodic fueled as they present their Lil Uzi Vert, Trippie Redd and XXXTentacion influences. For those who love melodic trap, this is definitely a fine addition to their playlists.
“SunKissss Mix” by Reyes†††
Released at the end of the month, the latest single by the young rapper presents a new side to him. Though the track has no lyrics, the tune displays the artist’s willingness to explore with different genres, more specifically house, while maintaining his signature lo-fi aesthetic, which begs one to question what he would do if he produces a project made entirely out of electronic music.
“Se Revelo” by JANMARCUS
Produced by Young Cauty, Manny Dreads and Yizuscomosuena, the latest JANMARCUS single, "Se Revelo," is another sex-fueled reggaeton track that will have many dancing to the floor as neon-lights flash before them.
“Compendio” by Vladi
A mixture of classic boom-bap rap with lo-fi aesthetics, Vladi’s “Compendio” is another display of the rappers sharp lyricism as he mixes themes like the power of hip-hop to influence the community, his lyrical prowess and how he wants to help those close to him.
“Despojo” Kombo the X Writer feat. Arliana
Featuring art by Mike Rodz, production by Huztle and beautiful singing by Arliana, Kombo the X Writer’s “Despojo” is another beautiful jazz-rap track with mainstream appeal that explores a variety of topics, but one of these being the concept of legacy and what one does to succeed in creating a clean one.
“Animal” by FOKINFROID
A short yet vocally experimental trap track by FOKINFROID, “Animal” is a single that explores the glorification of excess that will have listeners headbanging. However, what might kill this song for audiences is its very short running time. Perhaps thirty more seconds might have made this tune better, but that’s just my opinion.
“Jugo’e Piña” by Füete Billēte feat. Enuma
Arguably the originators of trap in Puerto Rico, Fuete Billete alongside Enuma return once more with this sex-fueled trap banger that will have some dancing and others going to their bedrooms, or preferred spot for sexual activities, as they listen to this psychedelic and ethereal mix of R&B and trap.
“Bájale” by Labajura
After spending a lot of time performing in various locations across Puerto Rico and the United States, Labajura returned to the studio to prepare his new project. Afterwards, he decided to provide listeners with this sexy and Vento Alejandro guitar-driven electro-disco number that will definitely make listeners move their feet, shake their booties and head bang. If you have yet to add this to your nightlife playlist, don’t waste anymore time.
“Reply” by Envy
Produced by FRVRFRIDAY, the new Envy single is a nice entry into the ever growing catalogue of Puerto Rican alternative R&B. As usual with the genre, the track is a love song that explores the topic stated in the tune’s title through a variety of situations. While many songs in this genre lend themselves for bedroom playlists, I believe this one is better off as an exploration on the subject stated in the title rather than just a throwaway tune to put in the background. However, while kudos are given for the lyrical exploration, the song suffers from a short running time as said themes could have been further explored or developed. Regardless, “Reply” is a strong display of Envy’s potential mainstream appeal and star power.
“In Tartarus” by Mr. Kraken
Mr. Kraken returns with this latest lo-fi produced indie rock and stoner rock influenced single “In Tartarus.” Featuring some chilling guitars and the ever haunting vocals provided by Kraken, this new track continues to show the band’s growth and multiple influences.
“Como nosotros” by Yamil Arany
Produced by Bravo and Dani The Greatest, Yamil Arany’s “Como nosotros” is a single that explores similar musical and lyrical territory as many other members of the genre while heavily relying on the beat.
“Me compre un full” by Luciano and Cokaine
A track that lyrically and sonically follows the old school trap created by rappers like T.I., Jeezy and Gucci Mane, “Me compre un full” by Luciano and Cokaine explores the harsh lifestyle of the gangster underground and the tribulations one must undergo to escape it.
“Cosa Nostra” by OMVR X JC feat. Gaby Chuleta
Another hype trap track by the duo, “Cosa Nostra” displays OMVR X JC signature mixture of cloud/mumble-style lyrics paired alongside aggressively delivered flows as they continue to rap about their dominance in the underground and how they defy anyone who tries to stop them, a topic that is further enhanced by Gaby Chuleta’s featured performance.
“SHABBA” by OMVR X JC
A change of sound for the duo, “SHABBA” features OMVR X JC exploring sounds rooted in reggaeton and dancehall. While the lyrics may not touch on different themes, it is refreshing to see the duo experimenting with different music and not sticking to their usual dark trap roots.
“Siempre Gucci” by Luciano
Another trap song that glorifies the Gucci brand and uses it as a gateway to higher class status while admiring the luxuries of gaining money, “Siempre Gucci” is a banger accompanied by an explosive bass that will have some headbanger and others imagining gangster movies in slow-motion.
“Dime Si Quieres” by Barbosa
A trap influenced R&B track, Barbosa’s “Dime Si Quieres” is a love and sex-fueled song that creates a good atmosphere for headbanging and slow dancing. However, the tune suffers from some rough autotune at times. Regardless, this track gives us a glimpse at a new artist in formation, which is always interesting.
“Game Over” by Lil YvDi
What seems to be the last track of his first mixtape, “Game Over” is an interesting single by Lil YvDi as he uses the popular video game term as a way to tell the ending of a love story. While the subject matter may not be very different from other artists, it is the style and execution that make this tune so unique and different from the rest of the music being thrown into the spectrum of trap every day.
“Agora” by Sebastian .Otero
Produced by J’adore Flaneur, “Agora,” the new single by Sebastian .Otero, is a fantastic display of the artist’s ability to blend rapping and singing with a variety of soulful sounds as he touches on a variety of current social and political themes such as the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, the troubled situation with Playuela and the recent cuts to the University of Puerto Rico’s budget. In short, the tune serves as a reflection and call to action by the young artist who continues to show the array of sounds at his disposal.
“Vidamuerte” by Elefantes de Yaya
A blend of psychedelic and funky rhythms, the first single by the self-proclaimed Yaya Boyz, “Vidamuerte,” is a nice, smooth and melodic rock song that will have some dancing and others dreaming with its sexy blend of guitar solos and piano as they reflect on life and death.
“Drena La Drenalina” and “OX TOUR LIFE” by Lee Gueroa
As a very active musician this summer, Lee Gueroa a few singles this past June, two of these being “Drena La Adrenalina” and “OX TOUR LIFE.” The first of these is a dancehall and afrobeat bend that will have people dancing everywhere, but, as the cover art suggests, it is an anthem to be enjoyed especially in the beach. The second of these singles is a remix of Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” that explores themes of a troubled romantic and sexual relationship.
“Se Acabo” by Krey feat. Lee Gueroa
Another entry into Puerto Rico’s growing trap catalogue, “Se Acabo” is a love-fueled banger that features some great chemistry by Krey and Lee Gueroa as they blend some good rapping and singing with a chorus that many will be singing in nightclubs all around.
“Henny Con Hypnotic” by Krey feat. Benny Benni
Another trap track that blends the subject matters of sex, drugs and nightlife, “Henny Con Hypnotic” is a banger that will have many headbanging and some dancing as it perfectly blends aggressive rapping and smooth autotune singing with many pop culture references that listeners will understand immediately.
“Samba mañanera” by Julio del Hoyo
An interesting hip hop track that mixes fast and aggressive rapping with a samba sample, the new Julio del Hoyo is another tune that demonstrates his lyrical abilities. In addition, del Hoyo further shows he isn’t afraid to experiment as he also delves into singing for a while. In short, the song jumps off as an interesting experiment by the young rapper.
“FTOS” and “R.I.P.” by Blxxdshot
Another of the more active rappers this summer, Blxxdshot released two singles this past June with “FTOS” and “R.I.P.” The first of these features some production by Fly Twilightzone reminiscent of Maybach Music beats mixed with dark trap as Blxxdshot displays some of his lyrical abilities in a track about loyalty. Finally, the second of these is a dark trap banger influenced by the works of Pouya, SuicideBoys and XXXTentacion that will have many headbanging and probably creating mosh pits in shows.
“SVDGVNG.exe” and “C A $ H I N” by Yung Lecter
Yung Lecter has been another active member of the music scene this summer as he released two singles with “SVDGVNG.exe” and “C A $ H I N.” The first of these is a short track about depression and suicide accompanied by a lo-fi boom-bap instrumental. Lastly, “C A $ H I N” is a heavy bass and Nintendo sampling trap banger about wanting money and everything that comes with it.
“No Creo En Fe” by saintmist
With his latest single, “No Creo En Fe,” the Cayey-based artist saintmist presents a nice and soulful lo-fi beat that will have many relaxing and headbanging. However, while the song is good, it would have been great to see it last a bit longer.
“BELIAL” by Charlie Boldman
A bass heavy trap track, Charlie Boldman’s latest single is a dedication against all his haters as he first basically tells them to stop talking behind his back and then backs it up by mentioning all his material wealth. Unlike his last single, “NINTENDO,” this one takes a darker approach in the style of 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin’s Without Warning.
“Imaginate Eso” and “Freestyle” by Fico Rodz
Another artist who has been very active this entire year has been Fico Rodz and in June he didn’t fail as he delivered two singles with “Imaginate Eso” and “Freestyle.” The first of these features a fast-paced beat as he seems to be reflecting on the struggles he lived through before becoming the man he is today. Meanwhile, “Freestyle” is a shorter and more atmospheric track about where he raps about a variety of topics including social and political troubles in Puerto Rico, the environment, his struggles to become who he is today, motivating others and his role in the hip hop community. As he has shown throughout the entire year, Fico Rodz shows no sign of stopping, which means that he’ll hopefully release an EP, mixtape or album very soon.
“La Canción de Mia Parte 4” by Alvaro Diaz
A fantastically produced blend of hip-hop and R&B, the new single by Alvaro Diaz tells a story about heartbreak through a large variety of pop culture references and some fine use of sampling. It is definitely another great tune that shows why Diaz is another artist at the forefront of Puerto Rico’s independent music scene.
As previously mentioned, Puerto Rico’s independent music scene is in constant growth and artists continue to pump out new music every day, especially those in the fields of hip hop, trap, electronic music and reggaeton. However, there are still a few involved in other genres that, despite their efforts being more group based, manage to put out a single or two. Regardless, all of this progress shows that slowly, but surely, independent acts are connecting more with larger audiences in an easier and faster way thanks to the easy access to the internet. In short, it is a wonderful time to be an artist and all those seeking to express themselves in a medium should work hard and take full advantage of this great resource.
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.