Each month brings new music and while Puerto Rico’s independent music scene may be slow in delivering EPs, mixtapes or albums when compared to other movements, the amount of singles delivered each month sees no end. The following article seeks to compile songs released during August 2018 as well as those I had not had the chance to cover earlier in the year. As stated in previous texts, the field of hip hop and all its sub-genres is the most prevalent, but August also saw the release of a few rock tunes and a little bit of reggae.
“Real?” by Krey
After having a very active July, Krey started August with another trap banger in the form of “Real?”, a single that sees the rapper/singer touching on the subject of honesty and being real when one is slowly becoming famous.
“I Might Need Security” and “Me He Tardao” by Mike Rodz
Kicking off August on full blast was Cayey’s own Mike Rodz with a freestyle over Chance The Rapper’s “I Might Need Security”, which served as a precursor to his latest single original single “Me He Tardao”. With “I Might Need Security”, Rodz continues to make his mission in the music industry clear: be real and honest. Moreover, the song serves as a great exercise for the rapper to display his lyrical prowess. Meanwhile, in “Me He Tardao” serves as a formal come back for Rodz after a few months without a single where he served as the main musician. In the track, Rodz display a bit of singing and rapping over some great samba influenced production by bluJarvis.
“Whirlpool” by Jib Da Mist
Featuring production by Savage Minds, Jib Da Mist’s “Whirlpool” is a song that continues to see the artist exploring the field of trap in a single where the artist raps and about making money and how much he can make. While the subject matter may not be the most original, it is unquestionable that this track is banger with the great production by Savage Minds making this tune a good addition to anybody’s party playlists.
“Small Step <3 :)” by Clveless
Featuring nice lo-fi jazz rap production by randombrownkid, Clveless “Small Step <3 :)” is a short and to the point track that wishes to inspire those suffering from some form of depression to get up, face their problems and eventually achieve their dreams.
“i know :(” and “Feeling Down” by 6ELATHEGOAT
A fresh entry into the emo and R&B influenced trap slowly coming out of the island, 6ELATHEGOAT’s explores the topic of disappointment as the musician sings about how he knows he has failed those he loves and how he hates himself for doing so. On the other hand, “Feeling Down” is a single that sees the young rapper continue to explore the aforementioned sound while he raps about how one can sometimes fall into sadness when following a goal seems impossible to achieve.
“Swank” by Young Chimi ft. Swank
Featuring the talents of Swank, Young Chimi’s “Fade” is a track that goes hand-in-hand with the musician’s earlier “Bring It Back Freestyle” where he sung about being against all his haters and how he is willing to do anything to prove them wrong.
“Quiere Mas” by Juanchi ft. JMayens
With “Quiere Mas”, Juanchi and JMayens get together a track that serves as a great addition to anybody’s party and late night playlist as both musicians explore the subjects of sex, partying and the nightlife. It is definitely a Latin trap tune that shows promise from both artists.
“Cool Down (Ice Cream Donut)” by International Dub Ambassadors
A perfect way to cool down (pun intended) in the midst of a very hot summer, the self-proclaimed “intergalactic dub” group International Dub Ambassadors returned to the scene to provide this mellow yet psychedelic single that will have people relaxing and having fun in the sun.
“Mascaras Negras”, “LO MIO” and “MONEY TALK” by OMVRXJC
Featuring production by Flytwilightzone and OMVR, the trap duo from the north of Puerto Rico return with yet another single in the form of “Mascaras Negras” where they explore subject matter they have touched before such as trust, their journey for success, women and money while featuring their mixture of melodies and aggressive choruses. Meanwhile with “LO MIO”, the duo deliver a short and punk attitude influenced song where they present who they are and how they seek to achieve success despite those who stand in their way. On the other hand, the duo’s collaboration with producer Fly Twilightzone, “MONEY TALK,” serves as a reminder from the rappers to everybody out there that they rap to get money.
“Aún” by Joseph Alex
Featuring traditional boom bap hip hop production by Sombrrra along with some auto-tune fueled melodies, “Aún” by Ponce’s Joseph Alex seems to be a tune that explores that moment in life where one is about to leave (be it through breaking up a relationship or death) and one has a few last words to say and wishes to have a bit of time to express those comments.
“¿Quién Soy Yo Para Decirte?” by Carly Musa
With “¿Quién Soy Yo Para Decirte?”, Carly Musa manages to explore the subjects of wisdom and advice. By mixing melodies and rapping, alongside what seems to be a psychedelic rock influenced guitar, the young musician is able to provide light on topics not often explored in R&B making this tune unique and different.
“Colonel Roach” by Fullminator
The first single for the metal band’s upcoming album Crack Attack, “Colonel Roach” sees the at-times eccentric Fullminator mixing elements of thrash metal and hardcore to create a perfect preview for their new full length project.
“Viremos El Tiempo” by Diversión Sonora
Serving as a preview of their upcoming EP “Goodbye Homosapiens!”, Diversión Sonora’s “Viremos El Tiempo” is a pop rock song with relatable lyrics [going back in time to make things better] that many may connect with making it a potential radio friendly tune if given the chance.
“Freestyle 1” and “Confession” by Yung Lee
As an active member of the lo-fi hip hop community in Puerto Rico, Yung Lee has slowly delivered a few songs this past summer. With “Freestyle 1”, Lee freestyles over a hypnotic beat about disliking fake rappers and culture vultures. Meanwhile with “Confession”, the young musician puts himself out there as he sings over a guitar driven beat about being dishonest to a loved one and how sorry he is about it.
“Ganas” by Yvng Killo and Yung Lee
A lo-fi hip hop and R&B influenced track that fuses melodies and rapping, the Yvng Killo and Yung Lee single “Ganas” is a love song dedicated to the artists’ love interests they constantly praise said interests in every way possible. Though the tune may be a weird mix for some, it is actually an interesting combination that should be explored in the future making this single an experiment on a genre fusion that has yet to be thoroughly fleshed out.
“Pedro Rosello” by Eleperez
Named after the former governor of Puerto Rico, Eleperez’s latest single is a trap track that uses the politician and his son, the now governor Ricardo Rosello, as metaphors for the people who find their way to a position of power by way of lies making this one of the few tunes in the genre to balance its usual stories of crime with a political message.
“To the Moon” by O$RODZ
Another entry into the rapidly growing lo-fi hip hop subgenre coming out of Puerto Rico, O$RODZ’s first single is an introspective journey into the artist’s mind that serves as a good introduction for the young up-and-comer.
“Κύβος” and “sleepwithme” by Marlon Frank
A short EP made up of two songs, “Κύβος” sees musician Marlon Frank exploring a variety of sounds among them dance and house music with the first “Natalia” and then a bit of drum and bass influenced funk in “De a Poco” making this an interesting presentation. Meanwhile, “sleepwithme” is a more atmospheric lo-fi track that sees the musician continue to explore his artistic boundaries as he provides what seems to be the soundtrack to some sort of surreal horror film set in an urban or industrial landscape.
“Acércate” by Jorge & Los Físicos
After performing around the island for a while the rock trio Jorge & Los Fisicos came back to Spotify in late July with a new single in the form of “Acercate,” a short but to the point groovy blues influenced pop rock track that will have listeners dancing and shaking their hips.
“Tropical” by Julio Angel
A fusion of R&B and Caribbean sounds, the first single by West based Puerto Rican newcomer Julio Angel is a lovely pop song adequately released in early July for the summer season that displays the singer’s mainstream potential.
“Si Que Si” by Meca Uno
After not releasing a single since May’s “Asi Es Que Eh,” Bayamon-based Meca Uno came back this month with the hypnotic boom bap single “Si Que Si,” a presentation of his lyrical powers that makes multiple references to kung fu cinema, his identity as a rocker and rapper and his surroundings.
“Ganga” by Gaby Chuleta
Presented by Demoniacal Records and Swamp Gang, the latest single by Guayama-based musician Gaby Chuleta is a trap banger that will definitely have listeners dancing and possibly creating mosh pits in live performances.
“LOVEMIST” by SaintMist feat. Clveless
Produced by deadboi takumi, “LOVEMIST,” the latest collaboration between SaintMist and Clveless, is a lo-fi hip hop song dedicated to the rappers respective love interests. Though the single features simple flows from the artists, they play perfectly with the imaginative lyrics presented, which teleport listeners to those moments in life where one is so in love that you wish to travel across the clouds with that person you that makes you happy.
“MBHP” by La Cotto
After not releasing a single since March, the diaspora based rapper La Cotto recently delivered “MBHP,” a powerful and aggressive feminist anthem against all those men who abuse of women in any way. Though the track can get a bit repetitive, it’s message is one that must be heard.
“DESCONTROL” by Jose Yellow feat. Janmarcus
Produced by Fly Twilightzone and Javi Neris, the latest collaboration between Jose Yellow and Janmarcus is a laid back yet energetic trap banger that will have audiences relaxing or dancing showing that Yellow’s hot streak in 2018 sees no end in sight.
“E-baby” by Korea Central
Mayagüez’s Korea Central return after quite a while without putting out music with “E-baby,” a fun and danceable lo-fi jangle pop tune that displays their psychedelic and indie rock influences showing the amount of ground the band can cover in a single song.
“Suerte y mentira” by Julio del Hoyo
A traditional boom bap rap beat serves as the background for Julio del Hoyo’s latest lyrical delivery “Suerte y mentira,” an introspective track that among many subjects explores those like luck and trust. Featuring a hypnotic acoustic guitar and great female vocals, the tune is yet another fantastic presentation by the young rapper.
“Pink Skies” by Wolves
Coming out of Isabela, Wolves recently released the single “Pink Skies,” a trap fueled R&B tune that will have some thinking about teenage and young adult love. If you love musicians like Trippie Redd, Lil Uzi Vert and XXXTentacion’s R&B inspired music, you will definitely like this.
“Dime Como Es” by Bryan Lopez
Orlando-based Puerto Rican singer Bryan Lopez recently delivered “Dime Como Es,” a dancehall influenced R&B single that takes advantage of the sounds found in the United States while paying homage to his Caribbean roots. A highly danceable song in terms of its rhythm, the tune is also filled with a passionate love story at its heart.
“El Mariachi” by eMe
A trap fueled banger, eMe’s “El Mariachi” is a track that provides quite a bit of adrenaline for those looking for a fun night. However, the tune suffers from its extensive running time which makes it feel a bit repetitive.
“FakeLove (MixedFeeling)” by Gabilan
An trap influenced R&B single, Gabilan’s “FakeLove (MixedFeeling)” sees the young Isabela musician exploring his feelings in the aftermath of a break-up. Though the song explores familiar lyrical territory, it is the beat that provides a soothing relaxed energy for those looking to chill at night with their loved one or those in search of reflection.
“Una Loquera” by Bruze Wave feat. Gabilan & eMe
Another trap single with elements of R&B coming out of Puerto Rico’s northwest, “Una Loquera” sees Bruze Wave collaborate with eMe and Gabilan to provide a Migos influenced sex fueled party single for those looking to dance all night long.
“Todo Esta Bien” by Ruben Torres
A relaxing and soulful presentation, Ruben Torres’ latest single “Todo Esta Bien” is a powerful song about feeling dead inside and coming to terms with it. Although the subject matter may be a little difficult to handle, do not disregard this song as it will make you reflect about the beauty of life.
“Rebulera” by Carly Musa feat. ARM
A fusion of reggaeton and dancehall, the latest collaboration by Carly Musa and ARM is a summer influenced track that will have listeners dancing for a while before, while and after listening.
“NO SOY EL MISMO” by Clveless feat. SaintMist
Featuring production by Alfred Wars, the second collaboration by Clveless and SaintMist sees both artists flexing their rapping muscles on a lo-fi boom bap beat as they explain and reflect on their personal changes after experiencing difficult relationships with people they at one point trusted.
“𝙗_𝙪𝙣𝙙” by seint
After releasing his latest beat tape, “DORADA,” not so long ago, young producer seint comes back to close August with a tribute to Kanye West as he samples a few of the rapper’s vocals to a soothing original beat influenced by psychedelia, Caribbean music and vaporwave.
“Alma” and “No Importa (No Me Compares Version)” by Gerald
Released in late July, Gerald’s “Alma” is a dancehall tune that further proves his possible mainstream appeal as he delivers a track that will have listeners shaking their bodies all over the place. Meanwhile, the No Me Compares version of “No Importa” is a soulful acoustic guitar driven version of the love song that perfectly fits the Univision series.
“Ravenous Dreams” by Blood Rapture
Released in April, the latest single by Blood Rapture is an example of the type of death metal Puerto Rico’s underground scene can bring to the table. It also demonstrates that, although it mainly stays in the dark, the metal movement in the island is still very much alive.
“Coral” by A1
The latest video single by A1 is for the reggaeton track “Coral” off of his EP “The Sauz,” a psychedelic influenced visual that sees the rapper paying homage to old school reggaeton music videos while bringing a bit of his own flavor into the mix.
“Fecha de Expiración” by La Estacion Central
The latest video single by La Estacion Central is a display of their trademark boom bap production and lyrical combination where they show that traditional hip hop can still pop and make you head bang when done with love, care and dedication.
“No Fallamos” by Alvaro Diaz feat. Myke Towers
Alvaro Diaz and Myke Towers close the month properly with “No Fallamos,” a fantastic collaboration that features the musicians rapping over a trap beat about the type of people they trust and the way they navigate through the industry.
Every day Puerto Rico’s indie music scene continues to grow and more tunes get to see the light of day thanks to the artists’ fearless D.I.Y. mentality and the great amount of platforms provided across the internet that allow them to share said work. August 2018 was yet another example of the movement’s rapidly growing archive of music and the bravery of the island’s underground talent.
(picture found on Late Night Drive’s Facebook)
As Puerto Rico’s indie music scene continues to grow more genres are getting the chance to get recorded. Among the many sounds getting light are psychedelia inspired projects like Fantasmes and Epilogio, crossover thrash groups like Fullminator, and other more experimental bands like Z X Siempre and Doktor Zaius. One of the many ensembles to bring some of these more underground sounds to the forefront is the pop punk inspired Late Night Drive who, with their latest album Bloom, make sure to let this sub-genre flourish.
(cover art for the project)
Late Night Drive’s first project is completely filled with pop punk. From the very start of the first song, “Bouquet,” to the last one in “Bloom,” the album is a tribute to that sound that dominated the late 1990s and early to mid 2000s mixed with a bit of the melodic hardcore and emo pop rock that reached its peak in the same era. Songs like “Nimbus” and “Running” demonstrate said influences showing how, if given the opportunity, Late Night Drive would have been a good addition to any future festival that takes a shape like that of the Vans Warped Tour. In addition to the familiar sound, the band also write about similar themes explored in the genre such as love, growing up and identity, e.g. tunes like “Running,” “Bloom” and “Exeunt.”
(the group as found on their Facebook)
Overall, Late Night Drive’s Bloom is a nice presentation of pop punk that explores topics usually found within the genre. Moreover, the group show that the sound has potential for exploration. Hopefully, the ensemble’s future projects continue to show growth and other themes being considered in the lyrical content.
Listen to Bloom on Spotify and Bandcamp
Every day Puerto Rico’s indie music scene continues to grow and as one continues to go deep into the research, one will continue to find groups that are constantly experimenting with a variety of sounds to provide unique experiences. From intelligent dance music musicians like Guabageuse to noise influenced Dan Siego, there are artists everywhere looking to deliver different escapes than those found in the mainstream. In this field we can find Z X Siempre, an experimental rock and hip hop group from Puerto Rico’s metro area that provides an interesting EP in “Ley Thelémica” that will take you from trips that involve the surreal to other more accomodating ones.
(cover art for the project)
"Ley Thelémica" starts with the dark and surreal boom bap presentation “No tengas miedo,” an interesting experience that fuses elements of rock and hip hop which prepares the listener to much of what is to come. Afterwards, one is treated to “Corre por tu vida,” another surreal boom bap track that fuses elements of psychedelia with abstract lyrics. However, the first tunein the project’s second half provides a different vibe than the previous two songs.
(the group performing as found on their Facebook)
Kicking off the EP’s second half is “Mi cancion,” a lighter much more upbeat pop influenced hip hop track that will calm listeners until they listen to the project’s final tune. After “Mi cancion,” “Mi fuerza vital” takes the light vibe set my the previous entry and kicks it to the side with an aggressive and adrenaline fueled hardcore punk song reminiscent of the Beastie Boys’ early days ending what is a very interesting presentation.
(the group performing as found on their Facebook)
When one listens to Z X Siempre for the first time, one does not know what to expect. However, after taking a dip into their world, it is something to go back to multiple times. With surreal trips mixed with a bit of pop and then hardcore punk, one definitely can see a lot of the group’s potential while feeling a variety of emotions.
Listen to “Ley Thelémica” on Bandcamp
"Sancocho Studies/Uno": Guabágeuse Makes You Reflect About Puerto Rico With His Brand of Ambient and Intelligent Dance Music
As mentioned in previous articles, Puerto Rico’s independent music scene has seen a rapidly growing branch of electronic musicians. From island based artists like Labajura, Furry Vowels and Mau Lynx to the widely known and acclaimed Buscabulla and Los Walters, the movement just continues to flourish. However, there are those still finding their footing who as they slowly experiment and immerse themselves in the field. Take for example the eclectic Guabágeuse who recently release his full-length project Sancocho Studies/Uno, a mix of ambient and intelligent dance music that will make some reflect while others dance or relax.
The second full-length proposal by Guabágeuse kicks off with “Eugene Mary Hosts (Preludio),” a reflective ambient and intelligent dance music (IDM) mixture that prepares listeners for what is about to come. From there, the project moves to the more danceable “Jain Pest Control Service,” a tune that mixes elements from glo-fi, IDM, dembow and even 8-Bit music. Afterwards, we are treated to “Vimmy’s Request,” a track that though it may seem experimental at first it can turn into a very danceable one too. Then one is provided with “Jeffrey Gongora,” a more 8-Bit driven instrumental that allows one to either look back or dance. Next the listener is given “El Empastedillo (Paz para los hombres),” an adrenaline fueled retro game influenced song that if played live can cause a few mosh pits. Subsequently, one is provided with “Slung Slag Slug,” a weird blend of relaxing yet energetic vibrations that will make one feel like they are in a world filled with Blade Runner type of reflection fused with Tron action scenes. Finally, the album’s first half ends with “9 Sietecueros,” and 8-Bit influenced IDM track that will have some dancers and others lost in astral planes where retro games take control of your mind.
The second half of Sancocho Studies/Uno starts with the project’s longest track “Mickey Tre (3),” a slow and atmospheric ambient track that feels like a reflection of some sort; it almost tells a story of how good things in a given space got complicated with changes brought forth by uncontrollable forces. Afterwards, we are treated to yet another reflective yet danceable piece in “Paco Tocineta,” a song that might make some think about the times when Puerto Rico was governed by the Spanish colonizers. Then listeners are provided with perhaps the strangest tune in the project “With Me Yes That No, Baby!,” a complicated tune that will make some think they are inside the mind of a person who suffers from some sort of mental health issue, someone who is using psychedelic drugs or somebody trapped inside of a nightmare. Subsequently, listeners enter the world of “Calma, Frustravo,” a song that takes one into the experience of being relaxed and the opposite of it. Next we enter “Güigli Gungulén Gurú,” an atmospheric, psychedelic and introspective track that will transport you to dimensions never explored. Finally, Sancocho Studies/Uno closes with the fast paced “Abanicolapso,” a tune that feels like the entire project is coming at you at over one hundred miles per hour providing an adrenaline fueled psychedelic experience.
(cover the musician’s project Bestiario)
While Guabágeuse’’s second full length project might serve as difficult to digest for some, it is a prime example of the type of genre blending and risk taking artists in the island must take in order for the independent scene to grow. Moreover, the album serves as a model of how musicians can use instrumentals as a reflection of their past and present.
Listen to Sancocho Studies/Uno on Bandcamp
"Greatest Hits Vol. 3": Welcome to Doktor Zaius' Fusion of Funk, Prog Rock, Psychedelia and Spoken Word
As more musicians continue to experiment in Puerto Rico’s indie scene, it is inevitable to find artists blending genres to create some of the most progressive sounds out there. Whether it is Redneck Buddha providing garage punk and a prom night ballad on the side or Dan Siego with their fusion of hardcore and ethereal noise, there are always artists looking to stretch or break the boundaries as much as possible and that’s where San Juan’s Doktor Zaius comes in with their blend of funk, psychedelia, spoken word and progressive rock as perfectly shown in their debut EP “Greatest Hits Vol. 3.”
(cover art for the project)
Named after the intelligent simian from the Planet of the Apes franchise, Doktor Zaius provide music that will most likely not adhere to everyone. However, anybody who’s looking for something different will definitely fall in love with their work. Starting the project with “Richard III,” the band present a danceable presentation of spoken word and funk rock that even pays a bit of homage to the late James Brown. Afterwards, they provide “(The Great American) Carpal Tunnel,” which is yet another great blend of funk rock, metal and spoken word that feature some beautiful transitions. Then we are introduced to the final part of the first half of the project, “Carlos Danger,” a fusion of math, prog and funk rock that eventually switches to hardcore punk.
(the group performing)
The beginning of the second half is a groovy yet experimental track with “Secret Agent Orange” that eventually goes into the space rock and psychedelic funk rock tune “CharLeMagne,” which starts as a danceable song but then switches to what feels like a trip across an apocalyptic astral plane and then goes back to its dance-worthy vibes. Finally, the project closes with “Skinny Jeanz,” another blend of spoken word, funk and prog rock that would make Mike Patton and System of a Down proud.
(one of the group’s many influences, the Planet of the Apes character Doctor Zaius)
In order for Puerto Rico’s indie scene to grow, there needs to be more groups like Doktor Zaius who are willing to explore and break any musically boundaries that exist. Their fantastic blend of funk, prog rock, psychedelia and spoken word in “Greatest Hits Vol. 3” is an example of how to experiment with music while also making it accessible for people willing to look into different soundscapes.
Listen to “Greatest Hits Vol. 3” on Soundcloud and Spotify
As the indie music scene in Puerto Rico continues to grow, artists experiment with different sounds and ways to record every day. One of the many musicians to do so is Mettaur as he presents in his short EP the “Drunk and Stupid Mixtape,” a lo-fi recording that takes you on a psychedelic trip across a night between friends.
(cover art for the project)
Starting the project with “Pillow Talk,” Mettaur provides listeners a perfect example to the type of project they are about to get into. The tune is a a lo-fi pop punk influenced acoustic song that slowly transitions into psychedelic territory. Afterwards, one is treated to “Let’s be alcoholics,” an acoustic pop punk track with math rock and 8-Bit music influences. Then the project presents “The Nile is not just a river,” the longest and perhaps more experimental track in the EP as it mixes garage rock and acoustic lo-fi pop punk with distorted vocals. Finally, the “Drunk and Stupid Mixtape” ends with “For all time,” a short blend of lo-fi acoustic and wind instruments fused with psychedelic keyboards.
(picture of the artist as found on Bandcamp)
In sum, Mettaur’s “Drunk and Stupid Mixtape” is an interesting experiment that feels like a trip across the astral planes between the magical doors found in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. If you are looking for something different, then this project is definitely for you.
Listen to Mettaur’s “Drunk and Stupid Mixtape” on Bandcamp
As hip hop and its subgenres trap and reggaeton continue to find a space in the independent music scene and mainstream of Puerto Rico, it is inevitable that some artists will find ways to be different and put some real personality into their music. With the release of his debut mixtape, Cayey’s Lil Yvdi does exactly this as he brings a great blend of hilarious metaphors to his mix of trap and lyrical raps.
(cover for the mixtape)
Starting the project with the track “Sushi,” Lil Yvdi gives listeners a perfect introduction to what they are about to listen to. The song is a hilarious Migos influenced trap banger where he uses sushi as a metaphor for how desirable he is towards women. From there he moves to “Sadboy,” a more emotional tune where he sings and raps about heartbreak and depression in a blend of boom bap and trap. Then, the Cayey rapper finishes the first half of the project with “Viernexxx 13,” another hilarious track that uses an atmospheric dark beat to tell a fictional tale where Yvdi dresses and acts like Jason Voorhees in his search of women to have sex with.
(cover for the single “Game Over”)
The second half of the mixtape starts with “Entro High Al Putero,” a funny trap banger about going to a strip club high on drugs. While the track’s story may be controversial for some, the way Yvdi tells it is just hilarious. Finally, the short project ends with “Game Over,” a sadboi trap song where the rapper uses the video game phrase as a metaphor for a finished romantic relationship.
(picture of Lil Yvdi)
In order for trap to evolve there needs to be new artists pushing the boundaries of the genre and others taking a chance at trying new things. Lil Yvdi is one of the emerging musicians in the island who is willing to experiment with it to try and make something different and his debut mixtape is a perfect example of how he is trying to do so.
Listen to the “Lil Yvdi Mixtape” on Soundcloud
As the independent music scene continues to grow in Puerto Rico, hip hop and its sub-genres continue to take over the movement and gain some mainstream prominence. However, one genre that continues to stay underappreciated is instrumental hip hop, especially that which follows lo-fi aesthetics. Despite all of this, musicians like Recluso, Ejkew and Seint work hard to keep the genre alive. The latter of these recently released a new beat tape title “DORADA,” which he describes as a “second tape is a collection of short bumps, bootlegs, and loops I've worked on during my time back in New Orleans for the summer and it is mainly inspired by my great memories of the city and the previous year.”
(cover art for the beat tape)
Through the use of samples and loops, Seint takes a dream-like look back at his past. From jazzy lo-fi boom bap instrumentals like “jiggywiddit” and “sin ti” to the more experimental beats “skrrt skrrt,” which samples bossa nova with a bit of trap and “B$P$B,” which combines jazz with a Migos sample, Seint’s latest beat tape is a great mix of traditional lo-fi instrumental hip hop with current events providing a great glimpse at the music he was exploring at the moment and the effect New Orleans’ jazz had on his sound. In sum, this project is a good and to-the-point experimental project that sees the producer slowly grow as an artist.
Listen to “DORADA” on Bandcamp
All of the pictures in this article were found in Seint’s Bandcamp
"Semilla de Fuego": Omar Iloy, Lxs de Abajo and Producciones Tabaquero Collaborate on Another Spoken Word Visual
If you are one to follow the the independent poetry and film movements in Puerto Rico, you might have been noticing the most recent collaborations between the west-based artists Omar Iloy, Lxs de Abajo and Producciones Tabaquero such as “Finca Soleda” and “Puñeta en Inglés.” In addition, you might have seen how their project "La Madre de Juracan" won prizes such as “Mejor Actor Masculino” and “Mejor Fotografia” at the Premios Latino de Iberoamerica 2018. Recently, in mid-August, the group got together once again to release their latest project, “Semilla de Fuego,” a spoken word visual that sees Omar Iloy presenting his blend of thought provoking poetry and music while touching on subject matter such as his life, politics, social issues and the current state of Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the presentation is enhanced by the simple yet poetic visuals by Producciones Tabaquero’s crew. Take a look at the video below.
With the release of Dan Siego’s debut full-length project, Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits, it was inevitable for them as one of the most active bands of the Puerto Rican indie scene to have two nights celebrating their production. Thus, last night at Mayagüez’s Off the Wall served as the first party for Dan Siego’s weekend-long party, which they did alongside the San Juan-based indie rock band Capitán Simón.
(promo for the show by Derick Joel)
Kicking off the night was Capitán Simón, a young psychedelic and space rock influenced indie band, which had audiences dancing and swinging from side to side with some of their danceable songs and other more melodic tunes. In short, the group’s space and ethereal sounds served as a good starter for the chaos that was to come with Dan Siego’s performance.
After Capitán Simón’s presentation, Dan Siego came in with a full display of power. Starting with two new songs that showed more noise and hardcore influences, the duo perfectly transmitted just enough energy for the rest of the adrenaline fueled, danceable and mosh pit driven night. In order to properly celebrate their debut project, Dan Siego performed each and every single track in the album along with their trademark jams and particular choice in samples that interconnect each song during their live performances. As usual, the group’s last few minutes had the band interacting with the crowd by having them play some of their instruments creating a fantastic environment between the musicians and the crowd.
In short, the celebration of Dan Siego’s Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits alongside Capitán Simón at Mayagüez’s Off the Wall last night was one to release every form of stress possible for the audience in attendance. It was a night full of melodies, danceable vibes and power driven tracks that had people moving their bodies in every way possible. In addition, the night was another example of what Dan Siego means to the community in the west of Puerto Rico and how they continue to encourage bands from the west to connect with those of the metro area. Moreover, the duo demonstrated that if one is really passionate about their work, one should continue to pursue and celebrate it when it is complete.
Find Dan Siego’s Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits on Spotify
Find Capitán Simón on Bandcamp
All of the pictures in this article were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez
One of the most active rock duos in the Puerto Rican independent music scene in the past five years has been the west’s own Dan Siego, a band known for their fusion of noise, hardcore and drone sounds which create some of the most active and chaotic live performances the movement has seen. After giving fans a few appetizers every now then with “Bloodpuncher”, “Drunk Wizards” and “Wolf Cub 98”, the group has finally gathered their catalogue to create a fourteen-song-twenty-three-minute-long explosion of power that will have listeners head banging, creating mosh pits and possibly walls of death.
(cover art for the project by Derick Joel)
Released through Dead Mofongo Records, Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits brings together much, if not all, of Dan Siego’s repertoire into a compilation of hardcore influenced noise and drone music that will have listeners going wild. Kicking things off with, probably one of the longest tunes in the album, “Trampstamp”, the duo already make it clear to the audience that what they are about to deliver is nothing but power. The song then transitions to another display of aggression with the shorter “T-Rex”, one of the few tunes in the project that has vocals. From there on out, Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits continues to deliver one powerful shot of adrenaline after another with songs like the aforementioned “Bloodpuncher”, “Drunk Wizards” and the psychedelia influenced “Wolf Cub 98” and “Free Willy Black Metal” to others like “Jungle Beats” and “Copy Machine” which demand some dancing and “Rumham”, “A Fish Called Wanda Rolon” and “Destroyer” which feature some of the greatest breaks in the entire project.
(promotional for one of the project’s release parties by Derick Joel)
In short, Dan Siego’s Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits is a fantastic display of power and aggression that will easily serve as a gateway for people to let out all of their frustrations. Moreover, the adrenaline fueled project demonstrates that sometimes waiting is totally worth it. In sum, Dan Siego’s full-length debut is definitely one of the greatest projects of the year thus far and another landmark in Puerto Rico’s catalogue of “hard”, “heavy” and hardcore music.
Listen to Dan Siego’s Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits on Spotify
"Next Year": Mau Lynx's Debut Project is a Relaxing Yet Danceable and Spacey Presentation of Chillwave
As Puerto Rico’s independent music scene continues to grow it has been found that the genres to be gaining momentum are hip hop, along with all its sub-genres, and electronic music. While artists like Los Walters, Buscabulla and Bairoa balance shows on and off the island, others like Labajura, Gyanmarckus and Mau Lynx have been some of the up-and-coming talents that have continued to perform continuously around the island slowly building a fanbase and contributing to the electronic genre, which gets more popular every day. However last year, just a few months before the coming of Hurricane Maria, the last of the aforementioned artists delivered a short and to-the-point project filled with spacey, ethereal and haunting chillwave for those looking to dance, relax and escape reality.
(cover for Mau Lynx’s Next Year)
An artist noticeable for being a member of the music community in a variety of ways, Mau Lynx in the past few years has been exploring the field of electronic music and on July 2017 he decided to present his debut project Next Year. From the beginning of the album, one is teleported to astral realms with the video single “F.E.D.” featuring the talented Caithlin de Marrais. A relaxing introduction to what would be a multifaceted project, “F.E.D.” sets up Lynx’s Next Year with an introspective track that could be interpreted in a variety of ways, some of which can involve themes such as love, identity and time. From there the project moves to the album’s title track, a tune that focuses on the subject of honesty. Afterwards, listeners are presented to “Calls”, a song touching on the topic of communication and its importance in any form of relationship. Closing the first half of Next Year is the video single “Only You”, which features the hypnotic vocal talents of Rosamalia in a tale of love and lust that might serve as a great addition to any independent comedy drama film.
As Next Year moves along, listeners are provided with “How We Are”, an introspective chillwave track that explores the fascinating imagination we as human beings can have. From there Mau Lynx takes us into “Relax-A-Nation”, the most danceable song in the project that will definitely have audiences everywhere moving their bodies in one way or another, be it through shaking their hips, stomping their feet and even headbanging. Finally, the project ends strong with “Girl”, a dark and atmospheric tale of love, lost and lust featuring the haunting vocal talents of David Arraya.
With Next Year, Mau Lynx manages to deliver a relaxing chillwave album that explores a variety of atmospheres from the spacey to the haunting to the danceable thereby producing a project that demonstrates his ability to create various environments through the medium of electronic music while providing story driven lyrics.
Listen to Next Year on Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp
As the independent music scene continues to grow in Puerto Rico more underground genres like lo-fi hip hop are further explored. One of the artists to embrace this aesthetic and mix it up with other subgenres has been young musician Reyes †††. Last year, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the artist released his first full length mixtape Luna en el Dia where he displayed influences that ranged from regular boom bap rap to house music and psychedelia. In his new project Tazas de Amargura, the rapper continues to display his influences while being introspective in his lyrics.
(cover art for the project by Milton Perez)
From the start of the project, “Tazas de Amargura Intro”, to the end, ”No Quieres Hablar”, the first full-length album by Reyes ††† features introspective lyrics. Take for example the second tune in the project, “Carta Para Mis Mejores Amigos”, where he touches on the subject of missing communication and connections with his best friends due to the separation caused by immigration, a struggle often felt by Puerto Ricans who have been forced to live between the island and the diaspora. Meanwhile, in other songs like “Ojos Vendados” and “La Demencia”, the young rapper touches on the current political and economic landscape of Puerto Rico and how these affect the mental wellbeing of the entire community. On the other hand, songs like “Solo Hablando” and “Mejor” explore communication and love and how these may affect one another. However, while most of the project may be mostly introspective that does not mean Reyes ††† isn’t one to have fun as he perfectly displays in “Sensaciones” where he explores the sound of trap to deliver a banger alongside frequent collaborator Gucci and Cayey rapper Mike Rodz.
(artwork for the track list by Milton Perez)
While most of Reyes †††’s output thus far has been distinguished for its lo-fi aesthetic, Tazas de Amargura shows more of his influences. Take for example the aforementioned “Sensaciones” with Gucci and Mike Rodz where he takes a step towards trap, as far as sound. Meanwhile other songs like “Tiempo Lento” and “No Quieres Hablar” see him going deeper into the fields of psychedelic and ambient music. Furthermore, the young rapper continues to explore other hip hop subgenres with songs like “Razones” and “Solo Hablando” that feature jazz rap beats and “Cartas Para Mis Mejores Amigos” which delves into traditional boom bap.
(picture by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
In short, Tazas de Amargura is a solid project by Reyes ††† who continues to present promise as a young musician still in formation. With this new project, the rapper expands his musical repertoire as he explores sounds like trap, jazz rap, psychedelia and a bit of ambient while managing to balance introspection, social commentary and a banger to have a perfect musical combination for the start of classes.
Listen to Tazas de Amargura on Soundcloud
As the fall semester slowly approaches, Mayagüez’s Off The Wall continues to be the center for many local independent bands and last Friday August 10th was no different as the west-coast based band Los Petardos!, accompanied by the Mexico-based group Secret Agent, took the place on a groovy ride filled with surf rock as its soundtrack.
(promo for the event by Derick Joel)
Kicking off the show was the trio visiting from Mexico, Secret Agent. Fueled by a passion for classic television and cinema, especially the genres of spy films and westerns, the trio performed their surf rock and rock n roll renditions of classic themes such as John Barry’s “James Bond Theme”, Lalo Schifrin’s “Theme from Mission: Impossible” and Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” while also doing a cover of Dick Dale’s version of “Misirlou” starting off what would be a very fun and danceable night.
To finish the night, Los Petardos! came with their punk rock and Caribbean sound influenced surf rock. By performing a variety of their well known songs like “Acabame”, “Canción de la Calle”, “Vamo A Llegar”, “Lo Ineludible (Ok)” and “Los Locos, Los Mejores”, and mixing them up with new ones like “La Bajura” and “El espejo”, the group managed to balance a set filled with danceable tracks and others worthy of creating mosh pits, some of which included the involvement of the band’s lead singer. In the end, Secret Agent and Los Petardos! provided a performance that helped many release the stress of a week of work, be it a regular job or preparation for the upcoming semester.
With events like the collaboration between Secret Agent and Los Petardos!, the independent art scene in Puerto Rico is slowly continuing to grow as local bands connect with groups from other countries. The night also showed that Off The Wall continues to be a location that supports independent musicians while demonstrating that it is a go-to-spot for people looking to have fun while listening to live music.
Listen to Secret Agent and Los Petardos! on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez
With the growth of the Puerto Rican independent music scene, there seems to be more music coming in every day and July 2018 was yet another example of the rapidly growing movement in the small island. Here are some of the tracks that I discovered or that were released during the month.
“Jaquemate” and “FLOW CRIMINAL” by OMVRXJC
With "Jaquemate", the trap duo based in the north of Puerto Rico deliver another trap track about the underground side of the genre by rapping about their gangster and crime personalities. However, what makes this tune different from others by the duo is its low-key approach. Usually, OMVRXJC deliver songs with banging beats and aggressive attitudes, but here the energy is toned down a bit proving that they can provide the gangster attitude with hype tracks and in more laid back style. Meanwhile, “FLOW CRIMINAL” is another trap song but, unlike many others in the group’s catalogue, this one presents the artists heavily focusing on melody rather than rapping. With this tune, OMVRXJC balance a laid back flow with an aggressive attitude displaying yet again that the duo is willing to get out of their comfort zone and explore different aspects of the genre.
“BAMBINO” by OMVRXJC feat. ANGELINO
Yet another single by OMVRXJC, this time featuring the talents of ANGELINO, “BAMBINO” is another laid back trap track that feels like one is living a gangster movie in slow motion as the three musicians rap and sing about the criminal underground on a smooth beat that flows between relaxed and hype vibes.
“One Time” by bluJarvis feat. Mike Rodz and Abdel Green
Featuring a fantastic reggae influenced psychedelic beat, bluJarvis’ “One Time” is a fantastic group collaboration that will have listeners dancing and head banging with its infectious atmosphere making it a great summer song.
“FLVMVS” by stz
Stz’s latest single, “FLVMVS”, is another display of the rapper’s lyrical abilities as he makes it his mission to show said techniques in another tune that sees him experimenting with a beat that mixes a bit of trap with what seems to be some sampling. In short, if you love trap beats and its vibes mixed with great lyricism, then this single may be right up your alley.
“Mi Abuelita” by PioTripz feat. Robin
A fun track that mixes Latin trap with a salsa sample, this collaboration by PioTripz and ROBIN is a celebration of grandmothers everywhere as the young musicians sing and rap about the greatness these loved ones can bring into our lives.
“CUPIDO MINTIO” by ALEXER X ROBIN
An alternative R&B influenced trap track, this collaboration by ALEXER and ROBIN is another entry into the emotional side of trap music as it features the young musicians rapping and singing about heartbreak by using the classic figure of Cupid as their main source of inspiration.
“Whatsapp” by ROBIN
One of the singles for ROBIN’s mixtape “De La Salsa al Rap”, “Whatsapp” presents the young artist exploring the field of pop reggaeton in a modern love song about how we use social media, more specifically WhatsApp, to communicate.
“El Momento” by Barbosa X Sato Cancel
A slow jamming alternative R&B influenced trap track, “El Momento” features musicians Barbosa and Sato Cancel touching a familiar topic in both genres: sex and love making. However, what makes this tune different from others is its especially slow jam aesthetic, making one think of the times when R. Kelly was topping the charts making this song a nice blend of modern day R&B and trap fused with nostalgic 1990s and 2000s R&B.
“Texaco” by 13:00AM feat. Jose Yellow
Featuring fantastic production by Avila, the latest collaboration by 13:00AM and Jose Yellow is a good pairing that features aggressive rapping by Jose Yellow on the chorus where he puts out there a bit of his musical background and the reason why he is in the music industry. Meanwhile, 13:00AM does a bit of singing, heavily influenced by atmospheric trap artists like Travis Scott, where he touches on his concentration to succeed in the music industry.
“Se Acaba El Tiempo” by Gaby Morales feat. Loreley
Produced by Naisgay and Huztle, this single by Gaby Morales and Loreley is a good mix of pop and dancehall that should have listeners dancing, especially if they are in the beach, which seems to be the appropriate setting for such a track.
“THIS” by Blxxdshot
Featuring bass heavy production by YungArabian, “THIS” by Blxxdshot is fantastic mix of hype trap and lyricism that should have all sorts of listeners head banging, jumping around or even mosh pitting with their friends. However, what seems to kill this song is its short running time. But one could argue that said length is due to its aggressive almost punk rock nature. Nevertheless, Blxxdshot’s “THIS” is a solid entry into the musicians growing catalogue.
“Ocio” and “sleepwithme” by Marlon Frank
A short and laidback example of instrumental boom bap hip hop, Marlon Frank’s “Ocio” is a great tune to keep in your playlist for studying or relaxing as it not only helps you chill out but also remember those days where you laugh out loud with your friends. On the other hand, with the experimental “sleepwithme” Frank seems to present the picture of what a dream can be and feel like as it teleports listeners on a surreal and almost otherworldly experience for a little over two minutes. If you love experimental hip hop, this tune is definitely for you.
“AY JO” by frivolo
Driven by frivolo’s aggressive lyricism and thought-provoking lyrics, “AY JO” is a track that touches on a variety of topics but mainly on the struggles Puerto Ricans went through in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, especially when dealing with two governments that provided little to no help, Trump’s and Ricardo Rosello’s.
“La Receta” by Fran feat. Cartagena and Frivolo
A fantastic collaboration by some of the best MCs in Puerto Rico right now, “La Receta” by Fran, Cartagena and Frivolo is a boom bap rap track that displays some great lyrical prowess fused with some beautiful jazz samples and a fantastic beat switch due to Manny Beats great production. In short, if these three rappers decide to collaborate with Manny on a future full length project, I wouldn’t mind one bit.
“Merlot” by Delaggo
Starting off with a smooth acoustic guitar that transitions into a laidback beat, Delaggo’s “Merlot” is a great display of lyrical and storytelling abilities by the rapper who touches on the subject of balancing time for everything there is to experience in life.
“Calenton” by Jota Frivonacci and Laya Kalima
A soulful and jazzy boom bap track, Jota Frivonacci and Laya Kalima’s “Calenton” is a fantastic love song that features great rapping by Frivonacci, singing by Kalima and production reminiscent of The Soulquarians.
“2 Horas” by GIO
An auto-tune featuring dancehall track, GIO’s “2 Horas” is a story driven danceable single about meeting a female love interest and spending the night with her after a night of partying, which features a nice trap beat progression near the end showing a bit of experimentation by the artist.
“Proverbios 18:24” by IM_ROBBY
A lyrical rap single that features a smooth boom bap beat, IM_ROBBY’s “Proverbio 18:24” is a five minute song that heavily touches on the subjects of trust and friendship and how these can be corrupted by money, time and success.
“A NADIE LE ENVIDIO” by kxvin
Another entry into the rapidly growing trap catalogue by Puerto Rico, kxvin’s “A NADIE LE ENVIDIO” is a single that sees the artist putting out there the many things he wants, i.e. money, clothes, success and traveling, and how much he wants to prove wrong everybody that has ever doubted him.
“JUSTICIA POETICA” by KILLO
A single that went a bit under my radar, KILLO’s “JUSTICIA POETICA” is a soulful boom bap track produced by Manny Dreads that features the rapper putting in full display his lyrical abilities while bragging about how good his technique is as well as the many aspects of his life.
“EN LA MIA” by Jota Rosa
An acoustic guitar driven alternative R&B trap single, Jota Rosa’s “EN LA MIA” is a love song that features the artist fusing trap with different sounds that have rarely been seen in the genre, most notably the acoustic guitar, making this a truly different tune than most found in the genre.
“Pa’ Complacer” by Cache
A nice boom bap track, Cache’s “Pa’ Complacer” is a nice story driven love song that gives out laid back vibes which are heavily influenced by Mac Miller. Moreover, the tune displays the young rapper’s ability to use Puerto Rican Spanglish with an upbeat production making this a fun single for listeners everywhere.
“Frente Al Espejo” by John Blake
An alternative R&B influenced trap track that balances singing and rapping, John Blake’s “Frente Al Espejo” is a love fused single that touches on the subject of trust and identity in a variety of settings. In short, the slow jamming track is definitely to be appreciated by those looking for a bit of introspection.
“DE CUANDO ACA” by Marc Jonnz
Another R&B influenced trap track, Marc Jonnz’s “DE CUANDO ACA” is love song set in the aftermath of a couple’s break-up where one of the members of said relationship is looking for the other in order to continue being together. Moreover, the slow jamming tune is definitely one that can be seen in the form of a music video or at least being added in listeners’ late night playlists.
“Carta de Despedida (Lujuria)” by KARO
Featuring production by Phiorick, KARO’s “Carta de Despedida (Lujuria)” is a song whose target could be interpreted in a variety of ways, but one thing’s for sure, it is a single fueled by love. By using Phiorick's fantastic production, this tune manages to display KARO’s storytelling and lyrical abilities making this song highly replayable.
“Presente” by Pablo Johansen X Yambo
Featuring some nice boom bap production Barrikada Records, this collaboration by Pablo Johansen and Yambo is a nice display of the artists’ lyrical abilities as they rap about a variety of topics, but the most prominent being how they seek their goals and how they use hip hop as a form of reflection and expression.
“Carpe Noctem” by Ruben Torres
Featuring a laid back yet dark, atmospheric and jazzy boom bap beat, Ruben Torres’ “Carpe Noctem” is a track that features the rapper’s lyrical abilities while touching on some dark subject matter such as facing life’s external struggles and internal conflicts like depression and suicidal tendencies making this a deep and introspective rap tune.
“Changes (Blvck Vibes Version)” by Yovng Iverson
A different take on the XXXTentacion of the same name, Yovng Iverson’s “Changes (Blvck Vibes Version)” is an R&B track that seems to be a reflection after heartbreak. Though the single seems to do very little to make changes to the original, it is good to see Yovng Iverson take on a beat already made famous and challenge himself as an artist.
“Rotacion” by Yensanjuan feat. Daniyyel and Fntxy
Originally released this past May, this trap collaboration by Yensajuan, Daniyyel and Fntxy is a great track to get parties started and to have everybody dancing making it a perfect addition to anybody’s hype playlist.
“Las Yales Quieren Calle” by Los Bronson
A fantastic instrumental surf rock track, Los Bronson’s “Las Yales Quieren Calle” is a song that seems to have been in Bandcamp since in 2016, but wasn’t in their Spotify until July 1st, 2018. Nevertheless, the single is a fantastic display by the band which shows their knowledge and control over the style they are continuing to make their own.
“Isla Nueva” by Pielago
Originally released in March 2018, Pielago’s latest single, “Isla Nueva”, is a great reggae track that sees the band reflecting on Puerto Rico’s past and present in order to provide a bright future for the those that come after us.
“Sin ti” by seint
A beat that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of emptiness, seint’s latest lo-fi hip hop instrumental perfectly captures what its title wishes to explore while providing some experimentation by the artist behind it.
“Carmen San Diego Interlude Vol. 1”, “Dime”, “Negrita”, “Solo #freechulo”, “Pal West”, and “Coco” by Krey
July was a very active month for singer/rapper Krey as the Mayaguez and San Juan based musician basically dropped an EP worth of singles (six in total) during the month. Kicking off with “Carmen San Diego Interlude Vol. 1”, the artist delivered an alternative R&B tune that, like many other songs in the genre, explored the field of troubled relationships. Then, Krey provided a more danceable and story driven love tune with “Dime”, a dancehall influenced single that perfectly fits with the summer vibes. Meanwhile, with “Negrita”, the artist went back to his R&B influences with a slow jamming single that will serve as a perfect addition to everybody’s late night playlist. Afterwards, the young musician delivered a trap track with “Solo (#freechule)”, a tune that explores a variety of topics, but most prominently trust. Then Krey dropped the alternative R&B influenced trap single “Pal West”, a story driven song about love and sex in the night life. Finally, to close the month properly, Krey delivered “Coco”, another dancehall influenced track that perfectly set the summer vibes back into the light. In short, July was a very active month for the young musician who, while delivering so much music, managed to put his lovely Mayaguez in the mind of listeners everywhere.
“No Me Dueles” by Lara Project
After leaving fans hungry for new music for over a year, Lara Project finally delivered this single in mid June 2018. A heavily auto-tuned alternative, electronic and atmospheric R&B single, “No Me Dueles” is a song that explores the aftermath of breaking up with one’s significant other. Moreover, the single serves as the promo for the musical project’s upcoming EP.
“Lluvia de Mayo” by Jazz Bandana
Serving as Jazz Bandana’s first foray into the field of reggaeton, “Lluvia de Mayo” was also the artist’s summer anthem as it featured a highly danceable beat that featured the standard dembow of the genre mixed with the new electronic pop sensibilities as well some more traditional acoustic and wind instruments to provide the summer and tropical vibes the musician was going for.
“Prelude” and “Doing It Better” by Ralfy J
I had never listened to Ralfy J before, but these two tracks served as great introductions. The first of these, “Prelude”, features a greatly produced beat that serves as the perfect atmosphere for the artist to display his lyrical abilities. Meanwhile, “Doing It Better” features a much more laid back beat that also serves as a perfect background for Ralfy J to put in display his techniques. Overall, with these two singles the young rapper demonstrates that he is an artist to keep an eye out for, especially if you like artists like those in Dreamville and Top Dawg Entertainment.
“Let You Go” by Gabriel Ryan
A display of introspective rap, Gabriel Ryan’s “Let You Go” is a lyrical presentation that explores the many sacrifices one has to do in order to achieve one’s goals while trying to motivate others. Moreover, the song shows a bit of Ryan’s influences in rappers like J Cole and Eminem. Thus, if you are looking for introspective raps, Ryan is definitely an artist to look out for.
“Medicine” by Wolves
Yet another entry into the realm of alternative R&B influenced trap, Wolves’ “Medicine” seems to be a love song about being addicted to a love interest despite both members of the relationship being bad for each other, a topic often explored in love and sex fueled trap.
“A Veces” by ARM
Featuring a nice piano in the background, ARM’s “A Veces” is a boom bap rap track that features the artist putting in full display his lyrical abilities while stating how much he wants the best for those he loves. Furthermore, ARM presents the suffering he and his loved ones have gone through. In the end, the track is one that many in today’s Puerto Rico can relate to and one that many need to listen.
“Fyah” by OwL
A bassline house track at heart, OwL’s “Fyah” is a banger that delivers almost five minutes worth of danceable music, which will surely have everybody in the club moving their feet, head banging, shaking their booties and flinging their arms around, hopefully taking into consideration those around them. In short, “Fyah” is great music for any form of physical activity, especially that which is heavily fueled by adrenaline.
“MAKE IT (BITCH)” by 6ELA THE GOAT
6ELA THE GOAT came to July 2018 with one goal in mind, to make a banger and that is exactly what he accomplished with “MAKE IT (BITCH)”. Some might criticize it for being simplistic, however that does not take anything away from the track’s mission, to get people hyped up. Heavily influenced by the energy created by trap artists from Atlanta and Florida fused with the simplicity of punk rock, “MAKE IT (BITCH)” is a tune that will have people head banging, jumping around, dancing and probably mosh pitting in the crowd of live performances. With this single, 6ELA THE GOAT truly managed to deliver a banger.
“NADIE SABE” and “TENEMOS EL WAVE” by PHNTOMFLEX
Like a few artists in this list, I had not known of PHNTOMFLEX until I heard these two singles and I was interested with his approach towards the trap genre. With “NADIE SABE”, the musician manages to perfectly blend dark atmospheric lo-fi trap with a visually and story driven tale of love and lust. Meanwhile, with “TENEMOS EL WAVE”, he once again uses his lo-fi aesthetic but mixes it with the more hyped side of trap. Out of the many trap artists I’ve heard recently, PHNTOMFLEX seems to be one of the few to blend the very lo-fi aesthetic of early proto-punk with trap in such an interesting way.
“Nonstop” by Exten
Another entry into the field of electronic music, Exten’s latest house single, “Nonstop”, is a psychedelic dance song that will surely have listeners moving their bodies in all sorts of ways making this a great addition to everyone’s party playlist.
“Bring It Back Freestyle (Spanish Remix)” by Young Chimi
A freestyle using the beat of Rich the Kid's song of the same name, this new track by Young Chimi features the rapper basically dissing all of his haters. In sum, tt is the result of what a Latin trap artist would do if given the opportunity to freestyle on a trap beat and, though the result is interesting, it would have been even better for the musician to go direct and say the names of his targets.
“Al sol de mis dias” by Jaxi Reaper
Featuring some experimental boom bap production, Jaxi Reaper’s latest single is a politically driven lyrical assault against the Trump administration as the rapper takes into consideration the constant struggle his people go through and how others fail to realize said problems.
“No Voy A Esperar” by Cyborg feat. Casals
After not releasing new music for a few months, Arecibo rapper Cyborg AOS got together with singer Casals to explore the field of dancehall in a love song with “No Voy A Esperar”. Though it may seem like a big change for AOS fans looking for him to explode with his lyrical abilities, it is interesting and fresh to see him explore more Caribbean-based sounds especially in a time of year where people are looking to relax and dance a bit under the Sun.
“Ojos Vendados” and “Razones” by Reyes †††
The two singles for his upcoming debut album Tazas de Armagura, “Ojos Vendados” and “Razones” are perfect displays of Reyes †††’s abilities as an artist. The first of these is an introspective boom bap track featuring beautiful production as the young rapper explores themes such as the current status of Puerto Rico and the people’s political awareness. Meanwhile, “Razones” is a jazzy and soulful lo-fi boom bap tune that sees the musician presenting his emotional side by exploring the subject of happiness and the willing to live in a variety of ways.
“Sin Freno” by Jota Infinito and Tony Small
Featuring fantastic production, this collaboration by Jota Infinito and Tony Small is a great display of the musicians’ lyrical prowess as they rap about their amazing techniques and how they are willing to take down any rapper who goes against them in a rap battle.
“Una Vida Mas” by B One and Tony Small
A collaboration between Costa Rican rapper B One and Puerto Rico’s own Tony Small, “Una Vida Mas” is a boom bap production that explores and goes against the loss of innocent lives at the hands of abusive officers and corrupt politicians.
As mentioned in previous entries of these series of articles, Puerto Rico’s independent music scene is delivering a lot of music, especially in the genres closely associated with hip hop, these being traditional boom bap rap along with others like trap, reggaeton, R&B and dancehall. However, while these may be the genres that constantly appear across social media, every now and then one will find singles by rock, reggae and electronic music acts demonstrating that the island has a lot to offer musically.
While the independent arts movement in Puerto Rico continues to grow, especially in the fields of literature, visuals and music, other art forms like performance and theater are also coming out to provide entertainment and social commentary on the island’s current political and socioeconomic status. Among the many presentations to balance these elements is CiRcO dE La pLaZa, which has been celebrated mainly in Mayagüez for the past four years. Mainly organized by members of the Vueltabajo Sitio collective, CiRcO dE La pLaZa has been known to be a series of events that bring together the community while providing entertainment, education and political commentary, and this year’s closure was no stranger to that.
Starting the event by walking from Taller Libertá towards the public plaza in Mayagüez, this year’s closure consisted of all sorts of puppets, dancers, musicians and performers. Among the many activities presented in the event were songs that inspired audience members to participate, storytelling for both pure entertainment and political commentary, music, spoken word poetry, acrobatics and theater performances which encouraged all sorts of participation and thinking.
Like in the previous seasons, CiRcO dE La pLaZa’s commitment to their community continues to stay alive and well. The group of performers still manage to entertain and inform their audiences with a variety of presentations that feature a wide variety of art forms from literature and visuals to performance and music making it a great place for people to gather around and connect while being entertained, informed and, probably, inspired
All of the pictures in this article were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez
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.