The past few months for the Puerto Rican indie scene have been filled with a lot of singles coming from the fields of hip hop and electronic music. Luckily, this month more work has been found in the field of rock and other sub-genres providing a bit of a balance. Below are some of the singles I found across the month of September 2018, some of which were released previously and I just failed to listen to them before.
“El Tiempo No Es La Cura” by LADRONES
The three new singles by LADRONES, “Cancion de Stan,” “Tropimuerte” and “No Le Tengo Miedo a la Muerte,” which seem to be an EP or songs for a future project titled “El Tiempo No Es La Cura,” are a short but adrenaline fusion of punk and garage rock that will definitely have listeners head banging and creating mosh pits solo or with their friends.
“2do Festival de los Beats” by Kampo
A very short EP composed of two songs, “Problems” and “Sunday Night,” Kampo’s “2do Festival de los Beats” displays the artist’s ability to balance some lo-fi hip hop instrumentals while creating an ethereal and psychedelic atmosphere.
“Traitors Arise” by Cold Times
Featuring a slowly building intro, the latest track by the hardcore group Cold Times is a fantastic crossover thrash tune that explores subjects such as treachery, fake identities and trust while serving as the first single for their latest album Unfortunate Outcome.
“Augurio: El Grito del Eclipse” by Cienega
A relaxing piece of ambient music, this first single from Cienega’s debut full-length project, Isla Eterna, blends elements of smooth jazz and synth pop to create an atmosphere made perfect for anybody looking to study, chill or just vibe.
“CONTROL” by La Maquinaria de Tortura
A rock n roll track at heart with elements of hardcore punk, the latest tune by La Maquinaria de Tortura is a great song that will surely create mosh pits in live performances while serving as a great addition to everybody’s adrenaline fueled playlists.
“Ven Conmigo” and “SEXXX” by Krey
As he continues to explore different sounds, Krey isn’t afraid to delve into the field of dancehall and that’s what he does in the first of his September singles, “Ven Conmigo,” thereby providing a fun and groovy track which will have listeners wanting to go to the beach or simply dancing in their favorite bar or club. Meanwhile, with “SEXXX” he delivers a sexually driven electronic music influenced trap tune that serves as a good addition for a late night playlist.
“Cocinando (Flip)”, “Piña Colada” and “Pasos” by Marlon Frank
Being one of the most active members of the community this month, Marlon Frank delivered three singles. The first of these is a fantastic remix of the famous Ray Barreto tune in the form of “Cocinando (Flip),” which serves as a great example of how to take beautiful salsa music and blending it with a hip hop beat. Meanwhile, “Piña Colada” is a relaxing and experimental trap influenced R&B tune that might be a great addition to listeners’ late night playlist. Finally, “Pasos” is another smooth boom bap rap inspired beat that requires head bobbing for its entirety of two minutes.
“Bandolero” by Charlie Boldman and True Astro
This latest single by Charlie Boldman sees him collaborate with Spanish trap artist True Astro to deliver a short yet hypnotic and solid addition to anybody’s party playlist as the musicians sing about familiar lyrical themes found within the genre.
“Supersaiyajin” by Gaby Chuleta
Another addition to the songs in hip hop that use the Dragon Ball franchise as a metaphor for the amount of work the musician puts in for their art, this new Gaby Chuleta tune is a party track which will have some listeners dancing and others singing the lyrics.
“Bodrogos (Version 2018)” by Labajura
A new version of the song found in the musician’s self-titled debut project, the 2018 version of “Bodrogos” features new details added to the mix while keeping the fun and energetic vibe presented in the original tune.
“In the Park” by WIKI feat. Gloss Gang
The latest single by the New York-based Puerto Rican Irish rapper, WIKI, sees him collaborate with Gloss Gang as they display their lyrical abilities over a very interesting yet smooth beat produced by Tony Seltzer.
“No Me Ronques” by OMVRxJC feat. KING TEA
Featuring production by OMVR, the latest single by OMVRxJC features a relaxing beat while the duo, alongside KING TEA, warn everybody in the rap game to be truthful at all times.
“The Amazing Day” by Bonafide Rojas & The Mona Passage
A blend of spoken word and alternative rock, the latest single by Nuyorican poet Bonafide Rojas and his band The Mona Passage shows the writer presenting what would be the perfect and most ideal day.
“Lepidoptera” by MOTHS
The first single for their forthcoming EP, “Lepidoptera” shows MOTHS displaying their blend of stoner and progressive metal in a tune that will have listeners head banging, analyzing the tune’s musical techniques or both.
“Fuckin T r i l l y s” and “Julia” by Yung Hannibal // Yung Lecter // Yung Lee
One of the most active members of the community this month, Yung Hannibal AKA Yung Lecter AKA Yung Lee has released two singles. The first of these, “Fuckin T r i l l y s,” is a short and to the point diss against everybody in the genre pretending to have money and being gangster. Meanwhile, “Julia” is a much longer and layered love tune that blends elements of R&B and the slowly emerging emo rap sub-genre.
“Encabronao (Im Upset Freestyle)” by Jib Da’ Mist
Rapping over the beat to Drake’s famous single “I’m Upset,” Jib Da’ Mist’s “Encabronao” sees the musician singing about a variety of topics especially the sacrifices he has made to get where he is in the industry.
“Pa’ La Playa” by Mike Rodz
Featuring production by Charlie Trems, Mike Rodz’s latest single is a smooth and relaxing reggae influenced hip hop love track about enjoying a good time with one’s love interest at the beach.
“BO$$ES” by Envy X Ralfy J X Kombo the X Writer
The latest collaboration by Envy, Ralfy J and Kombo the X Writer sees the musicians performing over some fantastic production as they rap about their ambitions with music and how they handle their business.
“Blanca Coca” by Joseph Alex
A love song which uses the addiction cocaine can create as a metaphor for the musician’s interest for a female love interest, Joseph Alex’s “Blanca Coca” is a relaxing blend of an acoustic guitar with a boom bap rap beat that is certified to attract many listeners if given the proper promo.
“G5” by OMVRXJC
Another single from some of the most prolific trap musicians in the scene right now, OMVRXJC’s “G5” shows the artists continuing to rap about familiar subject matter while experimenting with a few differences to their sound.
“Pali Amarilla” by Jose Yellow ft. Gaby Chuleta
The latest collaboration between Jose Yellow and Gaby Chuleta is a fantastic banger that will have audiences dancing, head banging and possibly creating mosh pits despite the little growth in the artists’ lyrical content.
“Zafiro” by Rey Varreino
Featuring lo-fi boom bap production by Seint, the latest single by young rapper Rey Varreino is another display of his lyrical prowess as he touches on a variety of subjects such as love and how he is willing to take on anybody in the rap scene to prove his greatness.
“OK” by Alvaro Diaz X Sousa
The latest collaboration by Alvaro Diaz and Sousa is an infectious banger that will will have listeners reciting the words and having fun to the lyrics that make fun of people who pretend to be “gangsters” and “playboys.”
“Mueve La Chola” by PJ Sin Suela
Presented alongside with a powerful video, the latest PJ Sin Suela single is a fusion of conscious boom bap rap along with an aggressive electric guitar that sees the increasingly growing artist touching on a variety of themes among them being fake gangsters in the genre and violence against women.
“Lava” by Los Walters
Just a few months after releasing their EP “Caramelo,” the synthpop group return with another single in the form of “Lava,” yet another solid production that will content fans and have listeners of all lifestyles dancing and/or moving their bodies in a variety of ways.
“DRVGXS” by Envy X Gaby Chuleta
Featuring interesting and creative production by Sauros and Windxws, the latest collaboration between Envy and Gaby Chuleta is a hip hop track that sees the musicians exploring familiar territory as they rap about drug use within the party lifestyle.
“Slave to Luxury” by Velcro ft. Mireya Ramos
Featuring fantastic production and the vocal talents of Mireya Ramos, the latest single by rapper Velcro is a conscious hip hop track that presents the artist reflecting on the current relationship between Puerto Rico and the politicians who govern the island and the United States.
“Noche Entera” by Homies Clan
Featuring production by JBD, the new single by Homies Clan is a dancehall inspired tune that will have listeners shaking their hips and stomping their feet all across the night.
“Call Me (Remix)” and “Corito Sano” by A1
Featuring production by Aaron P, the first single by A1 on Septemeber is a trap influenced and sexual storytelling driven R&B tune which will have listeners creating images very clearly. Meanwhile, his second, “Corito Sano”, is a short but to the point commentary against the fake tough guys found within the music industry.
“Rapero Skater” by Fico Rodz
Coming in late September, the latest single by the Mayagüez-based rapper and skateboarder is a homage to those two professions as he reflects on the state of rap and skateboarding in Puerto Rico while showing a bit of attitude against haters.
“Necedades” by Mr. HumA
Featuring production by MONKEYSTUDIO, the latest single by Mr. HumA is a bass-heavy trap tune that will definitely have listeners head banging from start to end as the rapper flows in an impeccable fashion through the beat.
“Guerra” by CONCO
The first video single by CONCO, the new project by Ian Cahill and Jorge Chafey, is an electronic music driven homage to the late Puerto Rican boxer Héctor “Macho” Camacho with a little bit of vaporwave influence.
As seen in previous months and now in September, the independent music scene in Puerto Rico shows no signs of stopping its continuous growth and constant production, especially on the side of singles. As time goes on, one can only hope that the activity by the artists continues to go in such a way despite the problems which may arise.
Recently, one of the most active and open spaces for independent bands to present their music has been Mayagüez’s Off the Wall and last Friday, September 28th, the bar/restaurant served as the host for a presentation which featured the indie rock band Cologne and the punk group Topo Negro.
(promo for the event by Derick Joel)
Kicking off the show was the Moca-based band Cologne who, with their blend of indie, dance and prog rock, had the audience in attendance dancing, head banging and shaking their hips to songs like “El Último Baile” and eventually ended with what seemed like a heavy guitar driven version of their closing track “Ted Bundy Tuvo un Sueño de Justicia.”
(picture of Cologne by Fernando E. E. Correa González)
After Cologne’s performance, Topo Negro entered the stage led by their vocalist Ismael “Topo” Santiago to deliver what was an explosive display of punk rock which had the crowd in attendance moshing to songs like “Brujas en Sk8” and “Unleashed: Llamado.”
(picture of Topo Negro by Fernando E. E. Correa González)
In short, last Friday, September 28th, served as a great night for the independent music scene in Puerto Rico as two of the most active bands of the west took center stage of Mayagüez’s Off the Wall to deliver an escape for the community.
As Puerto Rico’s independent music scene continues to go deep into the field of trap, more musicians are trying to blend the genre with elements of emo and lyrical rap while approaching it with a bit of a punk rock attitude. Blackwill’s debut project, Greyborn, does exactly this while being an introspective album that provides a look into the rapper’s inner demons while sharing a few potential bangers.
(cover art for the project)
Greyborn kicks off with the title track, a slow-paced dark and atmospheric tune that serves as the album’s thesis. Afterwards, Blackwill delivers two songs,”Cycles” and “(I’m Not Dead) I Swear,” which have the potential to become mosh pit starters if performed live. Then we are provided with “Don’t Call My Phone,” a collaboration with Lucid Haze which has the potential to be a banger. However, it is with “18” that we truly receive a banger that will have people dancing, head banging and/or creating mosh pits in live shows. Finally, the album’s first half closes with “Unreal,” an introspective boom bap influenced song which shows Blackwill rapping about his inner demons.
(picture of the artist as found on his Facebook)
The second half of Greyborn starts with “Blind (Interlude),” a great transition from the previous tune which shows an interesting use of dark vocals mixed with static and a ukulele providing a bit of a surreal experience. Then we are provided with “Roses Smell Like Violence,” a lo-fi acapella that feels like a freestyle rap which serves as a nice transition to the following tune, the emo rap influenced “Used to It.” Afterwards, we are provided with the trap influenced “Elephant,” a song that is possibly influenced by the Gus Van Sant film of the same name. Then the album delivers the very danceable banger “4k-Virus,” which transitions to the closer ”I Wanna Be Immortal.” This final track shows a bit more of Blackwill’s experimentation as he starts with a punk influenced and bass heavy beat that changes to a more boom bap sound which fuses lyrical rapping with a few melodies.
(Blackwill performing as found on Facebook)
Blackwill’s Greyborn is a project that shows the artist’s ability to explore a variety of sounds, from punk fueled trap to emo rap and even lyrical boom bap rap. However, the short running time leaves one to question if the ideas could have been fleshed out a bit more. Nevertheless, the album is a display of the musician’s potential for the future.
Listen to Greyborn on Spotify
All of the pictures in this article were found on his Facebook
Last summer, one of the many artists from Puerto Rico’s independent music scene to put out work constantly was the San Juan and Mayagüez-based singer and rapper Krey. With singles like “Coco,” “Pal West,” “Negrita” and “Dime,” the young musician managed to display a range of influences from genres like hip hop, trap, R&B and dancehall. However, with his new EP, “U.F.O.,” Krey blends a few of these sounds with other more atmospheric and psychedelic ones.
(cover art for the project)
The first song in the project, “U.F.O.,” shows Krey fuse psychedelia and ethereal energy with an R&B influenced trap beat. Afterwards, the second entry in the EP, “Cuando Cae la Noche,” is a much more danceable tune influenced by house music as the young musician sings about the nightlife. Finally, Krey finishes his latest project with “Imaginatelo,” a fun and upbeat groovy track which will have listeners feeling like they are dancing across the stars inside the singer’s spaceship.
(picture of the artist as found on his Facebook)
As Krey continues to put out work, the artist is slowly showing experimentation as he explores different sounds. While in the past he has dabbled into the fields of hip hop, dancehall and R&B, with “U.F.O.” he shows a bit more range as he goes into psychedelia, house music and more pop-inspired soundscapes definitely making him one of the musicians to keep an eye on.
Listen to “U.F.O.” on Spotify
For the past few years, the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez’s Arte en la Placita has been a space for the community’s artists and small businesses to show off their talents and make contact with everyone around them. This past Thursday September 13th, 2018, the student organization came together once again so artisans, creators and everyone around could connect through art.
(promo for the event as found on social media)
As UPRM’s Universal Hour (10:30AM to 12:30PM) came around, artists like Sarah Paulette Arana from Raitru, Heidy Colon from HB Art, Val Ortiz from Morivivi and others like Bandolera Clothing, Hennatural, Papeleria Natura, GAQUINO and Earth n Ink Studios started setting up their stations. Meanwhile, young musician Xavier Osvaldo Aymat, known for his work with Grumpa as well as his literary work as published in the Vox Populi Anthology, served as the event’s music curator providing a blend of jazz, instrumental rock, funk, hip hop and dream pop selections. As time passed by and the space was blessed with some nice music, people from the college community came along looking to buy and support the artists and local business that were present at the event.
(all of the pictures above were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
Thanks to activities like Arte en la Placita, students and everyone inside the UPRM’s college community can come together, connect and communicate through the medium of art while getting to know new artists and local businesses. Yesterday was an example of how this type of event is highly necessary for those looking to release some stress while having fun. Hopefully, Arte en la Placita will continue to strive and give people a space to interact and express themselves.
"Una Tacita de Arte": TEATRUM & El Loveshack Come Together to Provide an Open Space for Art to Fluorish
Now that the semester is slowly kicking in, starting a few “hell weeks” in the process, college students all over the west side of Puerto Rico are looking for ways to release stress and express themselves. Last night, September 12th, 2018, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaüez’s TEATRUM and local coffee shop El Loveshack came together to provide an open mic where the community at large could come and share their art, thoughts and ideas.
(promo for the event as found on social media)
In the midst of coffee and food, an audience close to thirty people came together last night to witness and participate in a space that would provide poetry, music, jokes and passionate life stories and when the clock hit 7:00pm that is exactly what happened. The event started with members of TEATRUM breaking the ice by sharing some of their music and literature, though others like poets Ketsia Ramos and Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez read some of their work too. However, after a while the public, which had many newcomers to this type of event, eventually took a step forward and started participating by reciting some of their poetry, anecdotes, singing and even performing some of their music.
(all of the pictures above were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
In short, last night’s TEATRUM-hosted open mic night in El Loveshack, “Una Tacita de Arte,” served as a great and very necessary space for the college community and those at large to express themselves and leave their built up stress out there while having a little bit of fun with a side dish of good food and coffee.
Puerto Rico’s place in hip hop has existed from the very founding of the genre and to this day many musicians related to the island are constantly adding to the way the genre grows. While Boriken exploded one of the biggest sub-genres in reggaeton and is currently giving birth to many Latin trap artists, other musicians continue to explore the traditional lyrical roots of hip hop. Recently, Eiví contributed to the field of lyrical rap with his latest compilation, “Despedida.”
(cover for the compilation)
Eiví’s “Despedida” kicks off with “(DES)ILUSION,” which features the vocal talents of Nicolas Nerva, as he raps with noticeable anger, passion and adrenaline balancing said emotions to Nerva’s R&B influenced sound. Then he delivers another injection of adrenaline with “De Nuevo” where he spits about his greatness as an MC. Afterwards, the project relaxes with “No Pensar,” a laid back reggae influenced boom bap song featuring the talented Suciedad as they rap about escaping reality for a while. The compilation then moves to “Un Seco,” a great display of lyricism where he reflects on his status in the rap scene. Afterwards, Eiví collaborates with Karo and Killo in “Ofendido,” a song that presents their points of view regarding criticism. The project then moves along with “En Las Entrañas,” a tune about betrayal and honesty. Then Eiví presents the compilation’s title track as he raps about the difficulties of chasing one’s dreams and how at times one argues about continuing to pursue said goals. Finally, the project finishes with Eiví freestyling over the beat to Schoolboy Q’s hit “That Part.”
(picture of the rapper as found in his Soundcloud)
While many rappers focus on making bangers, others dedicate themselves to lyrical ability and introspection showing the different sides of hip hop’s biggest categories. Eiví’s latest compilation is a display of lyrical ability that features songs with possible mainstream appeal due to the passion that drives them showing that the musician is one who can delve into the depths of the underground while providing emotionally connecting music for the masses.
Listen to “Despedida” on Soundcloud
"Luces En La Oscuridad (Prologo)": Ruben Torres Explores Depression and Mental Health in His Latest EP
As hip hop continues to dominate the amount of music released by Puerto Rico’s independent music scene, more rappers are exploring the emo side of the genre as they reach deep inside themselves. Out of the many artists coming up in the sub-genre, Ruben Torres is one of the few to deliver a complete EP, “Luces En La Oscuridad (Prologo),” focused on the subject of mental health and depression.
(cover for the EP)
Throughout the entirety of Ruben Torres’ latest EP, he is exploring the voices that exist in one’s mind. From the very introduction, “Debut (Intro),” we are presented a man who is struggling to deal with his inner demons. From there, the project moves to “Febrero,” a tune that not only explores mental health but also loss and grief. Then the EP explores depression in songs like “Luces en la Oscuridad” and “Tripiando en Marte” as well as the interlude “Des demons.” Finally, the project finishes with “Entumecido,” a track that even explores the subject of suicide while encouraging those suffering from said thoughts to fight through and get help.
(cover for Torres’ latest single “Todo Esta Bien”)
While emo rap is slowly becoming a part of Puerto Rico’s indie music scene, very little musicians have delivered a complete project. With “Luces En La Oscuridad,” Ruben Torres manages to deliver perhaps the first full EP in the sub-genre as he explores subjects like depression, mental health and suicide.
Listen to “Luces En La Oscuridad (Prólogo)” on Soundcloud
As the popularity of trap continues to rise in Puerto Rico, many rappers in the independent scene keep exploring the original hip hop sound of boom bap while reflecting on their life and surroundings. Among the many to use said sound are Kombo the X Writer, Negro Gonzalez, La Estación Central and the Lares-based Benlirico, the last of these recently did so with a short and to-the-point self-titled EP.
(cover for the EP)
The start to Benlirico’s self-titled EP is “Somos Asi,” a bass heavy production that serves as a perfect introduction for the project as it features the rapper displaying his lyrical abilities, a task which he continues with the following track, “No Me Arrepiento.” Afterwards, Benlirico closes the first half of his EP by exploring the weird side of hip hop as he provides introspective raps over a surreal beat.
(picture of the artist as found in his Facebook)
The second half to Benlirico’s EP kicks off with a boom bap heavy tune, “Como Es Posible,” that sees the rapper looking at the current state of his surroundings by providing commentary about certain injustices. The artist then looks back at his start in hip hop culture on the song “Freestyle.” Finally, the project finishes with “Momentos,” a boom bap driven tune that sees the rapper exploring the theme of hardship and how one wishes to escape this through music.
(art of the rapper as found in his Facebook)
While the prevailing sounds of hip hop continue to be those provided by trap and dancehall, it is good to see other rappers continue to explore the traditional boom bap beat in order to express their inner demons and what they see around them. With his latest self-titled EP Benlirico manages to deliver said experience.
Listen to the “Benlirico EP” on Spotify
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.