Christian Rap’s Latino Minority Quickly Becoming a Major Force
Whether you’ve noticed it or not, one of your favorite Christian rappers might be Latino. Now, more than ever, Hispanic influence has taken root in the genre and it may never be the same.
One of the most beautiful aspects of hip-hop is the way it brings communities together and also tells a variation of the same story throughout. In the early days of hip-hop in New York City, emcees represented neighborhoods. There were Bronx rappers, Queens rappers, Brooklyn rappers, and so on and so forth. Every rapper’s region had a uniquely different story but with the same hard times struggle sprinkled in.
Hip-Hop was sort of on equal footing between African Americans and Latinos from the 70s to mid-80s. After those early years where Hip-Hop groups had multiple members, the Hispanic influence began to thin out. The White culture had rock & roll and the angsty punk rock and Black culture had jazz and R&B. Yet, somewhere in the middle (disco and funk), the music clashed and created hip-hop. It wasn’t until the Beastie Boys and then, unfortunately, Vanilla Ice, that White culture started mingling in in a major way.
From then on hip-hop has still been African American dominated. Sure, there are Eminem’s, Mac Miller’s, Macklemore’s, and a whole slew of indie guys sprinkled throughout, but still it’s pretty Black dominated.
Surprisingly enough, the second largest ethnic minority in the U.S. (Hispanics), have been noticeably absent from mainstream success. They had B-Real of Cypress Hill, Big Pun, and Fat Joe, but Latino’s are a minority in mainstream hip-hop and it doesn’t seem to be getting anymore diverse. Rappers Fabolous, Lloyd Banks, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana are are half Latino. There are plenty of musical hybrids like Pitbull and Daddy Yankee, but there aren’t enough Joell Ortiz’s.
In these same neighborhoods that hip-hop was being bred in, Latino’s also came from that era. The whole Bronx is burning 70s affected the many minority groups that called it their home. Yet, still, their stories haven’t really shown up on wax.
In the 80s there was the West Coast’s Kid Frost holding it down as one of the first Latino’s of hip-hop notoriety. Prince Whipper Whip and Prince Markie Dee were others, but success was limited.
There is, however, one place where the Latino population seems to be growing and thriving, and that’s Christian Hip-Hop.
Apologies to any artists missed on this list, but there are a lot of Hispanic artists currently shaping and moving the culture forward. By all means, if you’re reading this and see someone noteworthy that is active today, not included, shout the name out in the comments.
In no particular order, here are the Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Mexicans, Dominicans, Central and South Americans that are repping Christian hip-hop’s Hispanic culture in various ways whether rapping, producing, or being creative. Some are half white, some are half of two Hispanic cultures, some are half black, and some can trace their roots to indigenous people of the “New World.”
Butta P and Juan Love (Rhema Soul), Lawren, Mogli the Iceburg, Eric Heron, Oscar Urbina, Social Club Misfits (Marty and Fern), GAWVI, DJ Mykael V, WHATUPRG, Gerry Skrillz, GordonBeats, OnBeatMusic, Joey Jewish, Double ATL, Ray Rock, Alex Medina, Datin, Angie Rose, Manwell Reyes (Group1Crew), Th3 Saga, Loso, Bryann Trejo, Hector Dominguez, Tragic Hero, Skrip, and Tee-Wyla.
Of course, Christian Hip-Hop pioneers such as D-Boy, T-Bone, New Breed, the Tunnel Rats, Unity Klan, and Geno V helped paved the way for Latinos in Christian Hip-Hop, but the artists listed above are making relevant moves in the culture every day to carry on the next generation.
Rapzilla spoke to a number of artists to get their take on Latino’s in Christian hip-hop and in hip-hop in general.