"Illegal aliens come from all over the world, not just from the hole in the fence in San Diego." - George Lopez, "Corazon," on BRWN BFLO's self-titled album.
Rocks Off gets lots of thank-you notes from readers showing their appreciation for giving Latino hip-hop a voice, though we find it odd. We work in PR during the day and we don't send heartfelt notes to journalists thanking them for writing on our clients; we don't think our client's customers do so either. It's an even exchange: "You write on news. We give it to you. Everybody wins."
But give it some context and it makes sense. Today, more than ever, we live in a world of lines - political lines, social lines, economic lines, and racial lines, that separate people into liberal and conservative, pros and antis, rich and poor, black and white. But where's the brown? Where is the voice for a Latino community who aside from its outspoken civil rights leaders, past and present, doesn't like to speak up, engage and fight on civil rights?
We don't know if it's an ingrained humility or complacency with what they have, or an assimilation pattern that's distanced themselves from heritage labels (and they have that right) but from Capitol Hill to the grassroots, we've seen our community pussy out more than once by staying quiet and not vocalizing their plight.
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So when someone grabs their nuts and decides to do something about it in their own small way, like maybe write about hip-hop, and draw a line in the sand and say, "It's Latino hip-hop and we need to pay attention to it." People get excited ... and thankful. Yes, we're grouping Latino hip-hop into modern day civil rights. Music's that important to us.
Speaking of being thankful, we felt thankful when we heard Brown Buffalo for the first time last year. That's just the way you pronounce their name; you spell it BRWN BFLO. The Oakland-based Latino hip-hop group has a song called "Corazon" on its self-titled album and they caught our attention when it started off with the above George Lopez quote.
The chorus is "smash the border, abajo con La Migra," which essentially translates to "down with immigration raids." Ballsy, militant. We like. They don't pussy out. Their MySpace says they are a Latino hybrid of War, 'Chente, NWA, and Wu-Tang Clan. We'd have to agree. Corazon ends with another Lopez quote:
"Do you think the Mexicans come to the United States to take all the good jobs from Americans? Oh yeah. You can see it. Oh yes, I'm only working in computers until something in produce opens up. . I take my hat off to people working the fields because I don't know anybody else who can do that shit."
[Applause] "Oh, you're becoming conscious now?"
Keep your eyes on these guys. Follow them on MySpace and Twitter. Watch their promotional video and check out how they use children in their video "What's Good?" There are loads of subliminal messages there.
We've been passing the last week listening to Preemo's Concrete Dreams non-fucking-stop. It's one of the best albums we've listened to in the last few years. Here's a video of his sixth or seventh best song on the album. That should give you an indication.
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