I just saw this new video “Mi Color” posted on El Prieto‘s Facebook page today. The song by Jhomwua and Gula, his compatriots from the Flow Mafia collective, is from their Demasiado Criminal recording. Back in February, I had written about El Prieto’s powerfully raw hip hop from Venezuela and his social commentary on crime, poverty and war. This video is no less stirring and brutal as it takes us back in time to the 1700s and depicts the vicious cruelty and inhuman treatment the African slaves had to endure. As violent as the scenes are, the song’s message is about the strong will of the slaves and their descendents to ultimately overcome injustice and demand to be respected as equals. As Afro-Latino populations are often the most marginalized and poor and their history and contributions not widely acknowledged throughout Latin American societies, the song and video are important reminders of the African roots and values, the struggles the Afro-Latinos have had to endure, and the continuing fight to be treated with dignity today — Respecta Mi Color (Respect My Color).
Here’s your latest viral video enjoyment from Los Angeles: Jennifer Gabrielli of Redondo Beach didn’t want to mess up the all important Maid of Honor toast at her sister’s wedding by forgetting her speech and crying so she did what any conscientious little sister would do…write the speech to Eminem’s rap song “Without Me” and belt it out like a boss! Girl nailed it! Lyrics below. So much wonderful goofy goodness from people here in LA…want to see more?
(UPDATE 10/6/13: Next Cali Hustle is Tue Oct 8!)
Cali Hustle is a monthly free live music night, every 2nd Tuesday at The Virgil in Silverlake, featuring Quetzal Guerrero and his band and DJ Miss Sunny Z spinning the decks. Each month, they invite other wonderful emerging, independent bands and DJs to join them. It’s an eclectic night of music and dancing that I think is one of the best undiscovered secrets in LA!
They call it Cali Hustle for the eclectic blend of music being played, “California Soul, Samba, Reggae, Rock & More”, but I think the night is aptly named for another reason: we’re lucky so many talented musicians come here from all over the country and the world for the Cali dream and they hustle and work tirelessly at their craft and passion to bring us great music. I can’t think of an artist as talented and hard-working, yet as undiscovered as Quetzal Guerrero. Originally from Arizona and of American, Mexican and Brazilian heritage, Quetzal is a violin virtuoso, having studied since age 4, and combining that with his singing, songwriting and mastery of guitar and percussion, his music is a rich, unique blend of soul, funk, bossa nova, reggae and rock.
My friend Luis just turned me on to El Prieto, a rapper from Venezuela, whose song “Petare barrio de Pakistan” (Petare hood from Pakistan) about the grim realities of living in one of the roughest barrios in Caracas, known as the world’s most dangerous city, really catapulted him into hip hop consciousness outside of Venezuela. I still can’t find much information about him but his powerful lyrics and stirring videos, like “Fin del Mundo” (End of the World) are powerful social commentary about poverty, war and protest, that’s universally relevant. The archival footage of war, violence and injustice, flashing throughout the video from past to present, begs us to wonder if anything has really changed. Continue reading →