Finally we had settled into our lives in Panama. We had employment and apartments, so our short term goals were accomplished and that filled me with glee. Keep in mind that we had several long term goals in Panama-one being to learn spanish and to also create musical collaborations with other Panamanian artists. I must admit that my first couple of months I was much more concerned with the spanish language than hip hop, I really didn’t want to listen to any of it. I wanted to find out who were the top artists in Panama and only listen to their music, that way I would be forced to learn through submersion.
Interestingly when we first got to Panama the exact moment that we arrived at the house in Concepcion That I talked about in the last post, we put down our bags and noticed a commercial on tv. In a very exaggerated salesmen announcer-type voice in spanish “Nuevo Album de Nigga, Romantic Style.” There was an artist in Panama named Nigga! I was in true shock, I mean first off he wasn’t at all Black, not saying that it would have been better it he was. I couldn’t believe that him calling himself Nigga had been accepted by the black Panamanians. But there I go again trying to push my Afro American standards on the rest of the world. This guy was pretty huge in Panama, one of their biggest artist.
The funniest thing is that even the clothe that he gives to his staff staff says Nigga, so if he has black Panamanians on the Roster they would be wearing apparel that said Nigga staff..I just couldn’t resist capturing this moment……..excuse.
I wanted to know who were the real Panamanian artist the people I could really get with. So what better than just to ask the people living around me. Que artista Nacional escuchas Mas? Average response in the hood…EL Roockie, El Kid, DangerMan, Kafu Banton, Latin Fresh, Raices y Cultura. Of course there are several others, but lets concentrate on those guys first. El Roockie always had been touted to me as one of the most lyrical artists in Panama. From the first listen I fell in love with his music. The way he blends gangster tales with humanitarianism, stories about the spiritual realm and epic love in spanish reggae. I had never seen it before. Besides learning spanish from my cougar love affair, I learned a lot of spanish listening to his music and translating every song word for word. (Roockie is now my favorite artist)
Kafu Banton Latin Fresh and Raices y Cultura are also great artists as well. Latin Fresh is more of a Hip hop artist that experiments with Reggae Blends, his voice and storytelling abilities are out of this world. Kafu Banton on the other hand has such a caribbean feel, he is raw Reggae and Dancehall español to the core. Raices y Cultura is different type of entity because they are a band. Their music sounds so soothing and they sing a lot of politically conscious songs. The Bass Player from Raices y Cultura, Lloyd “Rasta Lloyd” Sutherland is also a producer at Paradise Records Entertainment. He produced most of the biggest records from the late great El Kid
Murder of El Kid
So, El Kid was pretty young too I believe he was 23 years old when he got killed. He was from Ciudad Radial, where we got our first apartments and he hung out a lot in the neighborhood of San Pedro which is very near. When I moved in with my x woman I moved to the area that he actually got killed at.
In El Marañon the place where El Kid and a fan were gunned down savagely after performing at a free concert. Can you imagine that this beautiful 18 year old girl, Dalyris Nicole Tejada Mariota was in the process of taking this chilling picture when the evil doer approached the artist El Kid. He shot and killed both El Kid and Tejada Mariota a second after the camera clicked. The level of violence is heavy In Panama and gang neighborhood association is prevalent. He repped a warring neighborhood apparently than the neighborhood he got murdered in. It was sad because I loved his music, and along with Rasta Lloyd it was almost as if they were starting a new genre of music in Panama. A type of hip hop influenced Dancehall fused with electronica expanding on the created Panamanian genre Bultron.
Murder of Dangerman
So once El Kid got murdered i started to think. Wow is this a normal thing? In 2008 another prominent rapper Dangerman was gunned down outside of his cousins house in Juan Diaz, He was huge at the time in Panama. He was the gangsta rapper, and his story told of an incredibly adventurous thug life. I must admit I loved listening to his music catching up on the older classics and learning the meanings of certain ghetto jargon in Panamanian spanish. Its interesting though how the video for this song is actually his own funeral, the last song recorded before his death.
Now we were starting to understand the inner workings of this Urban Panama music scene. But what about the underground, what about the artists that hadn’t been heard and were hungry to create and perform. We knew from jump that we wanted to collaborate with other artist and be apart of the underground music scene. We met P.O.C In Ciudad Radial where we had our apartments and from the gate he spit this rap he had called Badman, the flow was crazy, at that time I had no idea what he was saying but I knew that we had to work with him. We set up a pro-tools studio in the apartment with equipment that we bought from the states. It was time to bounce off ideas.
One of the most popular words in Panama was Chucha-either (Fuck! or Pussy!) Fuck in the sense of you dropped your keys in a drain and you wanted to express yourself. Def the first word that I learned moving there, and with that said we knew we had to make a song called Chucha. But we made the word an acronym so that we could we could turn it to a positive. C.H.U.C.H.A is the Clandestine Heart Under the Caged Hummingbird…Adentro (inside in spanish). So what we are asking for is the soul of the woman, we want to create healthy sustaining relationships. But to the average Panamanian listener the song was extremely vulgar.
we were now one step closer to stepping out into the underground music scene, next post I will share that journey..stay tuned my people….