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Spanish hip hop

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Title: Spanish hip hop  
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Subject: Latin hip hop, Tonada, Jarana yucateca, Guarania (music), Music of the Canary Islands
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Spanish hip hop

Spanish hip hop is hip hop music produced in Spain.

Spanish hip hop is directly influenced by United States' hip hop, and the hip hop produced in Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, by other European countries, such as France and the United Kingdom.

At the same time, Spanish hip hop has an international audience (including tours, collaborations and mixtape exchanges), in Latin America, the United States and Europe.

Latin American migration to Spain has also influenced the hip hop produced in the country, spreading certain sounds, like reggaeton.

The hip hop culture in Spain is often socially conscious, and has a strong presence on working-class barrios (neighbourhoods), but it is not limited to these. Hip hop in Spain is strong in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Sevilla and Málaga, but the scene is present in most of the other regional capitals.

Its sound is directly inspired by the major hip hop styles on the United States (East Coast, South, Northern and West Coast), but it incorporates influences from flamenco or rumba (for example with artists like Solo los Solo, or La Mala Rodríguez), or Latin music in the use of loops and samples.

It uses Spanish as a main language for their lyrics, but it is not unusual to hear it mixed up with fully formed English-language sentences and slang words (a kind of limited spanglish), or English-spoken samples on their productions.

Spanish hip hop also cultivates good relationships with the dancehall / reggae culture, and there is frequent collaboration between artists from both musical worlds.

Spanish public radio currently features two long-lasting Hiphop radio shows: La Cuarta Parte and El Rimadero, broadcasting national and international hip hop daily and weekly.

After some early examples of Spanish hip hop, by groups like The Mean Machine in the late 1970s, hip hop music spread through Spain during the first half of the 1980s, via

  • skate culture, graffiti and the breakdance,
  • plays on several radio shows (for example Radio 3 with "La radio de las mil danzas"), night clubs (Stone's, in Madrid, or Studio 54 in Barcelona), music stores (Disco J.L., New Record, Rayfield Singleton)
  • films (Beat Street, Breakdance)
  • imported vinyls and cassettes.

The American military base of Torrejón de Ardoz (including its radio station) is often cited as one of the places from which hip hop music started to leak into Spanish society.


Spanish hip hop began in 1979. The Mean Machine was first with disco rapping. Then in 1980 La Familia was born, a four-man bilingual Spanish/English group. Don Juan was the leader, then Lou Rock, Robski, with El Indio as the fourth member of the group. La Familia was the first Hispanic group to go public with hiphop in a Spanish form. Don Juan, the lead rapper at the time, wrote the Spanish lyrics for the group. Lourock wrote the English lyrics. The group was offered many record deals at the time, the most in Latin hip hop history. Record labels like West End recorded The Fever and then Ruff House, Columbia. At this time Robski, one of the group members, formed his own style of Latin rap, which in turn went to Ruff House on his own to record for the label 1992. His recordings were never released. La Familia disbanded 1993. The group performed on stage with Doug E Fresh, Fearless Four, Masterdon Committee and many others. In 1989 Troya Dscs&Rcrs label released the first Spanish hip hop LP: Madrid Hip Hop, a compilation of four bands from the province of Madrid: DNI, Estado Crítico, Sindicato del Crimen and QSC. The record presented two cuts of each band.

Later in 1989, the major label Ariola had a campaign to establish some hip hop stars, with a new compilation of Madrilene hip hop music: Rappin Madrid and introduced more soloists and groups, like MC Randy & D.J. Jonco.

These attempts had limited success, but did help to establish a viable hip hop scene in Madrid.

During the 1990s there was a gradual expansion, and underground hip hop reached many listeners over the decade. The most important places of Spanish hip hop, apart from Madrid (with a very important contribution from CPV, Frank T, Duo Kie, Chojin, VKR, Chirie Vegas, Costa, Yako Muñoz, Xcese, Primer Dan, Mitsuruggy, Darmo, Costa

In Barcelona, are 7 Notas 7 Colores, Elements, Dilema, Kunta K, Pachecos, Christian Crisis), Chacho Brodas among others.

In Valencia, Are Fill Black, Choco Bros, (Johnny Doc, Àngel, Jackobo Hernández), Asturias (Johnny Fontane, Gee Malee, Urban P.) and Málaga (Hablando en Plata Squad, Elphomega, Triple XXX, Jefe de la M).

In Seville, Andalusia are Haze (real name Sergio López Sanz), Poetas Sureñas (the member Negro Jari is also a prolific solo artist and the band has often collaborated with Manuel El Popeye), SFDK (made up of Zatu and Acción Sánchez), Dareysteel, Tote_King, Shotta, Jesuly, Dogma Crew, Juaninacka. Seville has been a significant growth area for Spanish-language hip hop rappers in Spain in recent years.

In Zaragoza are Violadores del Verso, Rapsusklei.

Now, Spain has a number of high profile artists who are introducing Spanish hip hop music to the United States like DJ Jooz, who has released mixtapes with artists like with Ace Hood, Trae, and Rasheeda. He is a member of Slipe-N-Side Records and is the most important and active hip hop DJ from Spain.

There are producers like Slash Major, who introduced Trap to Spain, and who works with F.L.Y. (Fast Life Yungstaz), Kirby, Waka Flocka Flame, and Roscoe Dash. Also Cookin' Soul, and Torrico, who produced one of Juelz Santana's biggest hits, "Days of our lives".

Notable songs

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