New York Latin Rap was created by Black and Latin kids in The Bronx in the 1970s.
We say “rap” instead of “hip-hop” because hip-hop culture includes DJing, rapping, graffiti, and break dancing. Latin rappers don’t necessarily do all that. Hip-Hop is more a Bronx thing.
R&B, disco, Jamaican sound system culture (reggae, ska, and dancehall), Cuban & Puerto Rican trovadores (troubadours), and West African Griots are roots. We use our Creole speech to stretch language in interesting ways. Vico C was the first Latin rapper. Residente (Calle 13) won the most awards.
Freestyle is a popular form of rap in New York’s Puerto Rican and Italian communities since the 1980s. The Stretch and Bobbito radio show on WKCR Columbia University was a 1990s catalyst. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (“In the Heights,” “Hamilton“) first show was Freestyle Love Supreme. He put freestyle on Broadway.
Rap crosses over into other urban musics such as reggaeton and latin trap. Rap is everywhere now.
New York Latin Rap Features
Bronx Week includes a silent disco, skate party, Bronx Walk of Fame induction, parade, food and arts festival, and a concert.
May 12-21, 2023
🇺🇸 🇩🇴 🇵🇷
Opens Friday, March 17, 2023
East Harlem, Manhattan
Saturday, March 11, 2023
“El Barrio” East Harlem
🇺🇸 🇯🇲 🇵🇦 🇵🇷
NYC Latin Rap
- Calle 13 🇵🇷
- Cardi B 🇩🇴
- El Hijo de Borikén 🇵🇷
- Mala Rodríguez 🇪🇸
- Maluca Mala 🇩🇴
- Residente 🇵🇷
- Tego Calderón 🇵🇷
- Vico C 🇵🇷
NYC Rap Venues
NYC Rap Festivals
NYC Rap Theatre
- Freestyle Love Supreme (Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2004) 🇵🇷
- Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015) 🇵🇷
- La canción (Vico C) 🇵🇷
- 1620 Sedgwick Ave is where Cool Herc held the first hip-hop parties.
- Universal Hip-Hop Museum
- WKCR 89.9fm Columbia University
- Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2004)
- Wild Style (1982)
- “The Get Down” (Netflix, 2016) by Baz Lhurmann (Moulin Rouge) and New York playwright Stephen Adly Giurgis (Between Riverside & Crazy). 🇵🇷
New York Latin Rap News
Anuel AA “Legends Never Die” Tour brings Puerto Rican Rap to Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 8pm. This makes good the cancelled October 13, 2022 concert. 🇵🇷
Freestyle & Old School Extravaganza brings freestyle rap legends Lisa Lisa, Mase, Tone Loc, TKA, Montell Jordan, Slick Rick, George Lamond, CeCe Peniston, Nice and Smooth, Judy Torres, Soul Sonic Force, DJ Kool, The Cover Girls, Cynthia, Black Sheep, and Soave to Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center, NYC on Friday, February 10, 2023 at 8pm. From $122. 🇵🇷
Freestyle Love Supreme (SPECIAL TONY AWARD, Lin-Manuel Miranda) is on Broadway at the Booth Theater October 7, 2021 – January 2, 2022. From $59. 🇵🇷
The Cruce de Campeones USA National Freestyle Rap Finals are at La Boom NY in Woodside, Queens on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 6pm. Cacha vs Yartzi is the exhibition. From $35. 🇨🇴🇨🇺🇩🇴🇪🇨🇬🇹🇲🇽|🇦🇷🇵🇷
Origins of Latin Rap
Rap was created by Black and Latin kids in The Bronx in the 1970s.
Latin kids contributed their parents’ Palladium Ballroom moves to hip-hop break dancing. Watch a Palladium Ballroom video and a break dancing video, and you’ll see what we mean.
To an island Puerto Rican, rap looks like a lot Puerto Rico’s trovadores (troubadours). A trova battle is just like a rap battle.
Some hip-hop dance moves look like bomba moves. The way a rapper stands with folded arms, throws their arms out in a circular motion, and starts a break dance in the dance circle, all look like bomba dance traditions to us.
Once you notice, the similarities are striking. We just don’t know who influenced who.
Latin Rap Roots
Freestyle rap started in the African American community.
Nayobe made freestyle Latin.
South of the border, we mix Latin rap into all kinds of fusions. Calle 13 started rapping over cumbia and other Latin traditions on their way to winning 3 Grammys and 27 Latin Grammys, more than anyone else.