How Colombia’s Capital, Bogotá Proves That Hip-Hop Has No Borders

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A few months ago, I took a trip to Bolivia after read­ing about the peace­ful­ness of the cap­it­al, La Paz and the indi­gen­ous cul­ture that still looms large today in the Andes region.

On the way to the South Amer­ic­an coun­try, I had a 16 hour lay­over in the air­port of Bogotá, Colom­bia. After just half an hour I was already agit­ated just sit­ting there so I reques­ted per­mis­sion to see the city to one of the bor­der officers and after a bit of bilin­gual hag­gling, he let me through to see the won­ders of the city.

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The first thing I was recom­men­ded to see if I was there for a day was the Bogotá Museum of Mod­ern Art. After a 30 minute ride in an Über, which I learnt after­wards is actu­ally illeg­al in the coun­try, I arrived to the museum and walked up the stairs to find out it was closed till noon!

I had a few minutes of dis­ap­point­ment till I looked around me and real­ised I was stand­ing in the middle of a massive pub­lic art gal­lery with cre­at­ive street art sur­round­ing me at every turn. I was not sure what to expect of this moun­tain­ous city but a hub of street art and graf­fiti was cer­tainly not some­thing I pre­dicted.

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I befriended a loc­al in my short time that I was there after talk­ing about art and shar­ing a mutu­al interest in Hip-Hop. She recom­men­ded that I listen to a hip hop duo from Bogotá called the Rap Bang Club. After just one listen to a single of theirs I was instantly sold! I could hear a 90s pur­ist boom bap found­a­tion that is matched with a mod­ern, west coast punch and layered with the smoothest Lat­ino rap flow that I’ve ever heard.

The group con­sists of the raw MC, Karin B and the soul­ful rap­per, Pezc­atore. The two have made a name for them­selves in the cap­it­al for their unmatched one take track and cyphers that will give most US and UK rap­pers a run for their money.

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Their con­tent is filled with pos­it­iv­ity amid a state that has repu­ta­tion for viol­ence over the years. Prov­ing that hip hop can be used as a tool to spread peace in every single corner of the world. The fol­low­ing bars kick of their one take pro­ject.

“Pausa, sube el volu­men. Llegó el Rap Bang. Aquí no hay click-clack de balas, sólo bang-bang de rap papá”

 (“Pause, turn up the volume. The Rap Bang arrived. There is no click-clack of bul­lets, only bang-bang of the rap father”)

This wel­com­ing con­fid­ence sets the tone for the whole album, who lay bar after bar on every track and invite a few oth­er Span­ish lan­guage rap­pers to the fold such as in Cypher Inter­nacion­al.

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When zon­ing out to their tracks, I’m often taken back to my short but eye open­ing time in Colombia’s cap­it­al. Hip-Hop really has no bound­ar­ies, wheth­er it’s race, reli­gion, lan­guage or polit­ic­al cli­mates. In my 16 hours in this city across the world, I wit­nessed fresh beats, eye catch­ing graf­fiti, true lyr­i­cism and cre­at­ive street dan­cing, all four of Hip-Hop’s core ele­ments.

 

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I will be return­ing to Bogotá to report on more of their unique cul­ture, hope­fully next time for more than two thirds of a day! Make sure to check out Rap Bang Club’s One Takes Volume 1 in the mean­time, which is avail­able on Spo­ti­fy, Apple Music, iTun­es and Google Play.

 

About Sumit R