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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.