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.

 

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Sumit Rehal

Sumit Rehal

Sum­it is a music and art journ­al­ist from South Lon­don. His mis­sion to pro­gress cul­ture by high­light­ing tal­ent. His three vices are hip hop, trav­el­ling and sam­osas, which he has had the pleas­ure of cov­er­ing across the world.

About Sumit Rehal

Sumit Rehal
Sumit is a music and art journalist from South London. His mission to progress culture by highlighting talent. His three vices are hip hop, travelling and samosas, which he has had the pleasure of covering across the world.