Interview with Bocafloja! (@Bocaquilombo)

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Filmed at May Pro­ject Gar­dens
www.mayproject.org

INTER­VIEW WITH BOCA­FLO­JA

Boca­flo­ja: What’s going on, my name is Boca­F­loca, I’m a poet/MC/activist born in Mex­ico City, liv­ing in New York, and the way I star­ted get­ting involved with hip hop cul­ture was through this pro­cess of immig­ra­tion from Mex­ic­an work­ers going back and forth from Mex­ico to the United States, so I’m one of the first gen­er­a­tions of hip hop artists in Mex­ico city. So the way, at the time, we met the cul­ture was, we’re talk­ing like late 80’s early 90’s, way before the inter­net was an access­ible tool, so the way was just tapes, cas­sette tapes that all these work­ers brought to Mex­ico dur­ing the hol­i­days or when they on their trips back to Mex­ico. That’s how I was first intro­duce to hip hop and from then we star­ted the first meet­ings, or reunions, of the move­ment in Mex­ico back in the early 90’s

I Am Hip Hop: I’d like to find out ‚how did you come to the decision to mix the polit­ics into your hip hop? Was there any one time that you just thought “I’m going to be polit­ic­al’ or was it a num­ber of things that built up to it?

Boca­flo­ja: Yeah , I think it was def­in­itely a num­ber of things that, through time I’ve real­ized how import­ant it is to recog­nize the fact that art by itself could be use­ful to par­ti­cip­ate in dif­fer­ent struggles and can be used as a plat­form to con­nect the people, the com­munit­ies, with pro­cesses of trans­form­a­tion and dif­fer­ent pro­cesses of politi­ciz­a­tion. So, at the very begin­ning of my career I was not really aware of that power, but sev­er­al exper­i­ences just made me assume that respons­ib­il­ity as a social com­mu­nic­at­or and as a poet that is think­ing not only to sat­is­fy him­self but to con­trib­ute some­how, some­way, to his com­munity, so that’s how I first star­ted to be more involved in that kind of work

I Am Hip Hop: And for some of the people out there watch­ing this that may­be haven’t heard of your­self or your music, what would you say are the main themes or mes­sages you try to por­tray through­out your music?

Boca­flo­ja: Well basic­ally I’m try­ing to use my music as a way to stim­u­late crit­ic­al think­ing. That’s one of my main motiv­a­tions, so, the use of hip hop as a non ortho­dox, and dif­fer­ent way to share know­ledge. At the end of the day the main mis­sion for me is that my art should be used as a tool of an eman­cip­at­or pro­cess, so,  like another tool to be use­ful for dif­fer­ent struggles in order to eman­cip­ate ourselves. Top­ics such as colo­ni­al­ism are really rel­ev­ant in my body of work.

I Am Hip Hop: I’m glad you touched on that because I wanted, if you could, to expand a bit on how much of an impact imper­i­al­ism and colo­ni­al­ism has had through­out, not just may­be Amer­ica or your homes city, but just glob­ally and what we as a people or move­ment can do to com­bat the imper­i­al­ism and glob­al­iz­a­tion that’s hap­pen­ing across the world?

Boca­flo­ja: Yeah, I think that colo­ni­al ele­ment is really present and is really rel­ev­ant. The thing is that the way the sys­tem works, some­times it makes people con­fused even with the pro­cess of struggle and lib­er­a­tion pro­cesses. In some cases the debates are just centered in class issues, but they always stay away from the racial ele­ments. So there’s a lot of situ­ations that we’ve got to go back to under­stand how was the colo­ni­al pro­cess in order to under­stand what is the actu­al con­di­tion, not only eco­nom­ic­al or social, but also our psyche, the way our minds are work­ing due to that pro­cess. So now, these neo colo­ni­al ways are con­stantly affect­ing us on a daily basis. So in terms of, how come colo­ni­al­ism is rel­ev­ant in the artist­ic com­munity, well the major­ity of the cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion is always widely ori­ent­ated in the major­ity of the cases. So the work that we do is always try­ing to reclaim, and to ques­tion all those cul­tur­al forms of pro­duc­tion. So we think that the de-colo­ni­al pro­cess to art is really fun­da­ment­al.

I Am Hip Hop: And because of your mes­sage in your music, and speak­ing about colo­ni­al­ism and imper­i­al­ism, have you per­son­ally faced any kind of back­lash about the mes­sages that you’ve writ­ten in your music.

Boca­flo­ja: Yeah, the power struc­tures are nev­er com­fort­able with this type of mes­sages, and also with­in the hip hop com­munit­ies or in the hip hop con­text, there’s always a really nar­row under­stand­ing of cer­tain things in terms of what is sup­posed to be authen­tic hip hop or what are the top­ics that are more rel­ev­ant to the hip hop com­munity. So in some cases the top­ics that I’m bring­ing to the table are not easy to digest for some people. But on the oth­er hand I’ve been able to con­nect with people that don’t neces­sar­ily con­sider them­selves as part of the hip hop com­munity, which I con­sider is rel­ev­ant in break­ing cer­tain bound­ar­ies, and I’m reach­ing a wider pos­sib­il­ity to con­nect with dif­fer­ent people.

 I Am Hip Hop: For people out there, where can we listen to your music or get in con­tact with you?

Boca­flo­ja: Well I have my offi­cial site, is calledemancipassion.com, it’s eman­ciapssion with a double s, dot com, and I’m on face­book as Boca­flo­ja, I have a Twit­ter page which is Boca­quilom­bo, and I’m in Band­camp as bocafloja.bandcamp.com. And you can find my music on i-Tun­es and You­Tube, so basic­ally just go to the web­site and there’s links for everything.

 I Am Hip Hop: OK. Thank you very much for this inter­view with I Am Hip Hop.

Boca­flo­ja: Thank you for hav­ing me, it was a pleas­ure. Thank you.

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Azad Kamall

About Azad Kamall

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