The Artists of Guerrilla Radio
The name means "anonymous advice," but there's nothing
anonymous about Cuba's hottest pair of rappers. Yozmel is a
Rastafarian who disarms Cuban audiences with melody, while tough-talking
Kokino fires off rhymes with a staccato delivery that sounds
like a human machine gun.
Three lesbian rappers who are equal parts Missy Elliot, Biggie
Smalls and Lil Kim. Tough, hard-core feministas who attack Cuban
machismo on practically every song. They're street dancers in
Havana's tourist traps by day and renegade hip-hop artists by
night, giving voice to maids, tired mothers, and abused wives.
At first glance, Alexander appears like a young Lil Jon: gold
teeth, long hair, Hollywood shades, and a distinctive sound.
But that's where the similarities end. He neither smokes nor
drinks, and his gold teeth are actually the product of a calcium-deficient
diet brought about by food shortages in Cuba. Alexander produces
music out of an Old Havana apartment the size of a college dorm
room. While others rap about cars, sex or money, he focuses
on issues like the plight of Cuban rafters who risk drowning
and shark attacks for a shot at life in the United States.
Pitbull(shown here with Lil Jon):
He put Miami on the hip-hop map. Pit now runs with Lil Jon,
but he got his start selling mix tapes at concerts and out of
the trunk of his car. Not only is he a regular on MTV, he's
getting a reputation as a fierce defender of the Latin community,
especially after rapping a Spanish version of the national anthem
in protest of U.S. immigration legislation. Perhaps it all began
when his father would take him as a young boy to the local pubs
in Miami, put him on the bar and have him recite (in Spanish)
the poetry of Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti.
Cuba's most fearless rapper. Despite being banned from performing
for four months after unveiling a protest banner during a performance,
Humbertico never compromises his message. Frequent targets include
corporate hip hop ("Take that commercial bullshit and go
to hell"), officials who help him with one hand while pushing
him down with the other, and hypocrisy in any form.