The Importance of Diversity in Hip hop & FEATURED ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Loko Pérez

Diversity in Hip hop

What would a rainbow be without colors? Nothing but a fucking bland curved line. I feel this concept can be applied to Hip hop.  Forming in New York City which is a city known for its mixing pot of culture, Hip hop is an example of creating something out of "nothing". It is the result of kids lacking a music class and cuts to education that lead to experimentation with their parents records instead of learning instruments. But "nothing" was a whole lot of different cultures and stories to be told. Thus creating the number one genre in the United States. One important factor of Hip hop music that is so amazing to me, is its wide range of sub genres and categories. Hip hop is composed of so many different genres blended together in such a way that it forms its own unique sound. With this interesting and diverse blend, Hip hop has become the main tool for communication for so many different people at every walk of life.

Hip hop is said to have come about in the late 70's by the Ghetto Brothers, a Puerto-Rican group, that used music and block parties to break down racial barriers between African-Americans, Puerto-Ricans, Whites, and other ethnic groups. Jamaican immigrant DJ Kool Herc was also an important figure in the cultivation of Hip hop, mixing samples from existing records and "toasting" which pretty much set the foundation for the Hip hop sound. Since the very beginning of Hip hop, it has always been about bringing together the people. Different cultural groups all took part and did their own thing, but it is precisely that mix of ideas and culture that fused Hip hop.

Since its inception Hip hop has rose to prominence in a way that was totally unexpected by corporations and white America especially. Gangsta rap which was pioneered by artists like Dr. Dre, N.W.A, and Snoop Dogg among others, was heavily consumed and bought by suburban white kids. That's right, an artform that was predominantly black was and is consumed heavily by whites. Now you turn on the TV and the commercials have Hip hop beats in them, the radio the same, and the internet to the max. That's because self-expression is mostly unchained on the internet and almost everyone is listening to Hip hop.

It is important for us to tell our stories. Before there was technology one of the most common forms of entertainment AND education was storytelling. Yes, can you believe it? People used to actually SPEAK to one another? Instead of all mindlessly consuming whats on a screen. Ahh I wish I could've experienced those days, but its okay because Hip hop is an extremely important tool to pass the oral tradition. Everybody's got a story. Every hood, city, block, and corner has a tale. The very basis of Hip hop is being able to tell your story and spread your message in the most direct way possible. Artist's get creative, but for the most part rap is pretty upfront and in your face.

If every story was the same wouldn't you get bored? That's why I love that there are so many different kinds of Hip hop. "Nerdcore" which is comprised of nerdy mostly white rappers is an actual existing sub genre. "Stoner rap" is a sub genre all about pot smoking. Gangsta rap, Emo rap, East Coast rap, and (more recently founded) Trap, are all sub genres of Hip hop that give so many a platform to speak. The list goes on and on. These sub genres are like the colors of the rainbow that make the rainbow so beautiful. Every sub genre has a purpose and add to the flavor and diversity of Hip hop, which was made by the people, for the people. All the people.

Until next week, ma peoples this is the article.

Thank you for reading, I love you all.

-Tony Blanko

 

 

FEATURED ARTIST OF THE WEEK: LOKO PÉREZ

Born March 25, 1991 this very interesting and compelling artist goes by the name of Loko Pérez. Originating from Lima, Peru Loko Pérez is a musician, comedian, and videographer.  He got his name from unpleasant experiences where he was referred to as "loco," which means "crazy" in Spanish. Though it bothered him he redefined the name and continues to redefine it with his silly antics and comedic outlook on life. 

Loko Pérez's interests consist of storytelling and theater. His participation in theater has been both technological and musical. A hobby of his that has influenced him in many ways is old school video games from the original PlayStation. Loko Pérez described the musical ambience and immersion to explore other worlds as the biggest takeaway from video games and has had an impact on his musical style.

Loko Pérez has had a musical passion for as long as he can remember. He heard a flamenco player by the name of Paco de Lucia as a child and it touched his soul in such a way that he couldn't resist playing with his father's guitar. His styles range from Western genres to Afro-Peruvian music and even covers of his favorite anime. Acoustic, bass, and electric guitar are some instruments he plays, as well as flute and a Peruvian instrument called a cajón.

Motivation to make music that speaks and connects to himself is Loko Pérez's driving force behind his creations. He finds harmony and rhythm amazing for their ability to create an abstract feeling and form a narrative. Stating that, "music is a powerful platform to communicate." From a comedic standpoint, Loko Pérez pokes fun at issues that he feels needs to spoken about or thought of in more depth. He feels comedy is a great tool for social commentary, describing how people empathize with it and how satire forces people to think deeper about things one wouldn't normally think about.

Quincy Jones is listed as one of many of Loko Pérez's musical influences, because of his great production talents. Among the list are Yoko Kanno who is a composer for anime. Paco de Lucía greatly influenced his passion for guitar (as mentioned above). Daft Punk, Gorillaz, and many Afro-descendant musicians in Brazil and Perú have also influenced his music. Wow! What a list! And that's only part of it! Fito Páez and Soda Stereo have had an influence on his songwriting abilities as well.

I asked Loko Pérez, "What is the message you want your listeners to get from your music?"

"The message has changed as I have grown older. When I was young my music was mostly to share deep feelings like sadness and reflected a lot of pessimism," that he was unfortunately feeling at the time. Now that he is older he uses music as "a tool to inspire. To energize, and empower." He describes, "sadness doesn't take me far. I would like to promote thinking through my music." Loko Pérez does however, feel that most motivation can be tiring and he would rather "make people think, than to impose what one would want them to think."

He takes a comedic spin with most of his music and music videos alike as he values the ability to"laugh at himself" and uses comedy and music to somehow "take control of a situation." In his song Estupido, which means "stupid" in spanish, (and can be found below) is a perfect blend of music and comedy. It is a love song, or an anti-love song, about love not always working out. In which, he believes is a completely normal occurrence and should not be considered a bad thing. It just happens.

Overall great guy, very humble and highly intellectual. He is very funny too so even though most of his music is in Spanish it can be enjoyed by all audiences.

Check him out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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