These are only more trying times
It ain’t supposed to be special
Tostones get squashed two times
Spics be dark two times
Afro-Arawak ain’t got enough salt to whiten the plantain plains
You see chupacabras I see Yankees
You see goats I see Albizu, that GOAT
Pharmaceuticals off Operation Bootstrap
Medicinals in Timbs of Ricans strapped
Its what sings with sonero
rhymes with MC
Boriken to Mecca, damned Yanks are the needled fitted that imprison Gods named Jesus
Its war against all Puerto Ricans and the battlefront is imperially mutated.
Tweets that drown fleets,
email drills for sad skills and
IG reconnaissance for conditioned responses
bloody ham bills and
all invisible in the renaissance
So reembark on the new New Jerusalem,
the one where Wise Intelligent and Lauryn are natives
Nujericans roam with eyes on revolution and ears on all the songs of rebellion
Aural backpacks of militant boomboonao
Ole Skillastrator sheets litter the parks
They learn to learn again
Disrespect everything but knowledge
And traumatize the coons that once comforted us so niggerly
So Lavoe Revolt!
con Lolita’s lances,
uzis of Albizu!
Imagine if Hip Hop music, with years of work, storehouses of classics and all the contrasting piles of shit too. Everything bad is being tried about four decades later. Everything great is hard to see but there to find. Yet, a co-creating group of the entire culture, one that is deliberately excluded by the industry, them Puerto Ricans, nosotros Boricuas, have never had a two man MC group waxed to an long player. I didn’t realize this until Sol Zalez told me so because there have been solos, groups, trios but I couldn’t find a duo that released a full fledged album. Sol Zalez and Joey Dynomite are that duo now, the Puerto Ricans from New Jersey, the Nujericans.
They spoil us with timing, cadence, clarity, all tempo speeds through drums of any kind. Their debut, A La Mala, that is, the hard way, with its new Fania (the epic label that held countless legends of the first urban genre of NYC, Salsa, from Hector Lavoe, Ismael Rivera, Cheo Feliciano, Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, Roberto Roena, Adalberto Santiago, etc.) color scheme, is a declarative battle LP of the most dynamic king. A statement of their identity in integrity, truth and their Boricua culture. It isn’t just an LP we are accepting of now but would have embraced in the middle of the golden era 90’s.
The heart of Nujericans’ power is their refreshing embrace of their Afro-indigenous identity with a scope on the reality of Boriken as the last colony of the western hemisphere mired in neo-imperialist war against the Yankee oppressor. Yes, the same fucking states they Nujer blues from. The embrace of all these contradictions is such pure Hip Hop and “Island of Enchantment,” the translation of a moniker for Puerto Rico, el isla del encanto, is an ideal example. A signature work of A La Mala the powerful chorus chants:
These shackles here keep me from dancing
welcome to the new island of enchantment
They burnt our land to work on their mansions..
welcome to the new island of enchantment
But the blood still runs through the bomba drum
And everyday when you hear them play they can’t win
Can you imagine leaving this encampment
welcome to new island of enchantment
Joey hits with his most ideal declarative verse in a smooth mix of english, spanish and spanglish following by Sol bombs the fake from the fake revolutionaries, the unacting activist to the fake MCs.
There isn’t just the new Black angst, a badly aimed, weakly delivered frustration the liberal arts of today’s pseudo-deep rappers kick. The battle bars are more profound, where we can feel the rage is against the machine and not just a hunger to be rich. It’s a hatred of being silenced and “Suppression” has Joey wield war between the pigs to the “bloodclot rambler” while Sol bombs “..all peaceful through Albizu’s moves until it all cease too.” Only for more brilliant lines as Joey comes back, “cut my wrist with the sharpest piece of my shattered dreams…” dreams all for a poetic mosaic of militancy that fights for all forms of suppression to end. Their weaving pronoun from them to their nation constantly re-infuses the relevance of their stance for a free Puerto Rico.
Still, the most glaring attributes of Nujericans are there advanced technical skills. They rhyme in the pocket at the highest tempos with some of the cleverest spanglish displays I’ve heard in years (i.e. the chorus of “Only the Authentic”). This rhyme fluidity is abnormal as Sol glides into “F__k That” or with full storied sentences, Joey Dynomite kicks it to his Spanish butterfly on “Mariposa.” Yet Sol rhymes in chopped phrasing on “One More Time” while Joey leaves almost no space between his bars for effortless breath control, “The God willing it to existence,” on “Like This.” There are so many variations the more one listens as they have matched a musical production just as varied. Their choruses take battle raps to profound statements of integrity as “No Me Diga Mas” while their rhyme patterns are multi-layered (“Effect“) and inflected with passion so we notice the breath control (“Priceless Flow“).
All this over beats thematically unified by the ethos of Latin polyrhythms. Latin polyrhythms literally refer to the African roots our Cuban, Boricua and Dominican family preserved and extended. Through the core of Cuban genre of Son, these polyrhythms overtly became part of the only classical music of the United States, Jazz, as Dizzy Gillespie and others embraced their roots once again. Now the African polyrhythms were no longer covertly in the horns and brass but those congas, bongos, bateys, chekeres, tumbadoras are re-introduced and renewed to our family trapped in the states.
This extends itself to Hip Hop as while the choices of breaks are offered by the break-creator Herc and other DJs, it is those Black and Brown b-boys from the vast Afro-diaspora that accept and demand the choices that become the bedrock of the music. A music that, for a large majority of them, are overwhelmingly steeped and driven by Latin Caribbean polyrhythms.
So for Nujericans, they naturally have infused the tracks with a massive thickness that makes Boom Bap of this #InvisibleRenaissance era refreshing. The Soul and gloriously unpolished grit of the first urban genre of NYC, Salsa, is impeccably sampled for “Island Of Enchantment” where we see how the bongos and funk womps accentuate the breaks flowed through. There is the slowed conga montuno groove with funky plucked bassline on “Suppression,” or “F__k That” with its psychedelic organ carnivalling through a 1, 2 bassline boom. As the drums clap along with the bass, the bolero vocal loop croons behind the verses superbly. Joey Dynomite work on “Priceless Flow” seems to have a tambourine shaking so hard it sounds like a chekere and ill bassline plucks over an upper tempo drums. Tab’s “Effect” sounds like evil’d bata drums bottoming out a groove with a deadened horn imploding. En Saheeb BadHealth’s “No Me Diga Mas” the yelling guiro squeaks like a hundred coquis in a klansman’s bag getting crushed by corporate buildings. The congas float as the underbreak slowly amplified by the front drums. The coquis never leave and smooth fluting focuses the orchestra for a chorus where a sampled “No me diga mas…no me hable mas” punctuates Sol and Joey on all the bullshit they don’t want to hear anymore.
When the tracks don’t have the blatant Latin polyrhythmic tools, they are still layered in that sentiment. DJ BrownBum’s horn blasting wildness of “Noise” into a sinister slow tempo break where Nujericans go back and forth through strings and horns interplaying. Shawn Luv’s “One More Time” cleverly honors Hip Hop’s origins in sound and in vocal samples from our early MCs. The cacophony of sound KIC throws over heavy drums and kung fu grunts on “Quick Delivered” is another dynamic way to fill the room on pressed play. Even tracks without the blatant poly themed backdrops are still thickened by menace as Aurc’s bassline drives on “Like This” or the ocean deep bass line on “4 Lokos.”
Nujericans battle bar their way through the strongest Boom Bap to an anthemic hour of the most high grade. These brothers live too much, have so much heart and rock too much Polo to not expand even further with more ideas, more wondrous tech displays and musical productions (of which they have the massive talent to self-produce it all themselves as Sol’s musicianship and Joey’s crates attest to). All of Hip Hop will need two more Puerto Ricans in their crates now…
#LOVEandLOYALTY A #LoLife
The organization of these principles around a counterculture, an expressive arts of creation that uplifts the ideas and thoughts of an oppressed people, is why I’m an honored builder amongst legends, knighted by heroes of Medina (Rakim Supreme Shabazz Allah/Rudy Lo, Thirstin Howl the 3rd, Bonz Malone) to further create in my element as a Hip Hop Writer of #ArtOnArt & #ScienceOnMusic. So the world may find love that locks in with the action of loyalty though they may never find another writer with my kind of grammar…
Living and sharing the pillars of:
Peace, Sunez Allah