I have not studied the history of Latino Hip-Hop, but have read stuff here and there over the years charting the rise of this genre. But the following words of Rage Against the Machine front man Brother Zack DeLa Rocha are pertinent:
"I would like to bring some people out right now. Some people who have been very very close to us since day one. When we started of as a band these motherf***s we about to bring out were setting out on a whole other path in Hip-Hop; bringing the experience of Latinos into the ride right here in LA. They had out backs since day one."
This quote is taken from the intro to this amazing live collabo between Rage and Cypress Hill.
On a side note, I have to give massive respect to the Brothers in Rage, these guys blew up right at the start of the 1990s, they raised the flag of militant anti-imperialist internationalism exactly at a time that our world struggle suffered a massive historical defeat as a result of the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the associated supreme reign of empire through the 1990s encapsulated in the 'New World Order', and the Iraqi people were the people who were the example to the rest of us that if we resist this terrible brutality is what we face.
Rage came on the scene before the first real rise of militancy in the post Eastern Bloc era: the anti-capitalist movement, which really took off after the 'Battle of Seattle' in 1999. Rage were well ahead of their time, and in all honesty no movement in the west has really lived up to the challenge that Rage threw down at the start of the 1990s except the established liberation movements of the resistant-oppressed communities in the usa, the Irish Republican Movement and the Basque Nationalist movement amongst some other very few.
This aside from the development of the aesthetic sound that Rage brought about, the most potent fusion of Rock, Punk and Rap, with Brother Tom Morello's guitar playing blazing a new trail in musical-fusion. For those of us who were in our early teens at the time and already wanting to rage against imperialism, Rage were a true gift to our minds and revolutionary motivation.
Anyway, this was supposed to be about Cypress! Cypress, Rage (Brother Zack is from a mixed heritage background which includes Mexico), Big Pun (RIP), Fat Joe are some of the names in that showed that Latino Hip-Hop had arrived on the scene after the many years of struggle of artists from that community for recognition.
I leave you with some of my favourite Cypress tracks, starting one for our little pig-po-po friends.
Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm