Latina MCs (in clockwise order - click each picture for details)
- Gloria “Goyo” Martínez is a Colombian singer and rapper born in Condoto, Chocó in 1982. She is best known for being part of the Latin Grammy Award-winning Afro-Colombian hip-hop group, ChocQuibTown. Gloria is a founding member of the group and a key-part responsible for vocals as well as rapping. Aside from Gloria, ChocQuibTown is made up of group members Miguel “Slow” Martínez (who is Gloria’s brother) and her husband, Carlos “Tostao” Valencia. This past April 2013, Gloria and Carlos had their first child together. Listen to ChocQuibTown’s De donde vengo yo here.
- Ana Tijoux, born in France in 1977 to two Chilean exiles fleeing political persecution under Pinochet’s Chile, is a French-Chilean musician. Tijoux rose to fame as part of hip-hop group Makiza during the late 1990s. During her time with this hip-hop group, Tijoux and her fellow group members enjoyed recognition and success, despite their initial status as an independent project. Makiza was especially praised for the lack of “machismo” and violence present in the rap of their time, making the group appealing to a wide audience. As Makiza band members decided to go their separate ways in order to pursue individual musical development, Ana Tijoux shifted to Latin pop. Her duet “Eres para mi” with Mexican singer Julieta Venegas brought Tijoux mainstream recognition, due to it’s radio hit status. In 2009 she released her second solo album, titled “1977”. This album, which was a return to her hip-hop roots, became an instant hit. The single, 1977, received world-wide success as a result of being featured on the EA Sports video game FIFA 11 and on the television show Breaking Bad. Listen to 1977 here.
- Alika (born July 28th, 1976) is a Uruguayan reggae singer. She initially started her career as part of the female hip-hop dúo Actitud María Marta, one of Argentina’s first hip-hop groups. Alika’s lyrics often speak of dignity, respect, and Latin American issues such as poverty and political corruption. This singer’s talent has led her to perform in stages all over Latin America, Europe, and the United States, making her a leader in Spanish reggae. Listen to one of Alika’s most popular songs, (and watch because the video to this single is seriously cool!) Jengibre.
- Arianna, “Ari”, Puello is a Spanish rapper of Dominican descent. Born January, 16, 1977 in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic, Arianna moved to Spain at the age of 8 years-old , where she has spent most of life. Active in the hip-hop world since 1993, her single “Juana Kalamidad” has been her most successful track, reaching number six on the Spanish Singles Chart. Arianna has released a total of 6 albums as a solo artist and done multiple collaborations with many Spanish hip-hop artists. Listen to her song Así es la negra here.
- Li Saumet is Colombian singer and rapper, best known as member of the electro-tropical group Bomba Estéreo. Of French-Arab descent, Li originally moved to Barranquilla to study Publicity, but her love of fashion and music landed her in the city’s artistic scene, where Bomba Estéreo’s founder, Simón Mejía, first noticed her. Li is often compared to other hip-hop giants such as Totó la Momposina, Lil’ Kim and La Mala Rodríguez. You can listen to Li with Bomba Estéreo performing the single Caribbean Power here.
- Maluca Mala, born Natalia Yepez, is a New York rapper/singer of Dominican descent. Her story goes that stage fright kept her away from living out her career for many years until a chance meeting with Diplo following a night of karaoke changed all that. The encounter led to her first single, “El Tigeraso,” which also inspired a soda-can-influenced hair craze. Her sound bounces from electro merengue and mambo to kuduro and old-school house, a style she calls Tropical Punk and Dominican Rave. Listen to her incredibly catchy song, El Tigeraso, here.
- Gabylonia is a Venezuelan rapper, holding the title of her home country’s first female hip-hop artist to perform songs about social and political issues. Rapping since the age of 15 years-old, Gabylonia is also a talented singer who started out her musical career in the hip-hop group Escuadrón X. Soon afterwards, Gabylonia decided to venture into the predominantly male hip-hop world on her own, leading her to win a national rap competition and represent Venezuela at an international competition held in Puerto Rico. Gabylonia’s lyrics are distinguished for their fearless criticism of political abuse as well as autobiographical narratives. Her single, Abuso de poder, can be heard here.
- Niña Dioz was born Carla Reyna in Monterrey, Nuevo León, 1986. She built her career in Monterrey and Mexico City thanks to a number of popular mixtapes and collaborations with established artists including Toy Selectah of the now-defunct Control Machete. She began her career at age 17 and, now, at age 27, has finally released her full-length debut album, Indestructible. Listen to her Spanish rendition of M.I.A.’s Paper Planes here.
- Zuzuka Poderosa, born Azu Antico in Vitoria, Brasil, is a rapper and MC who first made her musical mark in Brooklyn, NY. She emigrated to the US to study jazz vocal improvisation but became the leader of Baile Funk/Carioca Bass instead. Poderosa’s style is a rapid-fire attack of Portuguese, Spanish, and English (PortuSpanGlish!!) that flow over doses of heavy bass lines. Her single Ai Voce Gosta (where she samples Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics) can be heard here.
A special thanks to music expert extraordinaire, Afroxander. The good sir provided this list of Latina MCs and also helped me write and edit this post. Oh! And you can see him hanging out with Li Saumet here.
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