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Our Favorite Old School Latino Hip Hop Stars

Most people think of hip-hop as a singularly African-American art form. The truth is that Latinos have been part of hip-hop from the beginning. Hip-hop music and culture was born in the Bronx in the late 1970’s, created by young Black and Latino youth. Pioneers like DJ Disco Whizz and Prince Whipper Whip, (both very delicious sounding) were there at the birth of hip-hop. In the 30 years since, there have been several Latino rappers that have reached international fame. Latino rappers flow about subjects that speak to the Latino experience in the United States. Several artists on this list also merged Latin music with hip-hop rhythms to create a spicy hybrid. Here is a list of some of the best Latino hip-hop stars.

Cypress Hill

Get out your medical marijuana card and pop in a Cypress Hill CD. These Latino legends of Cuban descent, came out of the mean streets of LA. B-Real is one of the most unique voices in hip-hop, sounding like a thuggish Mickey Mouse who is extremely high. Their songs talk about life on the streets, smoking weed, and the challenges of living with mental illness (“Insane In The Membrane”).

MC Kid Frost

Kid Frost was one of the first Chicano hip-hop stars. Like Cypress Hill, he also came out of the West Coast scene in the late eighties. His anthem to Chicano pride, “La Raza”, is a classic. Kid Frost was immersed in the lowrider/cholo culture of Los Angeles. His music helped spread this regional sub-culture nationwide. Lowrider Magazine would give him a lifetime subscription for how many issues he’s sold.

Fat Joe

Fat Joe grew up in the Bronx in the 70’s and 80’s, literally surrounded by the emerging Hip-Hop culture. Joe came up in the 90’s as part of the Terror Squad. He scored big with hits like “Lean Back” and “We Thuggin”, becoming one of the biggest rap artists of the early 2000’s. His songs are about life on the street, loving the ladies, and drinking Cristal champagne. Ironically, he doesn’t talk much about his love of KFC that made him “Fat” Joe in the first place.

Big Pun

Big Punisher was both phat and fat. Like, 700 pounds fat. Big Pun’s flow was unique, as he could manage wedging a large amount syllables into each stanza. Pun was one of the first rappers to embrace the “Godfather” image, looking like a large Puerto Rican mafia float. Unfortunately, Pun’s weight finally caught up with him and he died at only 27 years old.

Daddy Yankee

The man who along with Luis Fonsi brought the biggest hit of last year, “Depsacito”, into the mainstream. But Daddy Yankee has been around for a long time. DHis hit song “Gasolina” introduced reggaeton to an international audience. Daddy Yankee’s songs are pretty much only about sex, which we can respect. We don’t really need social commentary in our reggaeton.

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