By Raquel Z. Rivera (auth.)
New York Puerto Ricans were an essential component of hip hop tradition in view that day one: from Seventies pioneers like Rock regular Crew's Jo-Jo, to fresh rap mega-stars mammoth Punisher (R.I.P.) and Angie Martinez. but, Puerto Rican participation and contributions to hip hop have usually been downplayed or even thoroughly missed. And while their presence has been stated, it has often been misinterpreted as a defection from Puerto Rican tradition and identification, into the African American camp. yet not anything will be farther from the reality. via hip hop, Puerto Ricans have easily stretched the limits of Puerto Ricanness and latinidad.
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Extra info for New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone
George Lipsitz describes both New York Puerto Rican bugalú and hip hop artists as “devotees of African-American culture” who by displaying a “strategic anti-essentialism . . ”58 In this manner, Lipsitz draws parallels among these Puerto Rican artists, the Mardi Gras black participants who dress up as “Indians” and Chicano punk rockers. Although the concept of “strategic anti-essentialisms” is potentially illuminating, the leveling of the practices of all three groups as “disguises” through which they play “at something they are not” disregards some crucial distinctions.
Most of these residential areas have been either shared with or located in close proximity to African American neighborhoods. Predominantly 24 NEW YORK RICANS FROM THE HIP HOP ZONE African American areas such as Harlem (Manhattan) and BedfordStuyvesant (Brooklyn) flow into largely Puerto Rican neighborhoods like East Harlem and Bushwick. African Americans and Puerto Ricans have lived side by side in areas such as the South Bronx. The 1960 census illustrates the low degree of residential segregation between African Americans and Puerto Ricans.
Bomba shares with rap the use of the voice as an instrument that foregrounds tonality and rhythm as much as—and sometimes more than— meaning. A bomba singer often will repeat the same verse numerous times, varying the melody and rhythmic flow. At times, singers improvise verses. Each time the singer finishes a verse, the chorus is repeated, resulting in a call-and-response pattern. Meanwhile the drum or drums known as buleadores take charge of “locking” the basic rhythm of the bomba style being played, while a higher-pitched drum called primo improvises over the basic rhythm or engages in a percussive dialogue with a dancer.