Cuban Hip-Hop


Cuban Hip-Hop

One afternoon a friend of mine from the UK introduced me to Osmani, an active proponent of the underground hip-hop movement in Cuba.  Underground I learn because Cuban hip-hop promotes freedom of expression and is not supported by the government.  To counter the popularity of hip-hop, the government rather broadcasts reggaeton which has a single message of sex.

To say that Osmani lives in basic housing conditions is generous.  He is renovating his house to create a temple for hip-hop, a place where dancers can come to hang-out, practice and take classes.  Progress is slow however, because he is doing the reno as he earns the money for materials.  Currently, only one of his rooms has a roof, and I while I didn’t check, it is unlikely that he has running water or a working toilet.  

Painted outside of his house is a mural that points to one question - freedom’.  Osmani talks of the new law that was passed on January 14, 2013 that allows Cubans to leave the country, but with visa issues from countries they visit and financial challenges, the new law just transfers the onus from Cuba to other countries.  It is not realistic for people to leave on the salaries they earn ($15-25 per month)

Here is a video from Los Aldeanos, the most well known hip-hop group in Cuba, their lyrics point to the social, political, and economical problems that aggravate Cuban society, and with a sense of urgency Hermosa Habana.