Colombia’s SXSW Hip-Hop Showcase

Although it doesn’t receive much airplay or mainstream attention in its own country, Colombian rap is becoming a force to reckon with. This year, two of its representatives will make their way to SXSW, the monumental music, arts and technology conference held each year in Austin, Texas.

One of these acts is Alcolirykoz who, as we mentioned before, are one of the front-runners of the immensely creative and notoriously DIY Medellín hip-hop movement, will be at the Speakeasy Kabaret on March 17.

The Medellín trio’s career has spanned 11 years and countless festival appearances. They rap with humorous and relentless lyrics, both in content and flow, over complex beats constructed with samples mostly from jazz, blues and funk albums. But if something sets them apart is their willingness to experiment in their productions.

Last December they released a single, “Changó,” which includes Santería – an Afro-Caribbean religion – elements in its beats, and nadaísmo – a Colombian literary movement from the 1950s and 1960s based in Medellín – in its lyrics.

Last year they also released “Equipo de carretera,” a fast-paced song that fully shows the strength of which these paisas are capable, as well as the respect they show for their sources (look out for the Nas shoutout).

The other Colombian hip-hop artist at the SXSW will be ALI A.K.A. MIND, the stage name of Bogotano rapper Ali Rey Montoya, who has been producing rap music since 2006. His lyrics are evidently socially committed, while his samples come mostly from Latin American ballads and Andean music.

He has created an image closely associated with his city, the Colombian capital, which often features heavily on his videos, as is the case with his singles “Mi ciudad es fresca”.

And “Mi raíz”

Last year, he released his fifth album, Sobreviviente (from where “Mi ciudad es fresca” comes from), which includes more introspective themes, interspersed with his more common themes of belonging to the city, skating, social issues and political commitment.  

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