I have had an interesting six months. I flew to Miami to record some new records. We cut some incredible Island records.
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Long before the ultra-polished Bad Bunny and Drake collaborations, before Diplo crashed the baile funk party and made millions, these genres were defined by experimentation—by scrappy sampling techniques, by off-the-cuff freestyling, by the movement and displacement of Afro-diasporic sounds and their people. It is the soundtrack of struggle and joy. Across all its styles, these scenes have sparked important conversations on racism and classism, igniting targeted suppression campaigns in Puerto Rico, censorship bans from governments in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, and beyond. Women have criticized urbano, denouncing their objectification in lyrics and videos. But not unlike other genres where misogyny has reared its head, women artists like Ivy Queen have challenged those narratives for decades—and are still fighting for change today. While these include chart-toppers and social milestones, our writers also wanted to document an alternate history of these movements—one that shines some light on its black, queer, feminist, and political origins and futures, in the hopes of highlighting some of the voices who are often pushed out of the mainstream.
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