Is America using Cuban rap as a weapon?

by birtanpublished on July 2, 2020

it must be pretty sick to be a rapper

for a living so many new shoes and hats

but what if you were a rapper in a

communist country and instead of blowing

money fast you've made the same amount

of money as your dad who's a janitor and

you work for Castro instead of working

for Mad Decent if you live in Cuba you

don't wrap for Diplo you wrap for the

government so some temples our food is a

coup de la gente a little it's like okay

let's pull a coup back Cuba is separated

from Florida by just 90 miles of super

Sharky ocean so despite the US embargo

enacted in 1960 here's some American

stuff that's made it to Cuba zombie

movies sano-sama de gallo metal we are

the boots not

but most American of all is the ongoing

popularity of hip hop Wednesday Cubano

pain juicer I've visited Cuba for the

first time 12 years ago it's a very

complicated place to be a tourist for a

lot of reasons that are probably better

explained in an Atlantic article but I

was fascinated by its hip hop scene

because like every other Cuban industry

its nationalized it's government

sanctioned and controlled in 2002 they

started the Cuban agency that

performance comes from a block party

organized by the Cuban rap agency or

Nyugen SIA Cubana de rap being a rapper

in Cuba is just like having any other

job a bus driver or a dentist and the

government works to promote its artists

through music videos and organizing

tours but they have a very specific idea

about what Cuban rap should be which is

not this

and so the only way to get paid for

rapping in Cuba is to support the

government speaking out against the

revolution against Castro especially in

such a public forum can get you arrested

like the members of La Salle Deanna's in

2009 here's where things get interesting

and why I'm making this video now most

LD ah knows were underground rap poster

boys they amassed a huge following by

speaking out equally against the

governments of America and Cuba they

inspired genuine civil unrest by giving

a voice to those who felt silenced by

the Castro dictatorship they were Cuban

Public Enemy and it turns out they were

being bankrolled by Americans who wanted

to overthrow the Castro government

without American air support and

resupply the invasion force was

outnumbered and outgunned now America

has tried some wacky things to overthrow

Castro most famously with the failed Bay

of Pigs invasion and most hilariously

with an exploding cigar but this is

probably the dumbest an Associated Press

report from the end of 2014

revealed that US aid the organization

responsible for administering aid in

developing countries had been tasked

with using hip hop to seed rebellion

with Cuban youth law Sal Diaw knows

already had a reputation and an audience

which made them the ideal target for

this woefully misguided operation so the

cat is out of the bag the beard or

whatever and while the members of los al

D ah nose now live in Florida their

message of genuine dissent has been made

to look exploitative and phony and any

unrest or action that they were poised

to stir against the Castro government

has been muted by the very people who

were trying to boost it this isn't just

another American failure in Cuba but

it's a mistake that devalues and

deflates a valuable dissenting artistic


when the sweater so what about the Cuban

rap agency his government-sponsored rap

a guaranteed punch line it might be easy

to say yes but Cuba is far from the only

country that props up its music scene in

Canada we have extensive funding

programs to back everything from rap to

punk and it is not without controversy

in 2011 living with lions released an

album called holy shit that looked like

the Bible and featured Jesus as a turd

it also received thirteen thousand

dollars in funding from factor which is

supported by our federal government when

the minister responsible found out he

was very displeased and in an effort to

not bring down our entire country's

funding system the band voluntarily

returned the money and then raised the

same amount via Kickstarter which is

sort of a positive and funny version of

what happened in Holland Celaya Dean is

a dutch moroccan rapper who made a music

video that's pretty explicitly depicts

the daily abuse that he receives as a

young muslim in an increasingly

Islamophobic society the fuck you know

he plays that video was funded entirely

by a Dutch cultural initiative which

outraged right-wing critics who claimed

that it endorsed radical Islam a date

has since found himself embroiled in two

lawsuits which he is one a little more

severe then turned Jesus especially

because I rap in Arabic you know I'm

representing like 22 Arab states

I represent 350 million Arabs in 2012

states I represent three on a million

haves outside these states I represent

12 billion Muslims all over the world

you know I'm talking about a big big

population in the end how different is

Cuba's rap scene from Canada's or

Holland's I mean the real answer is

super different but on a macro level

artists are always discouraged from

biting the hand that feeds whether

that's a European music video fund or a

Caribbean dictatorship the best we can

hope for is that brave dissenting voices

like La Salle Dion OHS continue to be

heard above the fray

what do you think can truly rebellious

music be funded by the government is

there any difference between cow towing

to the government or corporate interest

the way that artists in America have to

let us know what you think in the

comments and be sure to subscribe for

new episodes of this exists every week

be excellent to each other sorry for

missing last week it was very tough

getting back from the holidays hope you

enjoyed the extra short episodes but we

are back with full episodes and I want

to let you know that lb from LaSalle D

ah knows just put out a new record

called compilation I apologize for my

Spanish but it's worth noting that we're

not talking about museum piece we're

talking about active artists and their

music is still worth checking out we'll

be back next week with more full stuff

stay cool


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