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Essence of hip-hop en Estadio Azteca

In many parts of the modern world, graffiti is vilified. Here in Mexico, it´s a respected art form. Often encouraged.

From the renowned muralist culture, to even farther back to its ancient civilizations, communicating through art on walls has always been the way here.

Today, with the support of a paint company and local government agencies, what is essentially a free hip-hop festival will take over Mexico´s  main soccer stadium. A place were people go to worship futbol, for the 3rd year in a row, becomes a place for hip-hop´s faithful.

I went in 2009, and the event was regarded as too commercial by many graf heads. But, it´s one of the rare times in this megalopolis that lovers of rap music get a free open-air concert. ¨Wild Style¨ incarnate, here in Mexico City.

Below, Jezzy P , a rapper from Ecatepec who just dropped a new album     (she´s been putting years of work into her music) will be a featured rapper on Saturday afternoon. About two dozen rappers will perform over the weekend, while graf artists are competing on the walls of the stadium.

It´ll be like a day in the Bronx circa 1979.

Check out the list of scheduled rap performances on Jezzy´s blog.

In addition to Jezzy, highlights include performances by 2Phase,  Skool 77, Ana MC, Van T, T-Killa and Manicomio Clan, also check for ongoing cyphers in the parking lot.

The 3er. Concurso de Graffiti en tu Estadio Azteca 2010, co-sponsored by the Secretary of Public Security, takes place  April 17 and 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mexico City´s Azteca Stadium.

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A Night With El Pinche Brujo

When I first heard El Pincho Brujo in his video for ¨Guadalajobru¨, an ode to his state´s top ranked soccer team and hip-hop lifestyle in Guadalajara, I thought I was hearing something special.

I didn´t realize regional Mexican rap had such a strong representative outside D.F. This guy, who came out of the Jalisco graffiti scene, hustles. ¨Brujo¨by the way, is the masculine for ¨witch,¨ and ¨pinche¨ as it´s used in most parts of Mexico, means either ¨damn¨, or  the adjectival ¨fucking¨.

On a Saturday night late last month Brujo showcased his skills. No DJ. Just him, a beer, and roomful of teenagers and curious hip-hop fans. He even took shout outs for rugged spots like Chalco and Iztapalapa.

He prowled the stage in mock drunkenness.  Hitting his rapped punch lines with a nasally flow ala B-Real, but with more bass in his voice. A few times he mentioned the drug cartel devastated Ciudad Juarez. But only got as deep as saying, ¨Man….Juarez.¨ Of course what more could he say?

On a sidenote: El Universal, earlier this year, did a good video report on hip-hop in Juarez. (via Red Barrio)

I´ve been told by one Monterrey performer that drug gangs are known to ¨tax¨ performers sometimes for their show money. It´s rare to hear the type of drug trade braggadocio here that litters U.S. rap.

Nedman Guerrero performed about an hour before Brujo´s midnite set.  One of Mexico City´s more practiced MCs, his style is strictly based in the old school New York-flavored street rap. Learn more about him in this interview (in Spanish) with the Grita Rap blog.

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San Diego MC in Mexico City

Lord Mzderio was deported to Mexico from San Diego last year. He wouldn’t elaborate on the reasons, but told me his aim, now that he was in D.F., was to make it big in the Mexican rap game.

RAP CULTURA event in Mexico City. Mzderio says this flyer has his name spelled wrong.

The 20-something performer, who rhymes in Spanish, told me the only thing he found troubling about Mexico City, so far, was that his choices for cholo fashion leaned heavily toward L.A. It’s nearly impossible for him to find Padres stuff. Something gangster that didn’t rep that pinche city up north.  He says he’s an S.D. gang member.

We had a quick chat after he performed in a virtually empty hall located at a goth club near El Centro Historico, on Puente de Alvarado in Col. Tabacaleraon, turning it into a rap showcase for Mexico City’s elite underground rappers. Those who had paid some dues.

Mzderio regaled me with tales of being locked up in the county jail, and how he was deported after he got out.
He had just arrived some months ago in the city, and was now living in Ecatepec, about 14 miles north of Mexico City.

What happened to Mzderio is possibly what happened to about 300 people in Texas on Friday.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

Of the total, about half of the immigrants had convictions for violent crimes or drug offenses.

So, they say.

Large scale deportations like that are carried out by a branch of Homeland Security called, ICE. It was created in 2003 as a response to 911. Now, it’s part of a plan to rid the U.S. of as many people (“aliens” as they say) from Mexico and Central America, as well as other places,  by 2012.

The Dallas piece went on to add:

Secure Communities has come under scrutiny for the relatively low number of persons caught who have been convicted of violent crimes – or what’s known in ICE as a “level one” offense.

These ICE tactics seem pretty flawed. The Washington Post goes on to say:

The immigration databases that the Secure Communities program taps are not infallible. They list only foreigners who entered the United States on a visa or who were caught trying to sneak in but later released. Those who have never crossed paths with immigration authorities are not singled out — the same as U.S.-born citizens.

Describing ICE’s mission in 2008, the Newamericanmedia.org said:

The “golden measure” of ICE’s success, according to a 2003 statement by Anthony S. Tangeman, director of the Office of Detention and Deportation, is the removal all “aliens.”

Deportations doubled in the last 10 years according to this Medill report. The article goes on to point out that Mexicans are always the majority of the targets.

Mexican nationals have had the highest rate of removals throughout the decade, making up more than 80 percent of total deportations in 1999. However, this share dropped to about 70 percent in 2008, with other nationalities making up more of the total.

In Lord Mzderio’s case, whether for right or wrong, he’s here in Mexico now, and can share his passion for writing raps with another generation of Rap Kids, who need role models in a sea of Punks, skater kids, Chavs, Emos, Rockers, Fresas and Rastas.

Photos and interview from January 8, 2010.