It’s actually really hard for a young Mexican man to get a visa to visit the U.S. these days. Doesn’t matter if you have a job, or if your parents are decent people. More people who go to the immigration office here get told NO, instead of YES.
But if your 3-man b-boy crew wins the Neza City Breaker’s 25th Anniversary dance-off next weekend, you can get a spot competing in Las Vegas in July. Visa included.
Neza, a part of town that I mention a lot here, is home to B-Boy Manolo and his Neza City Breakers. For reasons that I’m still trying to figure out myself, breaking in Mexico is older than MCing, or rapping.
There’s about a 10 year gap in between the time Mexicans took to backspinning, versus the time they’ve spent making MC tapes and cds. Of course, if I’m wrong, I hope someone will shoot me an email. I’ve talked to a lot of people and signs seem to point to a later start for rhyming on the mic, here.
In interviews, B-Boy Manolo has said it was the exporting of Flashdance (1983) that brought breaking to Mexico City. A key scene featuring the late Frosty Freeze of the Rock Steady Crew, is largely credited with pushing the lifestyle outside of N.Y.
R.S.C‘s Servin Ervin is scheduled to be a judge at the Neza event, set for next Saturday and Sunday.
For a list of whose coming to the anniversary event, which will also feature graffiti workshops and plenty of rappers, check out the flyer after the jump.
A hard-core rap concert takes place in a mall, just upstairs from a movie theater. No police presence to speak of and very light, but focused security.
Mexican rap (if it’s any surprise) thrives with its own sub-genres. You get the political message from a group like Advertencia Lirica, aging thug wisdom from MC Luka, the spirit of hipster D.F. gets a boost from Mood-Fu, and Pato Machete keeps heads nodding in his post-Control Machete years.
This was gangster culture as pop culture that I was witnessing (there was one vender selling Nike Cortez, Joker Brand bandanas, Dickies pants and dark sunglasses — a certain type of Mexican-American Apparel and the look of the SoCal cholo.)
Hip-hop culture is being used here to create an identity where rasta, emo, goth, punk, or sporting tight jeans and a colorful scarf just won’t cut it.
Concert-goers came from nearby places such as Naucalpan, Iztapalapa, Ecatepec, La Raza, and of course, Neza York (Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl) taking the bus or train in to commune with their peers.
There were young men and women with bandanas, jerseys emblazoned with “Los Angeles” in gothic text, “Sureño”, or the always ominous number “13” (as in the Mara kind) scrawled on their shirt backs, their necks, arms and hands.
Writing about the globalization of thug culture and cholo culture in Mexico is nothing new. I’m actually glad it’s been covered before.
Cholos grew out of Chicano, or Mexican-American culture, and found their greatest expression in East Lost Angeles.
Cholo style was most definitely a result of the Mexican immigrant experience in the southern U.S. as opposed to a style found in Mexico itself.
Wrote Jeremy Schwartz in a blog post about noted Mexico City photographer Federico Gama’s pictorial on Neza York cholos in the late 90’s.
It can seem like aping the culture created in Southern California, but without the high potential for danger associated with venues exclusive to gang-friendly crowds. Still, how can you judge how peer groups want to express their identity? Besides, with every “carnal” or “güey” that I heard, I realized this was Mexico’s young generation making cholo rap their own.