Rap Against the Machine

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Some hip-hop stars have done all they can to make people believe the genre begins and ends with talk of bitches and hos, gangstas and Glocks, fat joints and 40s. But we know better. We know hip-hop originated in New York City in the 1970s and has a history of being a form of protest music. And we like protest music. Paul Flores does, too, and he knows hip-hop still has powerful potential to get young people engaged and bring about needed social change. The Latino population is growing rapidly, he points out, but so is its high-school drop-out rate. He also notes tension between African-American and Latino communities, and says hip-hop is a way to explore common ground and work out cultural differences. “If you look at hip-hop as a means to promote violence against women, it's an evil,” he says. “If you look at it as a means of empowerment, it's an amazing thing.” Flores brings together several acts, including his own, at Bocas Radioactivas – literally “radioactive mouths.” Los Rakas originates from Panama, the members of Doble Filo are from Cuba, and Bocafloja is from Mexico. Special guests are DJ Leydis (another Cubano) and poet Brandon Santiago from Youth Speaks. Flores says they raise difficult questions on issues such as race relations, interracial romance, economic inequity, and immigration, among others. The performances will be mostly a cappella, including Spanish as well as English. He wants his audience members to be more than passive listeners and consumers, but to be part of something bigger.
Fri., Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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