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Los Rakas: Show Preview 

Wednesday, Apr 30 2014

If you're going to listen to anyone about how broken the U.S. immigration system is, it may as well be Oakland duo Los Rakas. Cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun should know: They emigrated here from Panama, and, though they've risen quickly in the world of Spanish-language hip-hop and R&B, they haven't forgotten their roots. The first single off of El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo, their recent major-label debut album, is called "Sueño Americano," and it's a fierce meditation on the travails of leaving home for El Norte, and all the ways the journey can end in tears, or worse: "The rent is high, the law is bad — without papers, you're nothing," they sing. Not that Los Rakas are always so heavy: Their new album blends this smoldering indictment with romantic R&B and smooth, buoyant rap.

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Ian S. Port

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