Hip-hop has grown to be the number one genre and culture in the world. It has grew out of its toddler stage and into its adolescence in the 2000s. With growth comes growing pains, and hip-hop is no exception to those pains. After seeing hip-hop open the doors of acceptance to all types of backgrounds, there’s still a disconnect in certain regions within the culture. Like anything else that is born in America, hip-hop also seems to have a racial divide. Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing Fat Joe, Snow Tha Product, and N. O. R. E. speak on the Latin panel at the Revolt Summit here in Los Angeles. Fat Joe addressed an issue that has haunted West Coast hip-hop for many years: the divide in the Black and Mexican hip-hop community of Southern California. This may be caused by the gang culture that spills into our industry or the fight of systematic oppression that puts us against one another; either way, there’s a barrier. We’re far from the days of Tupac’s “Cause would it be LA without Mexicans? It’s black love, brown pride, and the sets again” line.
I’m not trying to paint a picture of some type of beef or anything, I’m simply saying it’s not as close as it is in other areas that have a large Latino population. I know that a lot of west coast hip-hop artists have a large Mexican fan base in Southern California, and that’s beautiful to see; however, there hasn’t been a lot of collaborations between black and brown rappers. They’re few and far between like: OhGeesy being apart of Shoreline Mafia, YG and Sad Boy Loko, or when The Game featured Lil Rob on his ‘My Lowrider’ track back in 2007. Due to the rarity of hip-hop’s collaboration between black and brown rappers, songs like “Go Loko” by YG, “Uno” by Ambjaay or hearing OhGeesy from Shoreline Mafia say “nigga” sounds cringey and seems like culture appropriation. The silver lining in all of this is that as we grow and the culture grows, we can reunite and be one, especially since we share a common enemy (President Trump). Actually, that seems to be the tether that will bring us together. One thing I do know is both black and brown in Southern California blared, “F**k Donald Trump” out of every speaker lol. Considering the fact that we share that commonality, let’s grow with one another and push the culture forward.