Magazine article Tikkun

Agua Pa' la Gente

Magazine article Tikkun

Agua Pa' la Gente

Article excerpt

Hip Hop Hoodies, Agua Pa' La Gente. Jazzheads, 2005

The hip-hop era has seen countless Jews use the genre's toolbox of beats and rhymes to flesh out a proud tradition of progressive political rap. Historically dominated by artists ranging from the Beastie Boys and Blood of Abraham to MC Paul Barman, So-Called, and Remedy, the default demographic has historically landed on the Ashkenazi side. However, given the genre's tendency to cross cultural lines, it was only a matter of time before it would do so within the Jewish community itself. In the case of Hip Hop Hoodios' Agua Pa' La Gente, it crosses the border that separates Anglophone from Spanish-speaking American Jews.

The Hoodios ("hoodio" is a twist on "Judeo," the Spanish word for "Jew") are a hip-hop collective led by rappers Josue Noriega and Abraham Velez, featuring musicians from Latin and Jewish acts as disparate as Santana and the Klezmatics. Agua Pa' La Gente finds this bicoastal band weaving Latin rhythms and traditional Jewish harmonies into hip-hop with mostly English rhymes peppered with Hebrew and Spanish.

While their tri-lingual approach doesn't itself prevent a few wince-worthy lyrics ("You like our dicks and you like our noses/you see a Jewish guy and you forget where your clothes is"), the Hoodios manage to throw down numerous salient points of Sephardi pride. …

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