Cuba: The music of freedom in a dictatorship
“My Crime”, Making pro-freedom music under a dictatorship
This blog recently had a chance to catch up with Julito, independent and dissident rapper from the duo El Primario y Julito, who spoke to us about the group’s new record, an opposition rap agency, the difficulties independent artists face in Cuba and more.
The dissident hip-hop group El Primario y Julito, based in Havana, recently launched their new album titled “My Crime” ['Mi Delito'], a production which contains 14 songs, among them the first single “Lambon”, which has been accompanied by a music video.
Julio Leon Fonseca, better known as Julito, explains that “My Crime” is one of his favorite projects to date. It consists of a number of “protest songs” and others which are more “commercial and reaggaeton-based“.
Among the protest anthems are “Esteaño si se Cae” ['This year the dictatorship falls'], a collaboration with the punk-rockers Porno Para Ricardo, while other invited artists on the disc are Rapper Issac and Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso ['The Unwanted Children']. The latter also form part of a new rap agency, along with Primario y Julito, dedicated to making protest music.
“This agency consists of 5 rappers who are not allied with any government organization and we work completely independent because we are members of the opposition“, says Julito, “The agency is made up by us – Primario y Julito – and also Rapper Issac, from Santiago de Cuba, and The Unwanted Children, from Bayamo“.
The young musician highlighted the situation of Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico”, a member of The Unwanted Children, who has been arbitrarily detained for more than 2 months, being held in Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, for making protest music and carrying out civic activities as a human rights defender.
“Some artists affiliate themselves with certain musical or cultural groups belonging to the government, but we don’t buy that“, expresses Julito, “we make protest music and we have absolutely nothing to do with government agencies. If we are going to protest, we will do so with our means, not with theirs“.
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