Chicano rap
Stylistic origins West Coast hip-hop, Latin hip-hop and Gangsta rap
Cultural origins 1990s, West Coast and Southwest Mexican American (Chicano)
Typical instruments
Mainstream popularity

Chicano rap is a subgenre of hip hop, Latin hip hop and gangsta rap that embodies aspects of West Coast and Southwest Mexican American (Chicano) culture and is typically performed by American rappers and musicians of Mexican descent.


Early YearsEdit

The first widely recognized Chicano Rap Artist was former Electro artist Kid Frost, whose 1990 debut album "Hispanic Causing Panic" driven by the hit single "La Raza" brought new attention to Chicano rappers on the West Coast.

Cuban-American artist Mellow Man Ace was the first Latino artist to have a major bilingual single attached to his 1989 debut. Although Mellow Man often used Chicano slang as a result of his East Los Angeles upbringing, Kid Frost receives the credit as the first major Chicano rapper given Mellow Man was not of Mexican descent. Mellow Man, referred to as the "Godfather of Latin Rap", brought mainstream attention to Spanglish rhyming with his platinum single "Mentirosa", which was based on a riff from the song Evil Ways by Chicano Rock musician Carlos Santana. In 1991, Kid Frost, Mellow Man, A.L.T. and several other Latin rappers formed the group Latin Alliance and released a self-titled album which featured the hit "Lowrider (On the Boulevard)"[citation needed]. In 1990, A.L.T. released the album "Another Latin Timebomb", featuring his hit remake of the song Tequila. In 1990, the Chicano hip hop group A Lighter Shade of Brown released their album Brown & Proud, which included hits "On a Sunday Afternoon" (a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Latin Active". Cypress Hill, of which Mellow Man Ace was a member before going solo, is sometimes considered Chicano rap due to their use of popular Chicano slang and because they often reference Chicano culture in their music and videos, along with the fact that the lead rapper, B-Real, is of half Mexican descent. They were the first Latino rap group to reach platinum status, with Big Pun credited as the first Latino solo artist to reach platinum sales for an LP. Cypress Hill (rap group) has also collaborated with another Chicano group, Psycho Realm, which is led by brothers Sick Jacken (Joaquin Gonzalez) and Big Duke (Gustavo Gonzalez)


In the mid-90s, Eazy-E formed the group Brownside as a Chicano version of the rap group N.W.A. (rap group). During the 1990s, some Chicano rappers Sinful of the Mexicanz began using influences from Mexican music in their beats and delivery, although this subgenre of music is sometimes referred to today as "Urban Regional" and not always representative of Chicano Rap. The hip hop group Akwid also combines traditional Mexican regional music with hip hop vocals.


One of the most widely recognized Chicano rappers today is Lil Rob of San Diego, whose single "Summer Nights" was considered a major crossover and received heavy rotation on radio station and video programs not directly related to Chicano rap music.

Many Chicano rappers have been heavily influenced by Mexican history, including many themes relevant to the Mexican and Chicano people living in the United States and Mexico. Chicano Rap is mainly enjoyed by hip hop listeners in the United States; and has also established a cult fan base following in Japan, although its main audience consists of Hispanics/Latinos living on the West Coast, the Southwest and the Midwest. Its ability to reach large audiences without mainstream airplay or media promotion is due largely in part to nationwide lowrider car tours and their accompanying concerts headlined by Chicano rappers. This environment allows Chicano Rap artists to earn significant incomes through independent label releases while promoting directly to a target audience.

Due to the relatively high population of Latinos in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and European countires with high Latin migration (Spain, Sweden, Austria) Chicano rap has been gaining popularity in Australia, through Australian artists of Hispanic descent such as Mana De Gangeros, Ese Nacho, Lobo Lowx and other local artist. In these countries Chicano rap is nothing new, just that finally major record labels are learning how to market these artist.


See AlsoEdit

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