Los Rakas: Music For the
2/2/11 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview by Dante
duo of Los Rakas hails from Panama, but calls the Bay Area
of California their home. DunDun and Rico blend
Hip-Hop, Reggae and Dancehall music with Spanish and
English lyrics to create a fresh new sound. DunDun
speaks with us in this exclusive interview about their hot
new single and upcoming CD.
LatinRapper.com: Tell us where the name "Rakas" comes from.
Raka comes from the word
Rakataka, it's a Panamanian word. We shortened it to Raka.
They used that word to refer to people from the hood, but in a
negative way. They would label everyone from the hood
Rakataka, you feel me. We took the word and decided to
make it positive. Like yeah, we from the community, from
the barrio. But a Raka can go to college, and be a
business man, you know. So that was the whole idea.
How would you define the
Whatever we feel at the moment, it's real natural. We
don't really plan like, 'okay let's do a hip hop song today,
let's do a reggae song.' Just whatever comes out.
You live in the Bay Area
in California, but you're repping Panama.
I've been listening to
El General and Nando Boom since the early 90's. Have
those artists influenced your music?
Yeah, most definitely. We
grew up with that music, you know. That definitely
The video for Abrazame
has blown up in a big way. Did you guys expect the major
response that you're getting for it right now?
I don't know. We knew
it was a hot song. Rico wrote that song when we were in
New York, and he showed it to me. And I was like, whoah,
this is a great song. But we didn't really expect it to blow
up the way it's blowing up right now, but it's a good feeling.
Have you gotten more
concert bookings because of the song?
Definitely has helped us
build. We also got a team that is working hard behind
the scenes, getting us into the shows and into the press.
Personal question, who
is the beautiful morena that dances on the beach in the
Oh, she was the Brazilian
queen, for Carnival here in San Francisco.
So with the success of
Abrazame, are you dropping an album soon?
We got the EP coming up.
The EP is called Chancletas y Camiseta Bordada.
Flip-flops, and camiseta bordada is a style of tank top
we use in Panama. I don't know how to say it in English.
Wife beater. We're trying to take this Panamanian
culture and really show it to people. 'Cause like
Panamanian culture is unique.
Panama has a great deal
of African and Jamaican influence, more than the rest of
Yeah, the EP has a lot of
African sounds. Like the congas from Colon. Colon
is one of the cities where the African culture has been
maintained. So we sampled some of that, and put it on
this EP. It has a different sound, this EP, I can't wait
for people to hear it.
Do you have any guest
features that I would know about?
(laughs) Not yet, not yet.
This year, maybe we meet more artists. But as of right
now, not yet.
Who did the beats for
the songs you've done so far?
Producers from Australia, Sierra Leone, over here in the Bay
Area, Panama. Like Hot Beats, Uproot Andy, Stereotype.
Uproot Andy did the
Abrazame beat, right?
Yeah, he did that beat.
Where is he from?
He's from New York. I
think he's Canadian, but he's from New York.
So have you done any
shows in Panama recently?
Nah, unfortunately I
haven't. This year, hopefully. Rico has, with big
Panamanian artists like DJ Flex. Different artists like
that. He also did a big special in Carnival two years
You left Panama when you
were young, how has the country changed since then?
Rico said Panama is more
violent, as far as little kids. Before it was violent,
but little kids had fun still. Little kids were little
kids, we played volleyball, we played football. Now kids
14, 13 years old with guns and stuff. More skyscrapers
and stuff, Panama is being developed.
I know you guys still
have music that's big in Panama. I think you had a track
about "Mi Barrio."
Yeah, that was the first
single we ever had. When Rico went to Panama, all the
little kids had the video on their cell phones. My moms
said she would get on the bus, and hear it at the station.
That was the first song that really got us popular in Panama.
Why was it so popular?
I don't know, the people
really felt it. You're talking about the community. The
good, the bad and the ugly about the community. I guess
the people related to it.
Anything else you want
people to know about the EP?
We got a single
called Boracho coming out before the first single of
the EP. Then after that, we got Panty Wanty
coming out. We going to... como se dice... South
By Southwest? You know the conference over there in
Texas? We're doing that. Then after that, we're
going on tour with Colli Buddz.
How did you get
connected with Colli Buddz?
We got the same booking
Well that worked out.
We gonna be in Texas, in
Florida, in New Orleans, and then on the East Coast, New York
and all that. We going to New York before that, on the
15th we got a show with Mala Rodriguez.
Mala Rodriguez is the
best Hip Hop artist out of Spain. But she's with Machete
Music, so how did you get to do a show with her?
Our publicist. We got
a small team, but they work hard.
Anything else you want
to add for your fans?
Thank you for the support.
We got great music coming out, look out for free music on
www.LosRakas.com, we got a lot of free music.
Los Rakas official website:
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