Courage Defined: Vico C
9/5/10 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview by Dante
biggest names in Puerto Rican Hip Hop today owe some of their
success to "el Filosofo." Since his smash debut in
1989, Vico C has gone through the roles of addict, born-again
Christian, and godfather of a genre of music in PR. In
this exclusive interview, Vico speaks on his first CD release
in three years.
LatinRapper.com: What can you tell me about your latest
This new album is called Babilla, which means courage, an
urban term in Puerto Rico. Courage for things not normal
for an artist to say, because he may lose sponsors. I
don't know how to say it in English....
Say it in Spanish.
That's tolerance, right? That's what I really mean, what
I really want to say, because you have to have some guts to go
against yourself. The rest of the world expects
retaliation. When you avoid retaliation, you're being
wise. And to be wise, you need babilla, courage.
It's not that the whole album is about that, but it starts
talking about that. And that's basically the most
important thing that I want people to learn, and listen from
So that's the content,
what can you tell me about the production. Did you have
Hip Hop producers or reggaeton producers?
This album, I did all the
tracks but one. When I use producers, I use them in like
two albums or three, but basically I've done all my own music.
This is one of the albums that I've done completely.
As far as guest
appearances, do you have any on this album?
Yeah, I have artists like
urban music movement. Andy Montañez, doing a salsa, pure
salsa. Arcangel, which is one of the number one artists
in urban music right now. Some artists from the Hip Hop
and reggaeton movement. Singer called Gustavo Laureano,
lead singer from La Secta AllStar, which is a very important
group in Puerto Rico. I have Angel Lopez, who used to be
a lead singer from Son By Four. I have special, very
talented people, you know.
Are you doing any
touring to promote the new album?
Right now I'm just doing
promotion, then doing what we do. Make it known, that's
what I'm doing right now. There's a lot of work to do, I
really want people to feel this album. I'm going to do
some things that I haven't really done before to make this
album be known and appreciated. Touring is always going
to be there as long as you are working, and keep in action.
I'm really saying big
things in this album, but now I'm a little more mature, and a
little more worried about what's going on. It's more
important to me than ever before, that people understand that.
The fact that people need to understand that, listen to what
I'm saying. To know about the songs, to feel them.
And then I tour, when I sing, I'm not thinking of money or the
great satisfaction that an artist receives when he's doing a
show and people respond. I really want to make an effect
on them. And them to make an effect on other people,
because of my lyrics. See, to me, that's priority. Of
course, I gotta take care of business and everything.
But as an artist, as a man, priority to me is the effect that
music makes. The more they know about an album, the more
they go to concerts, they more they receive and feel me.
I'm preparing that stage, I'm getting that theme set up right
now by working for the album. So people can feel me with
a new theme when I go up on stage. I want people to sing
with me *laughs*.
You say that you're
doing more mature music. But if people listen to tracks
like La Roca, that whole album was mature, even for music you
did back in the 90's.
Yeah, I get what you're
saying. But let me be a little more clear about what
kind of mature person I have developed into as an artist.
You can be intelligent and have a lot of information to give,
another thing is being mature to know how to use that
information, you know? Now, I know more about that.
I know now what I know then, but now I know something that I
didn't have control over. I have more control over
something I didn't have before. And that is knowing how
to think of everyone, and make those lyrics understandable for
the masses. And that's maturing.
I know people very very
very intelligent ignorant people, know what I mean?
I think it's being mature when you can be accepted to people.
Because you are understanding the feelings of people, and not
just thinking about showing the information that you know.
That's more an ego trait than something coming from a mature
person that desires the best of people. There's a
difference. I used to be more philosophical, more
political, more social. Now I'm more spiritual.
And I was spiritual back then en La Roca, because it was a
Christian album. I'm still a believer, I'm still a
Christian, but I was starving, basically. I was ignorant
about the way I should take things in my life. Now the
difference is that.
What did you do
differently with this album? Since you're the Godfather
of Latin Rap in Puerto Rico, and the precursor to the
reggaeton movement there, what did you do to appeal to the
younger Wisin y Yandel crowd?
Not getting too far from
what people are used to. I analyze what people are used
to in terms of sound. I cement them to my idea, I don't
do it backwards. If I do it backwards, it won't work.
I really need to have an essence. I have substance, I
don't compete with other reggaeton artists. Not because
of being greater or worse, but because of being deeper because
of lyrics. I don't feel I can compete with them, or them
with me. The fans appreciate me for what I do. Not
because I've become a famous artist, but because of substance.
So when they see me, they have dancing, but they have
substance. I don't compete, really.
They can be bigger than me
in popularity, but to me that makes no difference. It
could effect my ego, maybe, sometimes. People say, "Que
paso, what happened?" You go two, three years without
doing an album like now. People don't know, they just
think that you're over. Because what they see is
popularity. Because of popularity, they think that
everything works. You're popular, you're happy, you got
money, you got health, you got people around you, whatever.
So, it could effect the ego. But at the end, when I
analyze what priority means to me in my life, it makes no
difference. I just do my thing.
Back in the days of
Recta Final and Viernes Trece, did you have any idea of how
big what you were doing was going to blow up in Puerto Rico
and start a movement?
I had the confidence of
that happening, what I didn't see was how much I was going to
be in the business of doing album after album. But I
always had the confidence of making a movement. When I
started, even as a kid, even before I started making
underground tapes, I had reactions from people. They
knew about rap, but not in Spanish, they never understood.
They loved Hip Hop, but never understood it. So when I
changed the language, they always responded. So that's
all you need to make a movement, people responding to your
idea. That's a movement, right there. As a kid, I
was confident that would happen. I loved people
responding to it without promotion, radio or TV. It's
just logic, just common sense, from the time I put out an
album and made myself a public figure. Maybe I didn't
see how big I was going to become, but I knew it was going to
be a movement.
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