Download: DJ Nio and Nomadic Wax Release “Agua!” Cuban Hip Hop Mixtape
DJ Nio, producer/MC/DJ for Italian hip hop crew Zero Plastica and Music Director for Nomadic Wax, released a new mixtape this week, Agua! Nio compiled this mixtape after a trip to Cuba using all new music he discovered while there. This mixtape is the sixth in his travel series “i Viaggi di NioSiddharta” (NioSiddharta’s travels). We spoke with him this week about his trip and the mixtape.
World Hip Hop Market: Tell us about your trip to Cuba and experiencing hip hop there.
DJ Nio: Cuba is a world apart, is like going back with a time machine to the 60s with all these incredible old cars running around… On an aesthetic level, it seems really awesome for the average tourist, but the island is suffering the U.S. embargo every day. Try to picture a country that is cut out from the rest of the world for more than fifty years. Can you imagine that? Man, it’s crazy. Hip-Hop Culture is getting bigger every day anyway, but it’s really kinda underground. Even if having a good home studio is kinda a mirage for the average Cuban rapper – or sprays for writers – because of the embargo, the general level is really high and I can totally say that there are some of the best Latin Hip-Hop artists ever.
I’ve been blessed to meet some of them in Havana and in Alamar: Krudas Kubensi – for which I’ve been producing three tracks for their last effort, Levantate! – and Anonimo Consejo – check out Kokino’s latest video shot by my man Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi.
WHHM: What makes the hip hop in Cuba unique?
DJ Nio: Writing is everywhere. I know it could sound weird, but the same government has been using murals and graffiti to spread the message of the Revolution since 1959. There are some rappers that are totally anti-Castro and at the same time are totally anti-capitalism, and there are some others that are down with the Revolution hasta la muerte: this thing is very interesting because it expresses two different points of view in the same country. If Hip-Hop is Democracy, why can’t you find fascist rappers in Italy? Or tea-party writers in the States? Or Zionist b-boys in Israel?
WHHM: What was most surprising to you?
DJ Nio: It seems like the government started to take care about some lyrics of anti-reggaeton MCs and finally realized that it ain’t just a bad kind of music, but it’s totally sexist and detrimental to woman image. Personally, I don’t hate reggaeton, but I can’t listen or play that more than two minutes. But if I was living somewhere surrounded by bike-taxi, coco-taxi, bars and clubs pumping that shit, I would have been a serial killer, believe me.
WHHM: How long does it take you to put these mixtape together?
DJ Nio: It took a bit because in the last months I’ve been project-managing a new documentary in… Well, unfortunately all the details about that are top secret in this moment. I just can say it’s about Hip-Hop Culture meeting an ancient musical and spiritual tradition… I might be able to tell you something more about that after this April, Insh’Allah. In the meantime you can follow me on twitter [ … ] if you want.
WHHM: This is the sixth mixtape in your “i Viaggi di NioSiddharta” series. How many do you plan to make?
DJ Nio: Yo, NioSiddharta’s travels. Basically I love to make a mixtape for every country I visit. I still need to work on Euskadi (Basque Country), Turkey and Ireland, but actually I’m working on Zero Plastica’s next album, Global Revolution, featuring a lot of dope MCs, DJs and Beat-Makers from all around the planet earth. So stay tuned, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and check out our website, www.zero-plastica.com