Today kicks off the annual Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15th through Oct. 15th, and we are going to help shine some light how big a role Latinos have played in the Hip Hop game since DAY 1.
Consider this Lesson 1 in Latino Hip Hop History
According to many writers who have covered Hip Hop since Day 1, the first Latino in hip hop music was DJ Disco Wiz, who had a Puerto Rican father and a Cuban mother and was born in The Bronx. DJ Disco Wiz, along with Casanova Fly (Grandmaster Caz), formed the Mighty Force Crew from 183rd Street and Valentine Avenue in the mid-1970s. Later on they both were joined by the first Latino MC, Prince Whipper Whip, a Puerto Rican. Whip, unlike Wiz was strictly an MC; Wiz was strictly a DJ and Casanova Fly (Grandmaster Caz) would rap and DJ at the same time.
Now at the same time the break dancing crews were a mix of Puerto Ricans and African American kids. Check out this video for some quick knowledge
At the time Hip Hop was born many Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans played along with their African American roots because that was getting more acceptance that being a Latino. Prince Whipper Whip felt it necessary to keep his Afro-Puerto Rican background a secret in order to gain more positive acceptance. The audience perception of Whip as a Black-American made Rubie Dee the first public Puerto Rican MC in NYC. After DJ Disco Wiz, the next Puerto Rican DJ to gain some fame in NYC was an ex-salsa bassist turned DJ named Charlie Chase, who became the DJ, along with DJ Tony Tone, for the Cold Crush Brothers
Now many people know that Mellow Man Ace’s song Mentirosa was the FIRST song that reach mainstream status, but there were a couple of songs and groups that paved the way for that first national “Latin Hip Hop” track. Back 1981, a group called The Mean Machine released a 12″ single on Sugar Hill Records called “Disco Dream”, which could be the the first Hip Hop record to feature “Spanglish” lyrics. Later that year The Sugar Hill Gang featured a solo by Tito Puente on “The Sugar Hill Groove”. These songs showcased the skill that was developing with Latino MC’s.
Then in early 80’s to mid-1980’s, quite a few Latin-Caribbean rappers and Afro-Latino DJ’s hit the scene. Producer and DJ Master OC and The Devastating Tito were both a part of The Fearless Four. Master OC was also the producer of another crew named The Fantasy 3 which featured another Puerto Rican MC named Charlie Rock. Both of these crews were from Harlem. Out of the East New York section of Brooklyn came Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys, who later went on to produce Mary J Blige, and The Beat Box from Stetsasonic. Both were Puerto Rican; as was Super Lover Cee from the Astoria Projects in Queens. Like Whipper Whip; Markie, and Super Lover Cee’s ethnic heritage was marketed at African American instead of Latino. Other lesser known MCs and DJs included Johnny Rock, DJ Candido, DJ Muscle and DJ Shiz aka B.Boy Omega, who were all Puerto Ricans from The Bronx, while Mr. L of the TDR crew was half Puerto Rican and half Dominican. DJ Dr. Dust along with his DJ partner and cousin DJ Duran from the Bronx are considered to be the first Dominican DJs in Hip-Hop.
Now many of these names aren’t know to a lot of us here in Texas, but these Latinos paved the way for the next two Latinos who blew up Nationwide and we will have more on Mellow Man Ace & Kid Frost, next !!