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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Hip Hop Hoodios

By Paula E. Kirman

Viva la Guantanamera
Nacional Records

Hip Hop Hoodios are a Latino-Jewish urban collective that combine ethnicity with a social conscience. On the title track to their latest 5-song EP, they fuse politically-charged lyrics with the Cuban son style of the classic “Guantanamera.” Fittingly, the band plans to donate 18 percent of net profits from the digital sale of the song to Amnesty International’s campaign to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay Prison and lift the ban on due process. The song features star studded collaborations from the Jewish and Latino music worlds, including Wildog, Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg from The Klezmatics, and Kemo The Blaxican from Deliquent Habits. The EP also features three remixes from the group’s previous album Agua Pa’ La Gente—in particular “Havana Negila,” which is an in-your-face look at what it means to carry a Jewish and Latino dual identity. Not since the Beastie Boys has a group of Jewish rappers had the potential to make such a huge impact.