10 Hispanic Rappers & Singers Contributing to Hip-Hop and R&B
Hip-hop and R&B are inseparable siblings. Both were born as channels to social and political expression. The genre’s New York roots would make it influential across cultural pockets in America. The cosmopolitan melting pot holds a diverse group of Hispanic immigrants and the influence it would have on Hispanic Americans would resonate from the moment hip-hop became a pop culture phenomenon.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), TheDrop.fm highlights Hispanic artists that have made an influential mark in hip-hop and R&B in a major way. These entertainers have roots in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. As a true testament to hip-hop’s homeland, a whopping six of 10 are of Puerto Rican descent — this population in New York City is the largest outside of Puerto Rico. Check out 10 Hispanic Rappers & Singers Contributing to Hip-Hop and R&B.
While Daddy Yankee’s prominence as a reggaeton artist might render him out of this list all together, hip-hop’s influence on reggeaton is unquestionable. Throughout the Puerto Rican artists two-decade career, he’s collaborated with artists like Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Snoop Dogg, Paul Wall and producer Scott Storch. All of which helped spread the hip-hop net a little wider, solidifying that the urban adage of rhymes is really a worldwide affair.
Romeo, the lead singer of Aventura — a bachata group from the Bronx, N.Y. — has always been candid that he wanted to take the Dominican-based music and fuse it with a hip-hop and R&B sensibility. He’s been more than successful, collaborating with the likes of Akon, Usher and Lil Wayne. His solo career is riddled with R&B-style singing and song construction that has taken him to worldwide fame, proving that hip-hop and R&B were meant for a worldwide domain.
There really isn’t anyone like Tony Touch. The Brooklyn native is the “Hip-Hop Jack of all Trades.” The artist, of Puerto Rican descent, is a breakdancer, DJ, rapper, producer and actor. Tony would make waves within the mixtape circuit, but it was his talents on the turntables that took him to hip-hop stardom. During summer 2013, Tony released his official sixth studio album ‘The Piece Maker 3: Return of the 50 MC’s,’ which included a boulder-size roster of featured rappers — Eminem, Busta Rhymes, Too $hort, Ghostface Killah, Bun B and many others.
While there’s one group member who isn’t of Hispanic descent (DJ Mugs), B-Real, Sen Dog and Eric Bobo are of mixed heritage. Mexican, Cuban,and Puerto Rican roots have given the group a worldwide appeal. While their music is not Latin-based, their idea of fusing cultures would leak into their own catalog. By mixing rock and rap in their worldwide hit, ‘Insane in the Brain,’ the group would become the highest-debuting rap group with a No. 1 album on the Billboard charts. Their second album, ‘Black Sunday,’ would go on to sell more than 3 million copies, and as a group, moved on to sell more than 18 million albums worldwide.
Also known as Noreaga, the Queens rapper of Puerto Rican lineage based his name on the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. Before his solo career took off he was half of hip-hop duo Capone-N-Noreaga. The group met when they were simultaneously serving prison sentences. They went on to release their debut album, ‘The War Report,’ to a receptive fanfare. As a solo rapper, N.O.R.E.’s first three albums were Top 10 charters. His debut single, ‘Superthug,’ would top the rap charts and would make way for other hits like ‘Nothin’’ and ‘Oye Mi Canto.’
Influenced by funk, hip-hop and jazz by way of his Mexican father, Miguel would move on to become an R&B darling in 2012, with his hit album, ‘Kaleidoscope Dream.’ The smash record ‘Adorn’ would immediately bundle him with Frank Ocean and the Weeknd, a new wave of R&B artists that many have considered as reshaping the genre.
As the leader of Terror Squad and the founder of Terror Squad Records, Fat Joe was not only an influential solo artist, he extended his brand by signing other artists — a notable signee being Big Pun. With a career that spans 20 years, the rapper has now released 10 albums and a total of 22 singles, working with an array of artists from Buju Banton to Ricky Martin. In 2004, he’d have his biggest hit with ‘Lean Back.’ The summer classic would spend three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
The Bronx, N.Y.,-bred rapper of Puerto Rican descent left the hip-hop landscape too early when he passed on Feb. 7, 2000. With his debut album, ‘Capital Punishment,’ under his belt, he built a following that would live on long after his death — Big Pun also became the first Latino rapper to go platinum as a result of that LP. The rapper was part of Terror Squad and his friendship with Fat Joe is likened to the sibling-like relationship Diddy had with Biggie. Big Pun has always made it on “great MCs” lists, proving his spitting abilities were unmatched. Debut singles ‘I’m Not a Player’ and ‘Still Not a Player’ would help launch the rapper, but the Latin flavor of ‘I’m Not a Player’ made the track a hip-hop mainstay, like Big Pun himself.
The South Bronx, N.Y., native has her roots in hip-hop. Look back to her entertainment industry stepping stone of being a Fly Girl on ‘In Living Color’ — the dance troupe became the image of the female counterpart of hip-hop b-boys. Her music, while always geared towards the pop charts, was flavored with an urban feel. Her debut single, ‘If You Had My Love,’ produced by Rodney Jerkins, would help catapult her career to new heights. J. Lo would move on to collaborate with rappers Big Pun, Fat Joe, Ja Rule, Nas, LL Cool J, Lil Wayne and Pitbull, solidifying her as a hip-hop and R&B gem.
This Cuban-American rapper has always received flack from the hip-hop soap-boxers for his pop music takeover, but since his debut on Lil Jon’s ‘Kings of Crunk’ album in 2002, he’s mastered the intense art of hit-making. Five out of seven Pitbull albums have been Top 5 on the Rap charts and he’s managed to release 79 singles. Mr. 305 is riding the hip-hop wave to worldwide mega-stardom with records that have sampled songs from different genres, and there’s nothing more hip-hop than that.