The Rise and Fall of Havana Hip Hop
In July 2007, to coincide with the Hip Hop Symposium, the Cuban
newspaper Granma ran an article titled ‘‘Cuban Hip Hop Exists.’’ If local
and foreign efforts had combined a decade earlier to turn Havana into
one of the most vibrant outposts of the Hip Hop Nation, this headline
illustrated the decline of more recent years. The pessimism and loss of
belief among rappers, particularly between the end of the rap festival in
2005 and the emergence of La Comisión Depuradora in 2007, is clear in
Papá Humbertico’s songs from Mano Armada’s 2006 demo Revolución
dentro de la Revolución, such as ‘‘Fundido’’:
I’m done in, the stress is getting to me, I can’t do this anymore,
I can’t relax in the peñas any more, they do me in as well to tell
the truth.
In ‘‘Mi historia,’’ he raps:
Time passes and doesn’t come back,
The glory days are behind us.
Certainly, this nostalgic, ‘‘rise and fall’’ frame, reflecting a modernist
conception of time, is a common one in cultural movements, particularly
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