Respect The Architects – Latinos in Hip Hop


This isn’t about Big Pun, or Tony Touch. Remember we’re saluting pioneers. And there were plenty of hispanic contributors to Hip-Hop’s beginning.

Before the DJ, the MC, or even the B-Boy, there was the graffiti artist. No one is sure who can be credited as the first bomber or tagger, because it goes as far back as the second world war. But the first FAMOUS graff writer, was TAKI 183. And when I say famous, I mean within the circles of writers and police officers. Although TAKI wasn’t Latino, he did inspire thousand’s of people to follow in his footsteps.

A large number of those first generation Hip-Hop graffiti writers were from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other Latino countries. The most famous of these early artists was probably Lee Quinones. He played “Zoro” in the landmark film WILDSTYLE. And is widely considered the most influential graffiti artist of all time. It’s also important to mention the greatest female writer or all time, Lady Pink, is a Latina.


Latino contribution doesn’t end there. At the top of this post is the greatest B-Boy of all time. Crazy Legs. When Hip-Hop was a baby growing up in the South Bronx, B-Boys and girls are what inspired the entire creation of the music. Remember Herc invented Hip-Hop as a way to get the dancers to stay on the floor. And those original pop-lockers and breakers were overwhelmingly Latin. See the groundbreaking PBS documentary STYLE WARS  for the authentic representation of kids in the BX who shaped Hip-Hop’s beginnings. The list of pioneering Latino B-Boys and girls is too long to list. They were KEY to the evolution of Hip-Hop cultures form of dance.

There were early DJ’s of Latin descent, and a few MC’s as well. Most notably DJ Charlie Chase of the Cold Crush Brothers.

But the biggest contribution’s of Latino’s to the culture are to graffiti and B-Boying. The first 2 forms of our culture, PERIOD. I’d say that’s something to be proud of. Respect The Architects. Latino’s in Hip-Hop. Mi gente.

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Photos: Getty Images / Article: DJ Menace