Hip-Hop is historically taken to be an African American expressive culture.  Latinos are excluded from hip hop core on the basis of a racialized pan-ethnicity.  At the same time Latino population numbers and visibility increases in the United States, a variety of national-origin groups with different experiences of colonization, annexation, and/or immigration to the United States as well as different histories of structural incorporation are lumped together under a Latino panethnic banner. (4) This wider social phenomenon manifests itself within the hip-hop realm when Latinos are grouped together on the hip hop margins under the presumed commonalties shared by Latino hip-hoppers.
        Puerto Ricans in the United States are commonly thought of as being part of the U.S. Hispanic or Latino population.  However, Puerto Ricans are also considered an exception among Latinos.  This exceptionality is based on a history that diverges from what has been construed as the Latino norm and happens to share much in common with the experience of Africans Americans (5)
        Hip-Hop is one of the most vibrant products of the late 20th century youth culture.  Now York Puerto Ricans have been key participants, as producers and consumers of the culture and hip-hop art forms since hip-hop's very beginning during the early 1970's in the South Bronx. 
        Although it is widely acknowledged that hip-hop began in the early 1970s in the South Bronx, New York, the mainstream media view it as an African American cultural expression. African American tend to view it as exclusively their own, and even Puerto Ricans and other Latinos tend to view it as "black" music. However, its birth and development were a joint creative effort of African American and Latino Afro Caribbean youngsters, particularly, Puerto Ricans. Some researches have suggested that Puerto Ricans' significant role has often been overlooked due to the lack of knowledge concerning Puerto Ricans in general, their small population in comparison to African American throughout the Unites States, and their relatively recent arrival, as opposed to the long history of African Americans in the US.
        Hip-Hop began as an expression of poverty- stricken inner city minority youths who grew up during the 1960s and 1970s. It is a musical form that incorporates a shared, lived urban experience that revolved around music-rhyming and dancing; often makes a social statement against the harsh realities they must deal with on a daily basis; and graffiti.  While African Americans concentrated on serving as disc jockeys and master of ceremonies, Puerto Ricans and other Latino Caribbeans contributed heavily to the hip hop aspects of break dancing and graffiti (6)
        The music industry played a crucial role in the proliferation of hip-hop as African American music form by refusing to sign Puerto Rican and other Latino hip-hoppers to contracts because they would not turn a profit for them as would African Americans. They were gambling on sheer numbers rather than on the appeal of music despite ethnic origin.  Among the Puerto Rican pioneers of hip-hop and rap are Rock Steady Crew's Crazy legs, Devastating Tito and Master O.C of the Fearless Four. Among other Puerto Ricans who have contributed to hip hop as rappers, MCs, DJs or b-boys and b-girls ("b" means break dancer) are Q- Unique, Puerto Rock, DJ Tony Touch, and Fat Joe. (7)
Aspects of Hip-Hop
New York
Puerto Ricans and Hip-Hop
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Latino Hip-Hop
Puerto Ricans
Photos taken from ideageneration.co.uk and encarta.com