The story of Spanish hip-hop begins with Maestro Fresh Wes, a Canadian artist who apparently released the first bilingual hip-hop record (I have lost the reference for this). Spanish has always been hip-hops second language starting with US artists like Kid Frost (Latin Alliance) and Mellow Man Ace, and the legacy was continued by groups like Cypress Hill, the Beatnuts, Delinquent Habits and Tha Mexakinz.
It very quickly spread across Central and Latin America eventually spawning new genres like Reggaeton. For the purposes of these articles I will be focusing on hip-hop from Spain. Later I will be going into the history a bit, but first I would like to make you aware of KAOS, a new group with a fresh sound.
Introduce yourselves and tell us about your name
KAOS stands for when smiles are hidden. The name is inspired by the battle of learning to be happy and smiling despite obstacles and inconviences that life places in your way to test you.
KAOS is made of members Kaos (emcee) and Karmasound (DJ and beatmaker) both from Galicia in Northern Spain.
Tell us about the Spanish hip-hop scene, and who are the current big names?
The Spanish hip-hop scene is static at the moment; although a lot of people are influenced by fashion and musical trends. Theyre forgetting the real feel for the music and hip-hop culture.
There are a lot of good artists like Griffi, Juan Solo, Tremendo, Tote King, Rack Eterno, DrumDrama…
Who else in the European or international scene do you listen to?
We could mention lots of people; artists like Ryan Leslie, Mark de Clive Lowe, Rep Life, Q- Tip, Looptroop, Edit, Sepalot, Mundo (Dealema), D3cept and many more.
Who are your musical (or life) influences?
We are inspired by our families and those people close to us, who are always there for us. Musically we are inspired by rap, funk, jazz, soul and any music that makes you feel something.
What are your views on politics in Spain?
People promise a lot and deliver little.
What are your views on downloading or the internet generally?
We think downloading is a good way of listening to new CDs, but if you like them and you want to help up and coming artists, you should buy the CD. We do download stuff but we also buy records.
How did the Tenacity featuring come about?
Tenacity got in touch with Kaos after hearing some of our songs and we talked about doing something together. Karmasound prepared a beat and sent it. Tenacity wrote his lyrics and recorded them and Kaos finished the song. As we hadnt decided what to do with the song, we suggested to Tenacity he put it on the Manifesto EP which he thought was a great idea.
What is your process for making beats, writing rhymes etc.? (Equipment)
Karmasound creates beats at home in his studio using a MPC4000, a Clavia Nord Stage, a microkorg, vinyls and anything else you need to create sounds. Kaos doesnt have a particular method; some days he writes in the studio, others at home, sometimes at work – whenever an idea occurs to him, whatever the time or place.
What are your views on religion?
We are not averse to the idea of a god but dont like everything that goes with that (money, wars etc).
What about UK hip-hop?
We really like the UK hip-hop scene. We like Roots Manuva, Phi Life Cypher, Lotek Hifi, Blade, One self, Herbaliser, Foreign Beggars and many more.
What are the future plans for KAOS (albums / tours etc.)
The most important thing for us right now is to get gigs across Spain and promote the Manifesto EP.
In the next few months, Karmasound will release an EP called Good Things which is more of a soul / broken beat style. Later we start work on the Kuando Alguien Oculta Sonrisas album.
What artists would you most like to collaborate with?
With anyone whose music we like and who has a similar style to us.
What are your first memories of hip-hop?
I remember whole afternoons break dancing, making music and recording on tapes. They were good times.
Do you like to dig in the crates for samples? What do you look for?
We sample a lot of things from a lot of musical styles; tango, classical, bossa nova, Spanish music, Brazilian, etc.
Later we started using more jazz, funk and soul. Right now we prefer to compose our own stuff, although wed never discount sampling a beat.
You can download Manifiesto EP free from http://www.myspace.com/kuandoalguienocultasonrisas or order the vinyl (10 Euros postage) from firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Esh | For international hip-hop: http://www.myspace.com/ibmcs