For Hip-Hop, Brown Could Be the New Black... or the New Wetback

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For anyone following the Houston Latino rap theme as of late and are wondering why Rocks Off might be telling more of a cultural story than a hip-hop one with our artist profiles, it's because amongst the traditional hip-hop following in America, Houston's Latino rappers may very well be looked upon as the industry's undocumented immigrants - if we're going to keep it real.

Some think they aren't supposed to be here, for one. They are changing the face of an industry that's historically been one color. The only people who are really supporting them are their own. They are, in some instances, unwanted if you read various blogs and discussion boards; and despite the thriving new consumer market they bring with them, a certain lack of major-label respect hangs in the air. Instead of "go back to your country" it might be "go back to looking like Ricky Martin and Shakira." That's safer and more digestible.

But depending on whether you're a fan of the Houston Latino rap underground or you think they are a bunch of untalented fools trapped in the purgatory of American assimilation, we're about to give you some real good news or some real bad news. Like undocumented immigrants, there's really no stopping them, or deporting these American citizens, who for the most part, don't speak a lick of Spanish.

Put up an industry wall, and they'll tunnel underneath it and find a way to make money.

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And they are, for all intents and purposes, doing that. So that's why hip-hop is just a backdrop and culture is at the forefront of this Latino underground tale. Or, if you need a more concrete explanation, you could just look at the cover of Chingo Bling and Lucky Luciano's latest album. Prominently displayed are two words that go together as well as Jay-Z and Richard Simmons: "World Star Wetbacks."

Hey, African-Americans took back the "N" word and the LGBT community took back "queer," so why not? The name of the album was inspired when prestigious hip-hop website WorldStarHipHop.com featured the Texas Latin Mic Pass video, produced by Houston rapper Dat Boi T. It featured 16 underground Latino rappers freestyling on the streets of H-Town. That video was of course made when they felt slighted by Pepsi for not including them in their "official" Houston Mic Pass production.

Here's some of the love they got from the followers of WorldStar Hip-Hop.

"A BUNCH OF ( LATINO SPICS WETBACK TACO GOYA BEANS PISS DRINKERS AND CHILD RAPIST !! ) ....SUCKIN BLACK PEOPLE DICK , JOCKIN OUR STYLE AND SWAGG , COPY CAT , BITERS , ..........YOU LATINO SPICS HAVE NO IMAGINATION !! .......LATINO CULTURE SUCKS ASS , LATINO MUSIC BY IT SELF STINKS , MARIACHI , SALSA - MERENGUE IS TRASH BORING NOISY , .............TTHESE ARE A BUNCH OF SALSA SINGERS , TRYING TO BE RAPPERS !! , LOL , ...THUMBS DOWN WACK !!! .....LATINO STYLE AND CULTURE SUCKS....ACTING LIKE BLACK DUDES FROM THE HOOD , CLOTHES STYLE AND TALK !!"

"Fucking mexiroaches and spics are funny animals.Look at these mexiroaches copying southern texas blacks.Fucken dirty grease rats have no style and swag whats so ever so they copy the blacks.Ugly greasy shit skinned garogyled faced mexirats,fuck spics in general"

Hey, now they're crossing the line and spreading falsehoods. We don't eat Goya beans. We eat Gebhardt refried beans. That's messed up.

The biggest wetback of them all, Chingo Bling, texted Rocks Off that the Chronicle was getting the exclusive interview on this album and so he wasn't able to talk to us about it or the dynamics of taking back ownership of "wetback." From one wetback to another, we hope that's true because we're big fans.

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We hope our underground Latino content of late wouldn't be perceived by him as a dilution of his ever-expanding mainstream brand. But like some true wetbacks, Rocks Off had to get illegal, so we called Lucky Luciano, who is never short of words, in order to get the drop on them fools getting the exclusive.

World Star Wetbacks has all the comedic and chest-pounding lyrics only a Chingo-Lucky combination could bring. The beats aren't necessarily traditional or representative of their past work, and we say that in a good way. You can thank the portable piano thing Chingo's holding on the cover.

"Most of the beats Chingo made," Lucky told Rocks Off. "He barely got that little keyboard thing. We were at his house fucking around with it. I was rappin' over it, and we recorded them. It was supposed to be a mix tape, but it ended up being an album since the beats were all original. The beats are definitely different."

It opens up with "World Star Wetbacks" which sounds like a fusion of country and mariachi with Lucky throwing it down in Spanish but also intimidating a white guy singing the hook, "World Star Wetbacks." It's actually pretty funny.

"Blue Moon," which features Paul Wall, samples the original "Blue Moon" by the The Marcels. "Plastic Crack" feels like something Kanye West would compose and has a certain '80s feel to it, which is cool. "Hungover" is about just that, and if a fraternity catches wind of it, it could be a college house-party classic. It's not until nearly the end of the album with "Slow Motion" do they get back to H-Town roots, sampling Fat Pat.

In addition to Paul Wall, Coast, Stunta, Flatline, Roxxi Jane, Marques Elliot and Mookie Jones are all featured on the album. Not sure if they are World Star Wetbacks, as well. We didn't check their immigration status.

Get the album here.

Rolando Rodriguez is managing editor of www.redbrownandblue.com. Email him at Rolando@redbrownandblue.com.

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