Entertainment

Joyce Santana and RIMAS Entertainment dominate reggaeton

Joyce Santana – Puerto Rican rapper and social activist from the ever-bustling city of Carolina. Recently signed to independent label RIMAS Entertainment, a leader in global music streaming, the conscientious presenter is laying the groundwork to tackle aspects of industrial colorism and development into the mainstream. Since the release of the artist’s debut album, Luz En La Oscuridad (Light in the Dark), Santana gives listeners the renounced stories of his beloved Boriken.

The up-and-coming talent sits next to Bad Bunny, the first-ever Hispanic lyricist whose LP spent several weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, despite the magazine’s recorded resistance to Latino genre recognition and artistry. While often not mentioned in conversation, black Puerto Ricans are part of the predominantly Caribbean community that founded hip hop in the Bronx, New York. Santanadeveloping ambitions like his new EP, A Quien Pueda Interesar (To whom it may concern)insist on following these traditions for La Isla del Encanto (Island of Enchantment).

What’s more, the songwriter has established himself as a speaker in the world’s oldest colony, where Boricuas’ Spanish linguistics is emulated but usually downplayed to the point of obscenity. “Music is not all I want… It will be how I do something for this island, my people and the world.” Santana details during our exclusive Zoom interview.

SantanaLoners recognize corruption as an integral part of Boricken’s government agreements, what happens on the streets, and manifestations of machismo (male chauvinism). As part of Black Music Month, REVOLT is associated with Joyce Santana to discuss his upcoming projects, Puerto Rico’s African musical tradition, and the ongoing ban on Black Latinos from the music industry.

Your debut album Luz En La Oscuridad (Light in the Dark), established you in the Spanish-speaking hip-hop markets. Your songs are usually meaningful. Why is storytelling so important to you?

I always try to be honest with my audience and real with the stories I tell. When I’m not the person experiencing the story I’m rapping about, I describe in detail what I see happening in front of me. Storytelling is always what will be there. I like to connect with people – the best way to do this is to make the listeners feel that you are a person. You’re one of them. There is no difference between the artist and the public. I want them to relate to my music.

Carolina, Puerto Rico is known for lyricists such as Anuel A.A., Lito M.S. Cassidy, Hector El Fater and many others. What are you proud of being part of this conversation?

Well, it’s like when a person is very patriotic (laughs). People always love the city they come from. I love being Puerto Rican, but what I love the most is that I’m a Boricua from Carolina! I know there are many artists here. I want to help increase his resources. I want to help children and youth find something [of interest] in a positive way. I think some options might get them off the streets. I’m so grateful that I can be part of the conversation when they talk about the Carolina lyricists. What nobody knows is that I want to do something for the city. I care about this and his people.

Your three track EP, A Quien Pueda Interesar (To whom it may concern), which appeared next to RIMAS Entertainment this year. What awaits us after the success of this project?

This year we will release two EPs. One is called Despues Siempre Tarde. It roughly translates to “Later is always too late.” Another upcoming project late, will be with my producer and brother Yang Martino. It was this project that was supposed to be one of the first projects that were supposed to come out. So we named it late because we had to wait a bit (laughs). I think this project is going to be big because of his collaborations and sound on the EP. They are special because this is my first project where I play more commercial music and reggaeton. People are not used to hearing me like this. They will be surprised to hear all the new songs and collaborators on the EP.

You were in trouble because you were raised by strict parents who found your earliest rap. How does your family feel about your music today?

My mom is my number one fan (laughs). Yes! In her house there are many photographs of important moments of my entire career. They hang on her doors, and everyone who comes hears stories. Everyone sees that this is her son. It’s so incredible. I’m sure at some point my mom thought I was crazy. For example: “Wow! He wants to leave school and take up music. It’s too difficult. But God is amazing.

My mother couldn’t do what she loved because she had to raise me. I think how can I repay her [is through my music]. She sees that it is possible.

RIMAS Entertainment is best known for Bad Bunny, a Spotify artist who has been the most popular artist in the world twice. How did your new team improve your skills?

RIMAS motivates me. Bad Bunny is not just an artist, he is the person who motivates me the most. I have known him since the beginning of his career. Seeing him achieve such great success through music is inspiring. You see it and you start saying, “OK! It’s possible. A rapper can really do it.” And I kept it in my mind and heart. I’ve never seen anything like it up close in my life.

Your latest single “Sin Limite (Unlimited)” is gaining momentum. It came after your employee, Ankhal, received gunshot wounds earlier this year. What did this song make you appreciate?

Life! Life itself is so sensitive and fragile. We filmed this video two days before the incident. At that moment, I felt: “Wow! We are here right now, but we don’t know anything about what will happen next.” It made me appreciate the time I spend a lot with people. It made me grateful for the way people try to create all these [partnerships] with me.

No one knows what problems the artist has in his personal life … I know that it can kill [people] think about money because they want to be successful. You can think about it 24 hours a day, but other things are more important, like your health, quality of life, and family.

What worries you about artists in Puerto Rico?

In order to start making music, promote your career in Puerto Rico and be successful, you must work on the streets. You need this approval even if you are not a street person. At the same time, once you get the approval of one crowd, there is a chance that another crowd will become the enemy of the one that supported you. So now you are their enemy. This puts you in an uncomfortable position.

Do you feel these circumstances come with the territory?

No, I think sometimes artists build their music careers with a street mentality. This is something that can put you in danger. You have to decide if you want to be an artist or on the streets. That’s when the problems begin. I’m worried about the artists, but not about myself. I’m too focused on what I want. What I want is music and success. I want to be a superstar. I want to be able to represent my island and Black Latinxs. The world is so fucked up and I feel like racists are on every corner.

So, it’s time for the liberal presentation of blacks from Puerto Rico. Everything right now [in the mainstream] white (laughs). This does not mean that they are bad, but something is happening. Why are there no blacks among the elite of Latin American music? This is some kind of hidden racism. It’s somewhere.

Mental Health Awareness Month has just come to an end and you often highlight the need for access to mental health resources on the island. Please explain what concerns the Hispanic community as a whole.

The roads and streets on the island are potholed. So when you [drive over one] in your vehicle, you may damage the vehicle. People get the same holes in the street in a mental health crisis. But when you [dealing with] your free space, there will be no state aid. They don’t help anyone. Just like on the street, we will have these holes. People will still get into their damaged cars. And when I talk about cars, I’m talking about your mind. [My biggest] the concern about mental health in this country is that even if people want to be cured, it becomes difficult because we don’t have the tools.

We don’t have resources. The people who are the leaders of the island don’t care about mental health. Every day it becomes more and more difficult for people from here to live on the island … People do not want to leave. People want to live in Puerto Rico, but the government is pulling them out. This is another way to make people sick and damage their minds. Do you know?

People killed themselves because they didn’t know what to do. This makes me sad. That’s one of the reasons I need to be in power – if politicians don’t care about people, we artists who care can be [impactful].

Do you believe in finding solutions like therapy?

Yes! We need to keep talking about mental health. Outside is 2022. People need to open their minds to adjust to the world we live in now. Mental health, sexual health, and more are all important. People don’t want to talk about it because they’re uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is not a bad thing. It might be good. This removes misconceptions from the conversation when change comes. This is the first step towards change.

You are a black boricua. Reggaeton has a lot of white Latinos in the mainstream. You acknowledged that racism exists throughout the industry. What does representation during Black Music Month mean to you?

Black Latinxs created reggaeton. We have created everything! I don’t know if every Hispanic genre has black [pioneer].

Blacks founded most of the Hispanic musical genres. So, in your opinion, there is a larger conversation there.

Yes! It’s a bit strange. cool to admit [the month]. I am grateful that I have Black Music Month. We do not need a month so much as people to recognize that we exist. We play reggaeton! We created all this music. I think we need a black year. The world was so angry with black people. The fact that they give us a month [falls short]. This is not enough. Sometimes it seems like the industry is spitting in our faces. But that’s the world we live in.

So what are your hopes for diversity in your genre?

I hope that on this day there will be no restrictions for people who want to fulfill their dream. This is a men’s industry. Sometimes [gatekeepers] don’t let women shine the way they should. This is what they should do. This also happens to gay people. I hope someday the machismo in the music industry will come to an end. This day will be the day the industry grows to its maximum potential. In the meantime, we limit ourselves to the generation of men and male chauvinism. Only women who are considered beautiful can succeed. And this is not how it should be.

The bomb reflects Puerto Rico’s African heritage. It is often included in reggaeton. What should listeners know about music?

Listeners in Puerto Rico know a lot about it because it’s traditional, but other places in the world may not know as much about it that black people created this sound and here it’s what people love. Maybe they don’t like to talk about it, but they know. You can’t hide the sun with your thumb.

Why is it important that our stories are accurately recorded?

This is important because we will stay here forever. This story is for our children, brothers and sisters who will be here when we are no longer alive. You cannot erase the history of music from the world. We must write it down with precision.

Which black artists have most influenced your sound?

This is Tego. Tego Calderon!

I love Tego.

There were others before him, such as Ismael Rivera and Rolando Lazeri. There are many people, but Tego Calderon influenced me the most.

Who is in your top 5 MCs?

Joyce Santana, Joyce Santana, Joyce Santana, Joyce Santanaas well as Joyce Santana (laughs)!

Who Joyce Santana?

I am an ordinary guy with a not so ordinary life. I am black Puerto Rican. I’m going to be the next superstar in the world. So, you must remember this name.

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