The Chilean Rapper Shouts Out Some of Her Favorite Messengers on the Mic
Words and interview by Reuben Torres
In the increasingly depoliticized realm of contemporary Hip-Hop, Ana Tijoux’s voice has struck listeners as — to quote her own words — “a bucket of cold water, a slap in the face.” The latter phrase was used by Tijoux to describe the new generation of politically-conscious Chilean students, yet it is very much applicable to her own music. With her new album Vengo (translated as “I Come”) on Nacional Records, she carries on her role as a beacon for her native country’s — and Latin America’s — dissident voices, whose concerns she continues to echo in her music.
Though decidedly more tempered than her previous outings, Vengo does a fair job of picking up where she left off, addressing issues like class disparity, indigenous rights and gender equality, yet with a clearer, more measured approach. Perhaps her biggest departure from her previous work has been jettisoning the sampler in favor of a live band, with heavily accentuated brass sections, flutes and Andean instrumentation that more evidently manifest her Latin influences.
Despite the shift to more rootsy territory, Tijoux continues to use hip-hop as her primary language, taking from all epochs and styles to forge the sound that has turned her into a household name. For this edition of Selector, we asked the Chilean rapper to recall some of the hip-hop tracks that have had the most profound influence upon her person, as well as her unique sound.
Shadia Mansour — Yuma
“This song by Shadia is so powerful. I worked with her on “Somos Sur” from Vengo —she came to Chile and everyone loved her.”
Subverso — Terroristas
“This is that real Chilean hip-hop! It talks about the struggle of fighting for freedom and the struggle with authorities that comes with it.”
Rebel Diaz — Qpasa (Feat. Divino of The D.e.y.)
“These guys are like my brothers. I love their lyrics, the message, their commitment to the community and education.”
Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley — Nah Mean
“Two of the best of all-time coming together on this song. They’re from different countries and cultures, but they’re like musical cousins.”
NTM — Le Monde de Demain
“This song talks about the difficulties of being born in France and feeling like you’re not welcome, which a lot of different people around the world can relate to, not feeling welcome in your own country.”
Public Enemy – Fight the Power
“They were the first rap band I really listened to and understood the message — they really changed who I am as a person.”
Sistema Bomb — Luna Mas Negra (Feat. Noe Gonzales)
“This song combines Son Jarocho with electronic music. Noe Gonzales is part of Los Cojolites, a band I really love.”