The Future of Musica Latina Was on Display at Cultura Dura

Rapper Álvaro Díaz at Cultura DuraEXPAND
Rapper Álvaro Díaz at Cultura Dura
Photo by Marco Torres

Featuring ambitious remixes and mashups of everything from cumbia to EDM and hip-hop to ranchera, the Cultura Dura Tour made the final stop of an eight-city tour Saturday night at Club Los Globos in Silver Lake. With an all-star roster of rising talent on the bill, the night was a sweaty and eclectic dance party that showcased the vast musical treasures of traditional Latin American and Caribbean rhythms, combined with the laptop-produced beats of a new generation of Latino kids.

First to hit the stage was Puerto Rican rapper Álvaro Díaz, a young G draped in the latest street wear and spitting accented flows with supreme confidence and ease. A lyrical storyteller with a Spanglish vocabulary, he raps about the expected girls and money, but also about the realities of Puerto Rico and the struggle to survive. His talent translates well live, with a vibrant stage presence that kept the crowd hype as he spit his smooth yet hard-hitting raps. The track “SuperXclusivo” hits hard and loud.

Next up was MLKMN (read as Milk Man), a Mexico-Tejano export with a Dirty South flow. Armed with quick wit and an even quicker tongue, he hits you with the boom of his beats before turning up with party raps and pimp rhymes. With a raspy voice and an endearing laugh, he pulled a handful of ladies to dance with him on stage, which elevated the party to another level. His backup is the amazing DJ Dusty, a nü-cumbia pioneer who complemented Milk's energy perfectly.

See also: Our photo gallery from Cultura Dura

Milk just signed onto a record deal with Universal, which means fans can expect a full-length album soon. Check out “Assma” for a twerk anthem that will knock pictures off the wall.

Kap GEXPAND
Kap G
Photo by Marco Torres

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Puerto Rican rap duo Füete Billëte continued the fiesta with catchy hooks and stylish rhymes. They were followed by teenage rapper Kap G from the ATL. This kid embodies the Cultura Dura mold: a young Mexican-American kid who doesn't rap in Spanish, and whose style is more like a young Wiz Khalifa or A$AP Rocky, with life experience that is far beyond his young age. A perfect example of his style is the track “José Got Dem Tacos.”

To accompany the artists, an extraordinary run of DJs helped keep the show moving. DJ Chico Sonido began with dembow and reggaeton, before shifting to cumbia and electronica with a flick of a switch. Venus X and Nguzunguzu offered music at quicker pace, mixing moombahton, disco and Baltimore club.

The night ended with Royal Highness, a DJ/producer duo that consists of DJ King Louie of Austin, Texas' Peligrosa crew and Svani Quintanilla aka Principe Cu, Selena Quintanilla's talented nephew. With an adventurous need to mix from all across the spectum, they played a Tejano cumbia from Fito Olivares mashed up with “Mosh Pit” by Flosstradamus. Although the crowd had thinned towards the end of the night, those that stuck around were treated with Louie and Cu's chopped-up version of Selena's “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”

“This type of music is still a baby,” Quintanilla said after Royal Highness's set, talking about the overall premise of Cultura Dura. “There is so much room to grow and improve, and we welcome the new ideas and collaborations from any of these vatos.”

The night ended outside Los Globos, with the crew bonding over bacon-wrapped hot dogs and planning their next adventure. With a group like this leading the way, Cultura Dura's future looks bright.

Fans at Cultura DuraEXPAND
Fans at Cultura Dura
Photo by Marco Torres

See also: Our photo gallery from Cultura Dura


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