Los Rakas
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Los Rakas

Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | MAJOR

Oakland, California, United States | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2010
Duo World Hip Hop

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“You know, before I came to the United States, I thought the United States was going to be the solution for everything. I was going to move over here and save money and send it back to my mom. But then you come over here and you realize it’s a struggle,” says Raka Dun. “If anything, it’s more of a struggle because you don’t have your papers and that limits you.”

The most accurate word that comes to mind when trying to describe hip-hop may not be inclusive, but it is when it comes to the Panamanian, Oakland duo Los Rakas. Raka Rich and Raka Dun, the two cousins behind the politically conscious, Spanish-speaking hip-hop group, evoke a familial, welcoming vibe; when they’re together, the two finish each other’s sentences, riffing and playing off each other, a sensibility that’s anything but hard.

‘Before I came here, I thought the United States was going to be the solution for everything … then you come here and you realize it’s a struggle.’

“It’s like we’re twins. You know, we’ve been around each other for so long, we do everything together,” Raka Rich says.

At a recent First Friday show in Oakland’s art district, Los Rakas performed a set that was the definition of diversity. A group of young Latina girls wearing their finest danced front row, babies swayed to the music, granddaughters held their grandmas, couples sang along to crowd favorites like “Abrázame”, “Enamorado de Ti”, and “Africana” in Spanish. Los Rakas invited members of the audience onstage, children break-danced in front of a cheering audience, and anyone who wanted to party was welcome to the Raka party.

“When you come to our show, you’re going to see that it’s a different atmosphere every time. It’s a party atmosphere, it’s a good vibe,” says Raka Rich. “We have heard people say that ‘I fell in love with my girl when I heard ‘Abrázame’, we were at your show on Valentine’s Day, and after that we’ve been together.” - New York Observer


At the end of the Oakland Music Festival on Sept. 26, one of the founders of the event stood on stage and professed his love for the city while promising to bring “Jay-Z out to this motherfucker” next year. It’s exactly this fusion of local pride and nationwide talent that made OMF so dynamic, with attendees equally excited for local and national stars.

Performing early was Berkeley’s own Caleborate, fresh off the release of his debut Hella Good and riding a wave of love from his listeners, who enjoyed an infectiously lively set. Next was DUCKWRTH, who kept the energy going with a bass-heavy set that featured a little Future sprinkled in to amp up the listeners.

The bangers continued with Noodles’ set, as she dropped early 2000s nostalgia trips and more modern hits to keep the crowd jumping all the way through. Anderson.Paak showed up to invigorate the crowd with his stage presence, dance moves and incredible vocal range. All throughout the day, the crowd kept up its dancing and chanting on all stages. Shot throughout those blocks around 22nd Street and Broadway, this perpetual energy was unavoidable, and didn’t just come from the free Monster drinks at the venue.

Festival goers stopped to observe live mural and art installations from local artists. “The Danger Room” was an exhibit that promised to surprise any viewer who entered its foreboding tent, and curious viewers were not disappointed, laughing as they realized what it was. There was a plethora of delicious East Bay food, from oxtail tacos, to organic smoothies to Jamaican jerk chicken. It was a surreal atmosphere — not unlike a block party, as many performers commented — with good music, food, people and vibes all around.

It started to get dark when the headliners showed up. BJ the Chicago Kid, a supporting player on numerous recent hits, stepped out of the shadows with a soulful set, singing with such passion that his crowd size had doubled by the end of his set. Los Rakas brought Latin-inspired hip-hop to a crowd that ate it up. Next up was the East Bay’s own Kool John and a huge amount of hits in his arsenal. Every time he dropped a beat, the listeners went absolutely crazy. The crowd, which had by now swelled well past the block allotted to the Sideshow stage, screamed and danced along to his lyrics as Kool John and cohorts from his HBK Gang such as Skipper and Jay Ant dropped bangers such as “100 Grand” and “Bitch I Look Good.” Another highlight was when John brought out Bay Area star Nef the Pharaoh to play his local hit “Big Tymin.”

After Kool John’s set, the crowd migrated to the Town Stage. DJ Kidd Marvel entertained with his Drake mashups and smooth remixing before Washington, D.C.’s Goldlink came out dancing and singing with an unthinkably fast flow and a contagious stage presence, playing EDM-influenced hits such as “Aquafina” and “Sober Thoughts.” The crowd chanted and grooved along with him onstage, as he won over hearts by cooking to “Wonton Soup” and dropping “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for all the “old motherfuckers.” At the end of his set, which ran overtime by about 15 minutes, he thanked Oakland for “being (his) favorite city in a long time.” The feeling was mutual.

It was amazing how the crowd had brought equal energy and affection for acts both local and from far away. The growing Oakland Music Festival might actually get Jay-Z sometime in the future, if not in the next year. But the best part about it is that the city of Oakland will be there every step of the way, going crazy for the big names but also never forgetting the incredible talent right here in the East Bay. - The Daily Californian


OAKLAND (KRON) — The last time Latino artists took the big stage at the Oracle Arena, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull put on party for thousands of fans during their tour stop last February. Support for the Latin music scene reached fever pitch as the Bay Area Latino Festival took over The Roar-acle on Saturday.

Eclectic names on the bill appealed to a broad range of fans. From parents and grandparents who were eager to sing-along to the sounds of Mexican legends Los Tigres Del Norte, or cumbia courtesy of Los Angeles Azules, to the younger generation wanting to see internationally known band Ozomatli from LA, Grupo Fantasma from Texas, Tierra Show, and Grupo Ellas.

Perhaps one of the most significant performances came courtesy of Oakland-based (Panamanians) duo Los Rakas. They were ecstatic to be performing at such an iconic venue for any artist (especially those from Oakland.)

Los Rakas had quite an energetic set. They had a DJ, dancers, and there were fans flying the Panamanian flag while others chanted “yo si soy, yo si soy Raka.”

The festival started about an hour late, which at first did not seem to bother those in attendance- but as the night progressed, some people were slightly irritated. As with any festival, there are many logistics involved. And, when it comes to having a festival for the first time, glitches are inevitable.

Ozomatli and Grupo Fantasma (a seven and nine-piece band respectively) have a similar sound, with a fusion of cumbia, jazz and hip-hop sounds that were the perfect segue to Los Angeles Azules.

When Mexican cumbia band Los Angeles Azules went on stage, the cheers from the crowd could be heard from those who were floor level all the way to those at the top. People were quick to rise from their seats and showed their best cumbia moves. Los Angeles Azules are pioneers of cumbia music; their music is a staple at every Latin party (wedding, graduation or a quinceañera.)

It was notorious that the one band that everyone was there to see was Los Tigres Del Norte. The norteño ensemble of Mexican origins also has strong ties to the Bay Area, more specifically to San Jose. And, having over 55 albums, multiple Latin and American Grammys, a star on the Walk Of Fame (among many other recognitions for their music.) It was no surprise that Los Tigres Del Norte were indeed the brightest and most expected stars at the festival.

Overall, the first Bay Area Latino Festival was a success, long overdue and much needed at the Oracle Arena. We will hopefully see similar shows in the months to come. And, certainly a yearly Bay Area Latino Festival. - Kron 4


Tijuana DJs, Panamanian-American hip hop duo, and Latin soul Bandrepresent in 2015 fest line-up

Chicano Batman, Nortec Collective's Bostich+Fussible, and Los Rakas are part of the just-announced lineup for Coachella 2015.

The California desert festival, set for the weekends of April 10 and 17, habitually spotlights several Latin artists among its performers, with an emphasis on Mexican acts.

Coachella 2015 Lineup Revealed: AC/DC, Drake & Jack White Headlining

Among those representing this year, Bostich+Fussible should be most familiar to Coachella crowds. Nortec has brought their electronic Tijuana sound to the festival before, as well as to numerous other U.S. stages over their 15-year history. Bostich+Fussible, who are also set to perform at this year's Vive Latino in Mexico City, have announced that their latest album, Motel Baja, will be their last under the Nortec name.

Chicano Batman's grooving retro Latin soul sound should pull festival crowds in their direction. The L.A. band's second album, Cycles of Existential Rhyme, was released in 2014, and their appearance at Coachella will follow an East Coast tour that starts Jan. 8 in Philadelphia.

Los Rakas created a buzz in urban latino circles last year with their album "El Negrito Dun Dun and Ricardo." The Panamanian Bay Area residents will go on tour in February for a series of dates in Western states with Zion I, Locksmith and Vokab Kompany before landing at Coachella. - Billboard


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Los Rakas was born in the youth centers of Oakland, CA in 2006.  This duo are of Panamanian descent and raised in both cultures.  They are the future of world music and have trendsetted their way into mainstream, touring nationwide and internationally.  Performing in both English and Spanish, their specialty is that they teach Spanish through their music- no more Rosetta Stone is needed!!  Los Rakas are known for rocking any party - from youth events to world wide festivals, they hype the crowd and get the party all the way live!   What is a raka?  a person who is proud of who they are.   The rakas are making sure that the voice of the pueblo is heard, their unique sound bridges cultures from all over the world.  The Californian Panamanian duo are internationally known for their famous Raka Party sharing the stage alongside with Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg, Daddy Yankee, Los Tigres del Norte, Manu Chao, Drake, ACDC, Madonna, Lauryn Hill, Bomba Estereo, Farruko, Choquibtown, The Garifuna Collective.  Recorded with Far East Movement, Scoop Deville, E40, Diplo, Blondie, Sheila E, Kafu Banton, Mr. Fox, Zion y Lennox & much more.

Los Rakas have an extensive list of national and International tours sponsored by RedBull, Honda Civic, Corona, international festivals such as Mexico City’s Festival Corona Capital, Colombia, Chile, Reggae on the River, Monterrey Bay Reggae Festival, Coachella, Rock the Bells, CONS Project Amsterdam, California Roots Music & Arts Festival, Electric Forest Festival, Northern Nights Festival, Brussels Afro Latino Festival, San Diego Mardi Gras, Neon Desert Music Festival, Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival, Oakland Music Festival, Bay Area Latino Fest, etc.

The Raka movement was recognized by their own City of Oakland during 2015 ‘National Hispanic Heritage Month’ when they were honored for their exemplary contribution and service to the residents of Oakland.  In addition, Los Rakas are proud ambassadors for Converse, GoPro and Hennessy and have appeared in nationwide print ads for Rocksmith, Diamond, Famous, Bucket Feet, Oaklandish and Breezy Excursion.

Listen to them online, on your iPod, catch them on the news, on the radio, the television, in movies, hear them in your favorite video game, read about them in the paper or online - AND be sure to witness a live show...  Raka Party...

“Los Rakas are building a serious reputation for themselves by mixing the rhythms of reggae and Caribbean dancehall with ferocious, bilingual, emcee-devouring microphone skills.” - MTV

“Estamos rakiando con ustedes!” - CNN

"As their music switched among hip-hop, reggaetón and dancehall beats, their fast rhymes proclaimed solidarity across the hemisphere." - NY Times

“This Oakland, Calif., duo — rapping cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun — prove that some of the most exciting dance music on the planet is still coursing through the Afro-Latin diaspora.” - Washington Post

"The Panamanian cousins, Raka Rich and Raka Dun, are the embodiment of the new millennial Latino MC—bilingual, genre-bending and, of course, lyrics for days." - Latina Magazine

“Los Rakas are single-handedly taking back Reggaeton to it’s Panamanian roots.” - National Geographic

Band Members