Wednesday, June 28, 2023

'Busta Rhymes' Says Puerto Ricans & Blacks Created Hip Hop

Busta Rhymes is one of the most influential and respected rappers in the history of hip hop. He has been in the game for over three decades, and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry. But what many people may not know is that Busta Rhymes also has a strong connection to Puerto Rico, and he credits the island and its people for being one of the main sources of inspiration and innovation for hip hop culture.

In a recent interview with Complex, Busta Rhymes explained how he grew up in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, and how he was exposed to the rich musical heritage of the Boricuas. He said that he learned a lot from listening to salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and other genres that originated or were influenced by Puerto Rico. He also said that he admired the Puerto Rican pride and identity that his neighbors displayed, and how they always supported each other.

Busta Rhymes also acknowledged the role that Puerto Ricans played in the creation and evolution of hip hop, alongside African Americans. He said that Puerto Ricans were instrumental in developing the elements of DJing, graffiti, breakdancing, and MCing, and that they contributed to the diversity and creativity of the culture. He mentioned some of the legendary Puerto Rican figures in hip hop, such as DJ Disco Wiz, Grandmaster Flash, Crazy Legs, Prince Whipper Whip, Tony Touch, Fat Joe, Big Pun, and many others.

Busta Rhymes said that he considers himself an honorary Puerto Rican, and that he has a lot of love and respect for the island and its people. He said that he hopes to visit Puerto Rico soon, and that he wants to collaborate with some of the local artists there. He also said that he wants to use his platform to raise awareness and support for the issues that Puerto Rico faces, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the economic crisis, and the colonial status.

Busta Rhymes said that he believes that Puerto Ricans and African Americans have a lot in common, and that they should unite and celebrate their shared history and culture. He said that hip hop is a powerful tool for social change and empowerment, and that it belongs to everyone who loves it and contributes to it. He said that he is proud to be part of a culture that was created by Puerto Ricans and African Americans, and that he will always honor their legacy.

Busta Rhymes said that Puerto Ricans and Blacks created Hip Hop. This brought some others in the Black community to attack him claiming that he was "erasing" Black people from the genre. This is far from the truth. We cannot deny that Puerto Ricans were heavily involved in the creation of Hip Hop. What Busta Rhymes said is correct in regard to Puerto Ricans and African Americans in The Bronx.  Those of us who grew up in the Bronx can attest to this fact including the pioneers of Hip Hop.  This does not take away from African Americans.  However, some Black Supremacists were dismayed at his comment claiming Puerto Ricans had nothing to do with Hip Hop. Tariq Nasheed is the bandleader of this rebellion which is based on ignorance of Hip Hop and an attempt to push a false narrative. 

Puerto Ricans are mixed with Africans and it is safe to say that most African Americans are also mixed and not purely "black" due to slavery and the horrors of it and other factors.  In fact, Puerto Ricans are part of the Black/African diaspora. So no Black person should feel erased or disrespected.  Puerto Ricans and Blacks have always been ONE force fighting against oppression and racism.  This will never change. Before Hip Hop, Puerto Ricans on the island since the time of colonization engaged in "battle rhymes" to acoustic drumbeats (African/Taino) and guitars called "Controversias" or "controversies" in English.  They "dissed" each other using these African-Taino beats and guitars as background repetitive music.  It was all in good fun though.

In my old neighborhood in Belmont, there was the Rocksteady Crew. They were a group of Hip Hop break dancers, artists, and rappers who were Puerto Rican and contributed to Hip Hop in its early days. They were even involved in "Westside Story" type altercations with the local Italians who often frowned upon the presence of Puerto Rican in the neighborhood. 

At times, there were fights on the streets with dozens of youths, both Italian and Puerto Ricans beating each other up into a pulp in the area of Crotona Avenue, 182nd and 183 Street. Most lived at 692, where my family lived at the time. 

We cannot ignore the many pioneers who help create Hip Hop who were Puerto Rican. I am sure some younger Hip Hop fans probably never heard of them.  DJ Charlie Chase, Tracy 168 whose graffiti has been documented on subway cars, Errol Eduardo Bedward known as "Pumpkin" who produce jams and beats in the 1970s, The Rocksteady Crew, The Mean Machine, The Real Roxanne, Shabba-Doo is known for his break dancing, Ruby Dee, Dj Disco Wiz, and many others. Hip Hop was not just created by African Americans. In reality, no one owns it. It belongs to all people. This is why it has branched out throughout the whole world. The genre is heard and has been adapted around the world to different languages, beats, and cultures. 

What do you think? Post your comment below on Disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules so your comment can go through.  


Book: "From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity"by Professor Juan Flores who taught Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center.  

Book: New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone First Edition by R. Rivera (Author)

The actual contributions Puerto Ricans gave to hip hop! @JoeyCrackTS was right! (

HIP HOP IS FROM THE BRONX: A Documentary of NYC's Street Culture #thebronx #hiphophistory (

(1) HIP HOP IS FROM THE BRONX: A Documentary of NYC's Street Culture #thebronx #hiphophistory - YouTube

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