EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Latina Fighting for Immigrants' Rights, Raw-G

EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Latina Fighting for Immigrants' Rights, Raw-G

Why do socially conscious rap?

In Mexico, we know that our government is corrupt. So for me to grow up in Mexico, my mentality was: "Why is this happening? Why are we going through this? Why isn’t this being solved?" That’s what inspired me to write. We need to see what’s going on around the world, so we can solve these problems and reveal things being hidden. By expressing that through lyrics, through song, I’m doing my part as an artist, an activist and a person. Music talks to people, young and old; they listen more when you’re doing it in an artistic way.

You’ve rapped with some pretty incredible emcees, people like KRS-One, Mobb Deep, Ghostface Killah, Blackalicious, Ana Tijoux and La Mala Rodriguez, among others. Tell me what that was like for you.

I grew up listening to KRS-One, so when I was on stage next to him, I remember looking at the crowd and thinking that’s where I was supposed to be, on the other side of the stage. It was a trip. The whole thing was so unreal. When you’re working so hard, you don’t see the changes. But then something like that happens and you’re forced to see it, that the hard work is paying off.

You just dropped your latest EP, Esperanza. Tell us about that and your favorite tracks.

Esperanza, which is Spanish for hope, is a project of hope to immigrants and people of color in underserving communities. Like my other work, it features distinct cross-cultural, multi-lingual and politically charged hip-hop. It’s aggressive, it’s raw and the people are really responding to it.

Hip-hop has a history of relegating women to video vixens, not artists. What was it like for you pursuing rap as a woman, a Latina, a recent immigrant and a mother?

This needs to change. The voices of women are important in every career and field, even in hip-hop. We have a valuable perspective and story to share with people. But barriers still do exist, and these circumstances have made it hard for me. It’s so much more difficult for me to put out a studio album or to perform. When booking shows, they’ll shut you down without a manager. I had to become my own manager and create my own company, Steelo Entertainment, in order to market myself and be taken seriously. I’ve had to force doors open when they were trying to be slammed in my face. I was doing all of this while being a mother, while working 9-to-5 at my job, while trying to maintain that job despite being discriminated against, being forced to do more work than my colleagues and without health insurance.

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