New Duo Los Rakas Talk Debut Album, Shakira & Keeping Up with Their Panamanian Roots

Bilingual and bicultural cousins Raka Dun and Raka Rich have been refining their work for the past seven years and are now ready to release their unique sound into the world. A blend of hip-hop, 90s reminiscent Latin house, hard rap and soul, Los Rakas debut album El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo features 14 tracks in their brave and broad range of genres. 

At a recent dinner sponsored by Hennessy, one of the duo’s biggest fans, at STK Downtown, we sat down with the duo to talk about their sound, their dream collaboration with Shakira (and other artists) and how they keep up with their Panamanian roots. 

How did you get involved with Hennessy? How did that partnership start?

Raka Dun: When we were in LA for Latin Mix. You remember?

Raka Rich: Yeah with Latin Mix, and we performed three songs. It was just something, like, “Oh you guys wanna perform? Okay! Hop on!” And it was like three songs.

Raka Dun: Yeah. We met Manny.

Raka Rich: And then, after the performance, we met Manny – Manny Gonzalez. And ever since then, man, we’ve been connected.

That’s awesome. So tell me about the new album. What was the inspiration behind it?

Raka Dun: Well, the new album is... My side of the album is a little bit more like a documentary. You know, like, more personal. And his side.

Raka Rich: It’s more like a soundtrack of a movie – of a love movie about this romantic guy name Ricardo. You know, he’s the lady’s man. You know the smooth operator that Sadé was talking about. You know what I mean? And, uh, pretty much it’s like us experimenting with new sounds. Evolving from where we came from – from the hip-hop, from the reggae – taking it a step further, you know? It’s just something that – [an] album that we’ve worked in the last –

Raka Dun: Three years.

Raka Rich: ...two or three years. And we wanted to present it to the world the proper way, and Universal heard the album. And they wanted to put it out with us. So, you know, it’s just something that happened organically. April 15th is the big day. It’s gonna be the day when the music industry changes for good. April 15th.

How do you describe your new sound?

Raka Rich: You just feel good.

Raka Dun: Yeah feel good. Just feel good music.

Raka Rich: And it feels good because it comes from the heart. And I think people, when you do it from the heart, even though they don’t understand it, they receive it like that. You know? They feel it. So they’re gonna see that in this new album. They’re gonna be, like, “Yo, I dig it.” You know? Because they know it’s sincere. It’s not something that we’re just trying to make up all of the sudden. It’s just us experimenting with a new sound. 

Continue reading on Page 2 for their dream collaboration >>

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About this author1

Irina Gonzalez,

An NYC-based journalist, web editor, and food writer, she started her career with an internship at Latina magazine while receiving her bachelor’s at New York University. Her work has appeared in Time Out New York, MamasLatinas.com, FamilyCircle.com, TheFrisky.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and more. When she’s not checking out the latest taco restaurant in New York City, scouring for the best tapas in Barcelona, or dreaming of visiting Alex Atala’s restaurant in Brazil, she’s blogging about her favorite recipes, healthy eating tips and maintaining her 100 pound weight loss on HealthyLatinFood.com. You can always find her on Twitter (@msirinagonzalez) & Instagram (@msirinagonzalez) talking about her latest delicious meal.

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