Words by Jesse Serwer—
You might be asking yourself right now: Los Rakas rep JA? Ain’t they those Panamanian dudes from the Bay? Yes, but they’ve just hopped on the brand-new riddim called Rep JA, from the streetwear label (and LargeUp family) of the same name. Gyptian, Laza Morgan, RDX, Kardinal Offishall, Dre’ and the Kid Daytona have all voiced the riddim but the inclusion of Los Rakas struck us particularly notable. Not only are we longtime supporters of Los Rakas and their efforts to bridge reggae, Panamanian plena and hip-hop but we knew they’d come with something extra strong.
On “Hablemos Del Amor,” Los Rakas’ Raka Dun and Raka Rich and collaborator Stylo (“Raka Stylo”) speak from the heart, tackling the topic of police brutality, and offering a hopeful “One Love” chorus before shouting out Oscar Grant, slain in their hometown of Oakland, and Trayvon Martin. Los Rakas and Rep JA tell us “Hablemos Del Amor” has been submitted for an upcoming movie on Oscar Grant. Well, it needs to be in there because this is powerful stuff. Stream and download the tune below, and watch our NYC-filmed LargeUp TV episode (way below) with Dun and Rich before you bounce.