Musicians have been using hip-hop as a means of social commentary for decades. The genre, born out of the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement, not only created a new conduit of self-expression but also gave voice to a new generation of activists.
While the multi-billion dollar industry regularly taps into issues concerning youth and globalization, no one can deny the importance of race in hip-hop – particularly in the United States, where award-winning artists use it time and again to talk about racial injustice and violence.
Perhaps that is why two cousins from Valparaiso, Colombia, decided to choose this medium to spread awareness about their indigenous community and the struggles it is facing.
Brayan and Dario Tascon, also known as Linaje Originarios, are trying to preserve their native language Emberá by the means of music. Although nearly 80,000 people in Colombia and Panama speak it, it is still an endangered language because in just a few generations, Emberá, along with their culture, may cease to exist.
“We sing in our language to teach the children [in our community,]” Dario told AJ+. “So the children don’t forget our culture, our language.”
The duo’s music reflects their culture. They rap about nature, environment and the violence and discrimination surrounding them. Linaje Originarios’ biggest hit, “Candor Pasa,” currently has over 15,000 views on YouTube.
“We are very conscious when it comes to writing our lyrics,” explained Brayan. “We sing about the environment, Mother Earth, no to violence and discrimination.”
The duo has released several music videos and toured through South America to promote their message.