Los Rakas is comprised of cousins Raka Rich & Raka Dun, pioneering Panamanians by way of the Bay Area on the frontier of a new Latin urban sound. Known for their fresh mix of hip-hop, plena, reggae and dancehall music with both Spanish and English lyricism, Los Rakas represent the cutting edge of Pan- American flows.
Taking their name from the Panamanian word “Rakataka” – a negative slur used to describe someone from the ghetto – Los Rakas have set out to both inspire fellow “Rakas” by empowering them to become successful despite their circumstances, turning the current Latin hip-hop world on its head. They are part of a growing movement of DIY artists opening new spaces for true urban music to flourish in the Internet Era.
Prolific peddlers of remixes and mixtapes since 2006, it wasn’t until 2010 that Los Rakas had their breakout year. Along with being the first urban group to win Latin Alternative Music Conference’s (LAMC) "Discovery Artist" prize, Los Rakas were hand-picked to perform alongside Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, and Manu Chao at the Smoke Out Festival. In the ensuing years, Los Rakas have become a sought after act on the festival circuit with credentials that include SummerStage, X-Fest, A3C Hip-Hop Festival & Paid Dues in the US, as well as Festival NRML and Festival Corona Capital internationally.
Even before the release of their 2011 debut EP, " Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada," Los Rakas had received high praise from a variety of outlets - from Complex Magazine to The FADER to NPR's All Things Considered and National Geographic. With top-notch produced and globally-circulated music videos – underground anthems like 2006's "Mi Barrio" and 2009's "Abrazame" ft. Favi (Uproot Andy Hold Yuh) and 2010's "Soy Raka" – "Chancletas" was no different. Videos for the tracks "Ta Lista" and "Cueria" received wide coverage across the blogsophere as well as homepage feature placement on Youtube. "Chancletas" hit #1 on the iTunes' Reggaeton/Hip-Hop and #2 on the overall Latin chart.
In Summer 2012, Los Rakas toured across the country with headlining shows in New York, Chicago, Austin and Miami, as well as supporting Spanish rap sensation Mala Rodriguez on her US tour run. Raka Rich & Raka Dun also appeared on CNN En Español to talk to host Camilo Engaña about the growing Raka movement worldwide. Heavy buzz followed after the VEVO premiere of video "Bien Ribetiao" and SPIN Magazine premiere of the single "Hablemos Del Amor."
In Fall 2012, Los Rakas performed shows with Grammy-nominated Chilean emcee Ana Tijoux, Los Angeles' Ozomatli and supported Bermudian reggae artist Collie Buddz on his nationwide "Dark N' Stormy Tour," landing a feature in the Los Angeles Times where Raka Dun was quoted as saying: "It feels like everyday America's getting more Spanglish."
Los Rakas forthcoming release "Raka Party" will be out sometime in 2013, showcasing the group putting their "Raka" twist on the EDM world. The first single is an anthem for the women of Latin America entitled "Miss Latina." The project includes production from Los Rakas longtime collaborator, Freddy Stylez aka Raka Stylo. Raka Rich & Raka Dun also worked on a dance-centric single with Diplo and Dutch producer The Flexican called "Desorden" which is set to see release on Mad Decent. The group is also working on their third mixtape, "Panabay Twist 3: De La Noche A La Mañana" as well as solo mixtapes.
Los Rakas make music born of migration and tradition, critique and celebration, joy and pain. They make New World music. American music. Panamanian Jamaican Californian music. Music for b-boys and rude girls, dancers and romancers, mainlanders and islanders and isthmus folk alike, which continues to bubble one "Raka" at a time.