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From Oxygen to X100pre, Miami in two stages


Infinity corridor of ocher tones, empty, soundproof, alien. Pure American movie. This could be Manhattan right now. I press the elevator button. I wait.

-Going down?

I did not hear it coming.

-Going down.

Mere protocol. The most logical thing is that at this time you can only go down. I notice the boy, the only sign of life in this aseptic corridor like an operating theater. Yuppie, no less than 25, no more than 30, gray suit, leather briefcase, iPhone X. On his lapel, a pin with the Honduran flag, on his headphones Beatstrap. It's not NY: it's El Doral, Miami, the quasi-megapolis of South Florida that no longer belongs exclusively to Cubans. These and their descendants are still the majority of that 70 percent of population of Latin origin and there is a consensus about the role of exile / emigration as a critical mass for their growth, but the metropolitan area -I insist- is so much more extensive than that " Habana del Norte "summarized for those of the island in" la Saguesera, Calle Ocho, Hialeah. " That of 2019, populated perhaps more by the arrivals than by those born in it, has become a melting pot of cultures of South American countries grafted to the American trunk. Pretentious and arrogant, it is now proclaimed capital of Latin America and is remade not only erecting new buildings, but also constantly reinventing its vision of itself from the sum of the visions of those who inhabit it.  

That Miami noventera and more homogeneous the [pre] felt as a child to hear the Oxygen of Willy Chirino (Sony Discos, 1991) in a Cuba that went through the hardest part of the Special Period. Before my childhood perception, that viral album - which cassette tape was omnipresent in my life - had the ability to transport me across the Straits of Florida, telling me about the parallel and unknown universe of the Cuban-American of the time. The album was the snapshot of the second generation of the conflict, that which then incorporated the salsa to the musical nostalgia of their parents; who revered his elders but sang to Joaquín Sabina; that where the island religious syncretism persisted and the fervent political activism in proportion to that of the opposite shore. But also, he also talked about the daily life of man in his circumstances: hard work and deserved leisure, joy and suffering, brings-in short-the life of any human being here, there or anywhere ... pure child fantasies, fabulations without feet or head that would hardly make sense to review if it were not because the remnants of that armed world in my head, I found myself discovering them in reality, of deja vu in deja vu, The first time I stepped on the city in 2014.


I roll by Ave. 87 in Pato's car, my friend from elementary school, who has lived in the United States since 2008. Through him I met Juan, nica that boasts the "Flor de Caña" as Jimena, the Peruvian, of Pisco. For Jime I met the Mexican Xóchitl that does not support the Tabasco and whenever possible can wear it with multicolored dresses. Everyone, although luck and contingencies have brought them to South Florida, take pride in their origins.

-Put music there, Carbide - says Pato, referring to the animated of his childhood in Cuba.

I dream to him then x100pre (Rimas Entertainment, 2018), the album recently released by Bad Bunny, whose natural environment seems to me like a car plowing through the night of that Miami today - more Pan-American, less Cuban - and to which not only my experiences connect me, but also those of my friends. Why x100pre it does to me in 2019 what that Oxygen in 1991: put musical background to the perception of my present. The Latin trap is today the protagonist of a new chapter in the musical history of Miami, a city permanently in a trance, whose imaginary is inextricably linked to its sound environment and through which it projects its spirituality. The album, out of nowhere like an apparition, has left a few disbelievers astonished at the potential of the genre when it knows how willing to conquer no longer a country or a region, but the whole world. A genre in evolution that, like the city itself, no longer looks at itself as a humble periphery, but as something sophisticated, eclectic, multicultural. Perhaps the perfect soundtrack for that arrival from the south that has Miami by mythical territory where to pursue its ideal of personal fulfillment, mix of American dream with trap imaginary: economic power, luxury car, party with all kinds of excesses, yacht with beautiful girls in bikini.

Oxygen and X100pre they are for me postcards of different moments of the same city, that positions in perspective also speak to me about their evolution. Certainly - pictures at last - you only see in them what is framed, leaving out the rest of the world but what story tells everything as it is? The first time I heard Another Night in Miami something in me got plugged by emotional memory with Via in a simultaneous relationship of rupture and persistence. First of all, the automobile, the most important object in life in an extended and dispersed American city. Stories in movement, nocturnal; They talk about heartbreak, abandonment, renegation, lost illusions. Up to this point an emotional, timeless and human state: man and his circumstance, in short. But, if in 91 Willy is a city fish maneuvering in traffic in a car dragged by a current aimlessly; Today, Bad Bunny has a more up-to-date notion of the imaginary of that Latino who assumes he can ask Miami - even require him - a place in his heaven.

A truly popular artist does not merely work for the benefit of pleasing a crowd, but somehow manages to transfigure himself into it, filtering out the particular, the general, and sometimes even the universal of its occurrence and its time. He has the power to speak to a large audience, but call each one by his name: and put it in front of the mirror of his life and his event. "Vulgar" -who will say- and "marginal" and "facilista". "It's not my thing," as if denying a reference was not in any way highlighting its importance as such. Popular music - in Miami and wherever it is - is not entirely the product of a cultural industry or policy, but of Culture itself. The trap is certainly rude and still retains a marginal component after its evolution - heaven will know what it means to renounce it - but more than that it brings within itself the imaginary of a community that supports it because it looks at its aspirations and its realities Culture, the truth, with a capital letter is something alive and autonomous; unattainable as water, is the whole that transcends the sum of the parts of life in society, regardless of what they do, undo, condition or censure industries and / or institutions with a range of criteria from the gross merchandise to the purest idealism . Culture is Mozart, Picasso and Borges but so is the foul language; McDonald's and croquettes; the chofeabreatrás, the bills and the tolls.


Have you tried Peruvian food? Pato asked me a while ago.

- I guess so…

- Come on, "he said resolutely." To get you out of doubt. "

Thanks to Álvaro I knew the matambrito; by Helen the patacón treads; with Mario the picanha; Thanks to Pato the Venezuelan arepa. Everything, without leaving Miami. Tonight, in the center of a Doral raised, they say, by the fortunes coming from Venezuela, an Ecuadorian girl says she is saving to go to New York, she serves me a ceviche and she goes off humming Slow, of Thalia with Gente de Zona, while different accents of the same language are interspersed throughout the room.

Carlos Ernesto Escalona Martí More posts

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