Remember hip hop?
Remember where you were the first time you heard Outkast? The first time those strangely hypnotic, twanging beats came snaking out of your friend’s stereo on a friday night? Maybe you were 10 or 11 or 12, just allowed out of the house to your first co-ed party, watching your friends move their hips in ways you didn’t know were possible, knowing before the end of the first chorus how good it was going to feel to scream out, “I’m sorry Ms, Jackson, oooh, I am for real,” next verse ’round. Because even though you were just 10 or 11 or 12 it put words to something your pre-pubescent mind couldn’t express—you didn’t know anything but you knew, you knew, that you were real too. For real in you track bottoms and your adidas slide-ons and your butterfly hair clips. Wherever you were when you heard it, you felt it. You felt for real.
We all have a hip-hop origin story, but finding the music that I came of age to, the hip hop and R&B that played backdrop to so many firsts, proved difficult to find upon my landing in Buenos Aires. After the whirlwind love affair with reggaeton and cumbia, the introduction to the philosophical school of Soda Stereo, I wanted to return to my good old ex-boyfriend, the one who had always been there, hip-hop nights. And other than deep underground rap battles, and of course those sticky and sweet Sunday nights at Afro Mama, there was none to be found.
A few yanquis felt the exact same way, and just like that the newly minted SWRV was born, (pronounced swerve) and has found its home at that dreamy San Telmo oasis, Mansion Boero. Branded as “R&B, Hip Hop, future beats and more,” it’s a night meant to showcase the genre as so much more than what see in a stereotypical rap video, or a top 40 chart—essentially to broadcast its real value to this side of the Equator.
The brainchild of a yanqui turned boludo and his friends, I got a chance to speak with the man behind SWRV (and former Bubbler), Will Aquino.
What’s the layout of the hip hop scene in Buenos Aires?
One of my gripes about the state of hip hop here is that so many people associate it with gangsta rap and the absolute worst of the genre, which has stunted its growth a bit. The most notable absence in the scene is the lack of R&B and soul, with the Sunday classic “Afromama” being pretty much the only place you can hear these more chill and sexy sounds. I think we could all agree that we could all use more love songs hoy en dia. With SWRV the idea is to help shake off some of the stereotypes many Argentines have regarding this music. You don’t have to be “mean mugging” in the corner trying to look hard. You don’t need to spin on your head. You don’t need to dress a certain way. Hip Hop is a culture that’s all about love, community, expression and having a good time. We just want to communicate that in different and fun way. When we were offered the chance to use the beautiful Mansion Boero for this project, it felt like a match made in heaven… We’re able to incorporate art & visuals like music videos and hip hop shorts to really focus on other parts of the culture that get overlooked in your average hip hop party.
Do you think the land of cumbia and reggaeton and time warp is ready for the deep cuts?
Having been in Buenos Aires for going on nine years now, I have to say the hip hop scene has come a long way. From always hearing the same old songs every week at the one hip hop party in the city to now seeing freestyle rappers on daytime talk shows and actually having options when it comes to hip hop parties in the City. Right now it really feels like it’s finally hip hop’s time to shine. Due to last year’s (grossly unnecessary) war on electronic music following the Time Warp disaster, it’s gotten very hard for promoters and producers to put on quality electronic music events nowadays. This has led to people branching out a bit and looking for something different, making room for hip hop and wrap to gain prominence in 2016.
Okay most important question… if you had to be on a desert island with three artists who would they be ?
If I could be on an island with three artists (currently living), without thinking about it too much I’d say Andre 3000, Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé. We’d make such dope music! (This question was asked a few house before the announcement of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter’s pregnancy with twins, [AND A SAVIOR IS BORN UNTO US!] so Will’s getting five people.)
SWRV officially debuts their brand of fresh hip hop, R&B, and beyond.
Where & When
Mansion Boero (Peru 1573), where else? Tonight, 9pm. Be there.