|During the recording of Son Dos Alas, a second recording with a beat by Echo was in the works. This production was intended as a second collaborative song between Magia and Eddie Dee. Magia, from the rap group Obsesión, recorded her vocals for the proposed collaboration during the same session when Anónimo Consejo, Alfredo Hernandez, and DJ Racier recorded with me at the Electro-Acústica studios for Son Dos Alas.
However the proposed Eddie Dee & Magia track failed to blossom. Magia preferred an altered tempo to the beat therefore creating a need for alterations. Despite being willfully involved and enthusiastic about recording with Magia, Eddie was occupied with other projects, making it hard to formally develop their collaboration.
Almost a year later talking with Dominican hip-hop emcee from Puerto Rico, Siete Nueve, he brought up his interest in recording with Magia. But different than Son Dos Alas, he wanted to go to Cuba. The U.S. embargo prohibits the travel of US citizens to Cuba, with restricted exceptions made for families, and educational or religious endeavours. Artists may apply for a Specific License for travel to Cuba, travel through an authorized licensee, or defend their right to use the General License for travel to Cuba. Knowing that each of these processes would take its time, with Magia eager still to record with an emcee from Puerto Rico as part of this thesis project, and eddie ‘unavailable’ – the opportunity was too attainable to let go. Siete Nueve was recording the song “Güasabara” (title mean war in the native Taino language) containing a clear message against war for his album in progess (Trabuco, released 2007). He selected this track for Magia and gave me his draft vocals with the background track produced by Nuff Ced.
In July of 2006 – during my trip for the 2nd Annual Hip-Hop Symposium in Havana put on by La Fabri K, the Cuban Agency for Rap and the Hermanos Saíz Association – Magia, and Alexey (Obsesión) recorded their vocal tracks in the studio they have built at home. They took turns engineering each other’s tracks while I filmed their interaction managing the roles between emcees, producers and spouses.
As an integral part of my Ph.D. fieldwork “Son Dos Alas: The Cultural Diffusion of Hip-Hop in Cuba and Puerto Rico,” video and audio recordings are used not only as a form of archiving, documenting and disseminating data, but also as a methodology in and of themselves. By allowing artists to interpret and respond to the research questions through visual art, lyrics, dance performance, and musicality (hip-hop), I create a space for them to dialogue with each other through the research process. Due to this unique research methodology, “Güasabara” and “Son Dos Alas” are the first collaborations ever between Cuba and Puerto Rico in the genre of hip-hop. Son Dos Alas is the first recorded hip-hop collaboration, Güsabara is the first fully published track between the islands (Güasabara published in Siete Nueve “Trabuco,” 2007 // 35sec introductory portion of Son Dos Alas published as “Son Dos Alas” in Calderón, Tego. The Undersog/El Subestimado, Jiggiri/Atlantic Records, 2006).
I returned to Minneapolis where I mixed the files from Magia and Alexey. Upon receipt by Siete Nueve JKO Dox engineered the final mix with not only Siete Nueve’s vocals but also a series of call ins and recordings from various artists accross Latin America who speak out against the war or in favor of the song. Siete Nueve published the final track on his recent release “Trabuco.”