"It's is part of my personality. It's a natural mixture. I don't know what my genre is but just like my personality, it's a little bit of everything."
Hector Guerra is a Spanish-Bolivian rapper with a vision. About eight years ago he embarked on a journey that would result in his trilogy of albums "Amor Desde El Infierno": Amor (2012), Gracias For Existir (2015), and Desde El Infierno (2018). After talking to Hector there is something I have for certain, he wants to make a difference through his music. He wants to convey a message and it's that message that has driven him to make this trilogy of albums. Hector embarked on a spiritual journey through three indigenous communities before making his albums. He was guided by and given permission by Shamans in these communities and he used their medicines and traditions in order to enlighten himself and better understand a vision he had. Hector became a voice of interpretation for los abuelos. (He is referring to the spiritual leaders, Shamans, of the indigenous communities he visited).
As the last album of the trilogy, "Desde el Infierno", did not disappoint. It's full of good beats and danceable rhythms. Not only that, but it has cantos de poder, which Hector got special permission from los abuelos. For those of you who are not familiar with Hector Guerra's work, he fuses: cumbia, trap, electronic, reggeaton, and ritmo Spanglish along with others which is why it's so fun to listen to! In regards to that fusion and why he choses to mix all that, Hector says, "It's is part of my personality. It's a natural mixture. I don't know what my genre is but just like my personality, it's a little bit of everything." This new album has many themes running through it and each song is it's own character with it's own unique twist. Different genres are overlapping each other to form the song's "personality". From the uplifting song "Vida" featuring MARIEL MARIEL with it's lyrics reading "hay tantos motivos para disfrutar la vida" to the song U.S.A Es México ft. Dr. Shenka, Mellow Man Ace and Aztek 732 with it's political undertones with even an intro featuring Trump saying " I love Mexican people" followed by a sick beat.
I asked Hector to walk me through his decision to make three albums and after he finished telling me his story, it was no wonder why he felt compelled to embark on this adventure. He said, "I was in Spain with my collective of musicians at the time and a Cuban brujo came up to us and he made do breathing exercises for seven minutes. It was like a trance and I saw a message. I knew that I had to come to México. It felt so real and I saw an Eagle on fire!" Hector mentioned that wasn't the only sign that he got about going to México. He said that around that time his girlfriend entered a photography contest and she won and part of the prize was two tickets to México and there was no doubt that Hector's destiny was to go to México. Once in México he began his journey to search for the Shaman he knew he had to find. Hector found him, he found Hector and that marked the beginning of what would end up being this project.
I asked Hector what he wishes his fans would get out of this album and he responded, "I want people to see the messages of the los abuelos. They gave me their blessing. I am their voice. A lot of these abuelos are old and many are dying. Their messages need to be heard." Their messages will definitely be heard. The video for the song "Vida" is a great example of the messages Hector is trying to pass on. The video begins with someone asking el abuelo why reggeaton is a popular form of music and el abuelo gives a wise answer saying that the reason why people love the genre so much is that it uses the rhythm of the African drums and THAT is in our DNA. I asked Hector whether he had heard that from an abuelo or whether it's a made-up story and he said that " those are all their words. I am just the interpreter."
As it's pointed out, the album touches on themes dealing with life and love, but there are some political undertones like that of track U.S.A Es México. I asked him why he decided to do that and he gave a very metaphorical explanation. "Europe is the great mom and México is the dad. Imagine that! Imagine a body. The United States is the head, the neck is the border between the U.S. and México, and México is the body. Right now the neck is sliced open. It's hurt and wounded. We need to fix that as soon as possible. We are all from "el miso pueblo", the world needs us to heal and work it out." Hector continued to explain his metaphor and gave great insight on why it's also important to spread this message. He has made it his mission and it's more than clear at this point.
A big thank you to Hecto Guerra for his time, music and insight! Go listen to his latest album "Desde El Infierno"!!
Banner by: dotodotjulio
Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.