Hip Hop Rappers

The Most Influential Spanish-Speaking Rappers

In honor of the 50th anniversary of hip hop, we recap some of some essential artist in the genre you should listen to

Archivado en: C.Tangana  •   Duki  •   Gera MX  •   Paulo Londra  •   Residente  •   Trueno  •   Villano Antillano  •  

Hip-hop was born in the Bronx of New York in 1973, during a time when block parties were becoming increasingly popular. In one of these gatherings, a Jamaican-American DJ named Kool Herc introduced a unique approach. Instead of playing entire songs, he exclusively spun the instrumental segments known as «breaks,» igniting the crowd’s frenzy. Thus, one of the world’s largest and most listened-to genres emerged, led by the Afro-American community.

With an almost boundless cultural backdrop, hip-hop has authentically depicted urban life, offering a raw and transparent portrayal of human emotions and realities. Initially, it emerged as an anti-drug and anti-violence movement, characterized by stylized rhythmic tunes typically built around percussion patterns, often accompanying rhyming lyrics. It comprises four main elements: Masters of Ceremonies (MCs), DJs, urban dance, and graffiti.

Starting in the 1980s and 1990s, the major historical icons of rap with their own distinctive styles would emerge, such as Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan, NWA with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, Nas, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem, among others.

Hip Hop Rappers
Tupac Shakur performs onstage at the Palladium on July 23, 1993 in New York, New York. Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

While born in the U.S., the 1980s saw the rise of Spanish-speaking rap in Latin America, particularly in suburban neighborhoods, serving as a potent medium of expression. In Puerto Rico, it made a strong impact, producing genre-defining figures like Residente, the lead vocalist of the iconic group Calle 13.

In Mexico, it gained prominence in the 90s, experiencing consistent growth since then with artists like Control Machete and Cartel de Santa. Simultaneously, the genre also developed in Argentina, albeit with less vigor than other styles until the emergence of rap battles and events like El Quinto Escalón around 2012, led by groups like Actitud María Marta. Notable figures in the genre also emerged in Chile, such as Ana Tijoux, and Colombia saw references like Tres Coronas.

Hip Hop Rappers
Rene ‘Residente’ Perez, of Calle 13, performs at Miami’s Pawn Shop, in Miami, Florida. Ronna Gradus / Miami Herald / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

In Spain, hip-hop arrived in the late 80s, entering through graffiti culture and breakdancing. Spanish rap gained popularity in the 90s with artists like MC Randy & DJ Jonco and Frank T. The group Violadores del Verso and its lead vocalist, Kase O, undoubtedly became pioneers and references in the Spanish-speaking hip-hop scene, alongside others like SFDK, Nach, and El Chojin.

That’s why, to hip-hop 50th anniversary, we’ve made a list celebrating the most influential Spanish-speaking rappers. While figures like Daddy Yankee, Anuel AA, and Bad Bunny could be placed within the urban genre, this list is dedicated to highlighting artists focused on rap.

Residente (Puerto Rico)

René Pérez Joglar, known as Residente, was born on February 23, 1978, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is a co-founder and vocalist of the influential group Calle 13. Residente is known for his provocative and socially conscious lyrics, addressing topics ranging from social issues to politics. Calle 13 won numerous awards, including multiple Latin Grammys. Residente has also explored solo projects, including his self-titled album «Residente» (2017).

Canserbero (Venezuela)

Tirone José González Oramas, known as Canserbero, was born on March 11, 1988, in Caracas, Venezuela. He was an exceptionally talented rapper and songwriter. His lyrics delved into themes such as introspection, society, and philosophy. Canserbero gained recognition with albums like «Vida» (2010) and «Muerte» (2012). Unfortunately, his life ended tragically in 2015. His legacy lives on in his music, which remains inspiring and powerful.

Kase.O (Spain)

Javier Ibarra Ramos, known artistically as Kase.O, was born on March 1, 1974, in Zaragoza, Spain. He is one of the most influential figures in the history of Spanish rap. He began his career as a member of the group Violadores del Verso, which became a cornerstone of Spanish rap. Kase.O is known for his lyrical skill, intricate metaphors, and depth in his lyrics. His style has influenced generations of rappers, and his solo work, like «El Círculo» (2016), has received critical acclaim.

Ana Tijoux (Chile)

Ana Tijoux Merino was born on June 12, 1977, in Lille, France, but was raised in Chile. She is a Chilean rapper known for her lyrical style and social activism. Initially part of the group Makiza, Tijoux transitioned to a successful solo career. Her music addresses feminist, political, and social themes, gaining international recognition. Her album «1977» (2009) propelled her onto the global stage.

Natos y Waor (Spain)

Gonzalo Cidre (Natos) and Fernando Hisado (Waor) form a Spanish rap duo originating from Madrid. They gained popularity through online platforms and are distinguished by their unique lyrical style, which often tackle personal experiences, life stories, and social critiques. They have released several successful albums, including «Martes 13» (2014) and «Cicatrices» (2017).

ToteKing (Spain)

Manuel González Rodríguez, known as ToteKing, was born on October 13, 1978, in Seville, Spain. He is a cornerstone of Spanish rap, recognized for his lyrical skill and impact on the scene. ToteKing has released several successful albums, such as «T.O.T.E.» (2017), praised for its introspective content and sharp lyrics.

Los Aldeanos (Cuba)

Aldo Roberto Rodríguez Baquero (Al2 El Aldeano) and Bian Oscar Rodríguez Gala (El B) form a Cuban rap duo known for their critical lyrics and social commitment, Los Aldeanos. They have been influential in the Cuban rap scene, addressing political, societal, and everyday life themes.

Rocca (Colombia/France)

Rocca, whose complete name is Sébastian Rocca, emerged as a French-Colombian rap artist and producer, entering the world on 27 April 1975 in Paris. Acknowledged for his exceptional lyrical prowess within the realm of French Rap, Rocca’s reputation as an adept rapper blossomed throughout the 1990s when he became a pivotal figure in the influential rap ensemble, La Cliqua. Additionally, he was part of Tres Coronas. Notably, he shares kinship with Juan Pablo, Gabriela, Camila, and Juanita Rocca.

Mala Rodríguez (Spain)

María Rodríguez Garrido, born on February 13, 1979, in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, has been one of the most influential female artists in the Spanish urban music scene. She gained fame in the 1990s with her innovative rap style and bold lyrics. Mala Rodríguez is known for her empowerment of women and lyrics that tackle issues of gender, sexuality, and politics. Her debut album «Lujo Ibérico» (2000) was a milestone in Spanish rap, and her legacy has left a lasting impact on the music scene.

Gera MX (Mexico)

Gerardo Daniel Torres Montante, known as Gera MX, was born on July, 1994, in Nuevo León, Mexico. He rose to prominence in the Mexican rap scene through online platforms and became a prominent figure in the «trap» genre in Mexico. His sincere lyrical style and ability to connect with young audiences earned him a loyal following. Gera MX has released several successful albums, such as Los Niños Grandes No Juegan (2017), solidifying his position as one of the most influential artists in the current scene.

Santa RM (Mexico)

Christian Jesús Morales Rosas (Nogales, Sonora, Mexico; July 20, 1989), better known by his artistic name Santa RM (formerly Caballero MC), gained recognition in the rap scene in 2012 with his 2008 song «Me Gustas,» which topped the charts on MySpace. The unofficial video for the song reached 100 million views, and the official video currently has over 13 million views on YouTube. Today, he is regarded as one of the most influential rappers in Mexico and Latin America.

C. Tangana (Spain)

Antón Álvarez Alfaro, known as C. Tangana, was born on July 16, 1990, in Madrid, Spain. He initially gained recognition in his early adolescence under the pseudonym of Crema, and later as part of the group Agorazein before embarking on a solo career.

C. Tangana has gained popularity  for his ability to blend different musical genres, including elements of rap, trap, and pop. He has experimented with his style and achieved success both nationally and internationally with albums like El Madrileño (2021).

Rapsusklei (Spain)

Diego Gil Fernández, known as Rapsusklei, was born on February 25, 1980, in Zaragoza, Spain. He is a Spanish rapper known for his lyrical style and contributions to the genre. Rapsusklei has explored diverse themes in his music, from personal reflections to social and political issues. His ability to convey emotions and his impact on the Spanish rap scene have earned him respect as a prominent figure.

Trueno (Argentina)

Trueno, whose real name is Mateo Palacios Corazzina, was born on March 30, 2002, gained rapid recognition in the Argentine rap scene due to his impressive freestyle skills and powerful stage presence. He rose to prominence by participating in various rap battles and competitions, showcasing his lyrical prowess and charismatic delivery. Moreover, he became the champion of the renowned Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos in 2019, solidifying his status as one of the country’s top freestyle rappers.

Villano Antillano (Puerto Rico)

Villano Antillano has broken all barriers for trans women in hip-hop and continues to do so every day. And it’s not easy in a scene mostly composed of men, but La Villana already shattered expectations in her BZRP Music Session #51 with rapper Bizarrap, and since then, we haven’t been able to get enough of hits like «Reina de La Selva,» «Vendetta,» or «Besties – Remix.»

Paulo Londra (Argentina)

Paulo Londra, born on April 12, 1998, in Argentina, is a highly acclaimed rapper, singer, and songwriter who gained international recognition with his melodic and versatile style, which seamlessly blends rap with catchy melodies and contemporary beats. Londra got a great popularity through social media and streaming platforms, where his music quickly amassed millions of views.

His breakthrough single «Adán y Eva» (2018) became a massive hit and showcased his ability to create great hits with a commercial appeal. Despite his success, Londra faced legal disputes with his former label, which led to a break from music. However, his impact on the Latin hip-hop scene remains significant.

Duki (Argentina)

Mauro Ezequiel Lombardo, known as Duki, was born on June 24, 1996, in Argentina. He emerged as a prominent figure in the Latin trap and rap scene with his distinctive style. He gained popularity through freestyle rap battles and online platforms, where his music quickly garnered attention.

He achieved widespread recognition with tracks like «Si Te Sentis Sola» (2017) and «Goteo» (2018), showcasing his ability to blend trap elements with catchy hooks. Duki’s youthful energy, raw authenticity, and collaborations with other notable artists have solidified his position as one of Argentina’s leading hip-hop artists.

Aczino (Mexico)

Mauricio Hernández González, known as Aczino, was born on March 22, 1990, in Mexico. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and accomplished freestyle rappers in the Spanish-speaking world. His journey began with local rap battles, where he showcased his exceptional improvisational skills and creativity, and later he gained international recognition by winning multiple Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos championships, earning a big reputation for his rapid-fire rhymes and witty wordplay.

Aczino’s impact extends beyond the battle rap scene; he has released albums, collaborated with other artists, and continues to inspire aspiring freestylers and hip-hop enthusiasts globally.

ZPU (Spain)

Sergio Rodríguez Fernández, known as ZPU, was born on June 12, 1981, in Madrid, Spain. ZPU is an influential rapper and freestyler who has made his mark on the Spanish rap scene. His lyrical style and ability to improvise in rap battles have earned him recognition. ZPU has released successful albums like «He tenido un sueño» (2006), known for their deep lyrics and lyrical skill.

Snow Tha Product (Mexico)

Mexican-American rapper Snow Tha Product captivated us in BZRP Music Sessions #39 with her flow and hard-hitting rhymes. She emerged as an independent artist, capturing attention with mixtapes and online videos. Her versatile style, authentic approach, and impactful messages have established her as a significant figure in the rap and urban music scene.

Charlie (Hijos Bastardos) (Spain)

Madrid-born rapper Charlie is one of the most powerful pioneers in the Spanish hip-hop scene, providing inspiration to thousands of MCs worldwide. Known for his lyrics, clever rhymes, and an elegantly stylish approach with subtle punches in every verse, he’s one of the few anonymous artists with significant relevance in the scene.

Gata Cattana (Spain)

Gata Cattana was a talented Spanish rapper and poet, recognized for her deep and socially committed lyrical style. Born in 1991, she stood out for addressing social and political themes in her lyrics. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2017 at a young age, leaving a lasting mark on the Spanish-speaking rap and poetry scene.