Thursday, April 24, 2008
While the genre of Chicano rap is a fairly new phenomenon, Chicano music itself has a long, rich history in the United States. Chicano music first made an impact on the mainstream in the 1930s, with the emergence of Lalo Guerrero. Lalo put his own unique Latin spin on nearly every style of music he performed: swing, cha cha cha, salsa, mambo, blues, norteña, rock & roll, banda, rancheras, etc.
Though Chicanos of our generation may know him best for his silly parodies--like "Pancho Clause" & "Elvis Perez"--Guerrero was dedicated to shedding light on social issues revelant to Chicanos across America. On his nearly 700 songs, topics included Cesar Chavez's struggle for farm worker rights, the tragic death of Chicano activist Ruben Salazar, and the recent hardships of illegal aliens in the U.S. Guerrero actively performed until his passing in 2005--a successful career spanning nearly 70 years. Guerrero's Chicano legacy is carried on by his son, Mark, a singer/songwriter. Below is a tribute video to the great Chicano artist: