The story

Hip hop is one U.S. commodity that has made it past the trade embargo to Cuba.

Cuba has developed a homegrown rap movement, inspired by the sounds and fashions of U.S. hip hop. But what makes Cuban rappers different is that rather than celebrating bling, girls and guns, their lyrics address social issues in a country where free speech is tightly controlled.

Cuban rap began to surface in the 1990s, a grassroots affair, with songs recorded in rappers' bedrooms and distributed on cassette tapes.

The island's fledgling hip hop scene was given a boost in 1999, when it was endorsed by the government as "an authentic expression of Cuban Culture."

In the following years the government set up the Cuban Rap Agency (CRA) to promote the scene, as well as a record label, "Asere Productions," and a rap magazine called "Movimiento." Read full article »

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