In Oaxaca, you don’t just listen to Trap, there is also a small scene bubbling up in the dark, young people who come together to produce and experiment with new bases and rhythms. They organise gigs in bars and other venues. They throw parties where they launch their rhymes, sometimes sad, sometimes heated, but always shameless.
They upload their songs to digital platforms such as Soundcloud, YouTube or Spotify. They trade, buy and sell their digitised, catchy rhythms that they draft and sample on their computers. They record their fast and sincere songs in small rooms, enveloped in smoke, with the equipment they have obtained little by little: microphones and interfaces; headphones and monitors.
In the last two years, as the city has given in to its isolation, they meet to record wherever they can and play wherever a door opens; to rhyme their daily lives and not become sad in the loneliness left by social distancing.
They are mostly young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are searching for their own style and flow. They don’t just produce Trap, it also represents a point for meeting up and self-expression. Trap is a growing urban musical subgenre, born in the southern United States in the 1990s. Derived from Rap and Hip/Hop and characterised by a structure dominated mainly by triplets, as well as slower and more electronic bases, Trap is distinguished by the carefree use of autotune and repetition in its lyrics. Recently, it has also become popular in the Spanish-speaking world, with Mexico being no exception.
Some of the exponents of this fresh and emerging scene in Oaxaca are groups like ADIÓS AMIGOS and Fellas, and solo artists such as uPSEt, Darina, Brian Moon, María Mariana, Mangopunto, LÉPERA, Danny Pantano and Sosandra, among others.
ADIÓS AMIGOS: Crew and platform
It is the end of October 2022 in the Oaxacan capital. Carly, 21, is a nail technician in San Felipe by day and sings Trap at night. This time, on stage, she introduces the artists one by one who will perform at the new Estación Morelos cultural centre, during a concert that she and her group helped organise.
The atmosphere slowly warms up. The guests take the microphone and unleash their rhymes. The audience gathers, standing next to the stage, they raise their arms, they sing. By the time it’s ADIÓS AMIGOS‘s turn, or Krystyka, the special guest, people jump, sweat and scream. Trap flows among the youth who demand their dose of catharsis in this city.
Carly says that she started composing music two years ago when she was 19. It was a time of confinement due to the pandemic. She had been listening to Trap from South America, Spain and North America for a while and was exchanging discoveries online with her friends. She now listens to Nvscvr, Cutemobb or AQUIHAYAQUIHAY, for example.
She also acknowledges the influence that the local Rap and Hip/Hop scene has had on her – it’s a broad scene with long roots. “I’m sure I started making music because of rap,” Carly says. “I was very inspired, for example, by meeting Doma Press. When I was younger, I saw her rap hard in battles amongst all guys, and that leaves an impression. I respect her a lot.”
The group was born from a meeting between friends. Carly says that she began to get together with others like her, who were interested in making Trap, and they began to record some singles, each one on their own. This is how she met Bajo, uPSEt, Bruno Vasquez, and Wily. Together, they frequented a skate shop in the city where Sebastián (also known as Sebas:( ) and Pog also hung out.
Sebastián recalls that he met Pog while skating. Since high school, they have made collages, videos, paintings, drawings, clothes and music, with almost everything under the name ADIÓS AMIGOS. The band liked that name and ended up adopting it: Sebastián, Pog, ¡Carly, Bajo and Willy, all from Oaxaca de Juárez.
Sebastián describes it like this: “It was like a crew. I produced ¡Carly’s project separately, then the one for Bajo, and the one for Pog. But then, since we had released several songs, we said, well, it’s cool to make songs all together; we’re better off forming a band and calling it ADIÓS AMIGOS”.
At the end of 2020, ADIÓS AMIGOS MIXTAPE VOL. 1, was released with four original songs. In 2021 they put together SOURPATCH, a single with an aciduladito flow, and this year they’ll release their most recent EP: SUNNY SIDE.
Their objective, they say, is to continue producing music and open a gap, to generate spaces where this and other urban genres can unite and spread. They would also like to perform interstate soon.
According to Sebastián, “This is how we like to do things: with friends. Because you feel it when your friends put effort into it, it shows when things are done with love. These things are imprinted in what we do”.