Saturday, July 08
Los Rakas are a Grammy Award–nominated bilingual group based in Oakland, California, consisting of Panamanian cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun.


With one full-length album and a constant stream of mixtapes, EPs, singles, and collaborations released over the course of a decade, Los Rakas have explored every possible way to get the party started. From dancehall and plena, to hip-hop and house, and even bass music and reggaeton, the East Oakland duo has found a perfectly balanced equation to deliver their message of celebration and social critique. But on their sophomore album, Manes de Negocio , Raka Dun y Raka Rich have largely turned to trap to refresh their sound and broaden their vision.

After releasing El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo and their Raka Love EP on major labels, Los Rakas dropped Manes del Negocio on Delicious Vinyl Island and their own imprint, Raka Music. With half of the album’s tracklist leaning towards trap sounds, some may think they are riding the wave of Latin trap’s current popularity in the international music panorama, but they’re no strangers to working with these sounds; they’ve now just decided to delve a bit deeper.

After the intro, Manes del Negocio drops right into “Ganando,” a spacious trap number where they celebrate their career achievements. “Yo También” and “Otra Vez,” featuring Nicaraguan-American San Francisco rapper Youngin Floe, follow similar lines, but never sound boastful. Instead, they feel inspirational by showing pride in their humble origins – destigmatizing what “rakataka” means. “These songs remind me of the feeling I experienced when listening to Young Jeezy’s first album [Thuggin’ Under the Influence (T.U.I.)],” Raka Dun told Remezcla. But they still have time for some seduction (“Vamonos”) and complicated three-way relationships (“Secreto”), adding some variety to the topics and further displaying their flow Californiano.

Manes del Negocio’s poppiest moment comes with their single “Devórame,” with Amara La Negra lending her voice to this sultry anthem. Together, the three are on the forefront of Afro-Latinx representation in today’s urban music, so it makes sense to have them performing over a blasting reggaeton beat. This is the one track that directly ties in to the concept behind the album cover and the music it comprises.


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