A CubaNews translation, November 2005
Edited by Walter Lippmann

Demo Krudas: CUBENSI

By Grisel Hernández

Cuban female rap movement is getting increasingly stronger, as shown by several MC’s who, undoubtedly, have managed to become established in a field obviously ruled by the opposite sex.

Outstanding as one of the first groups in the history of Cuban rap music and boasting extensive acceptance at national level for their interesting creative proposals, Las Krudas faced up to this challenge.

As a rather frequent resource among rappers to spread their work, this trio presents rap lovers with an independent demo summarizing in eight songs some of the most well-known tunes from their suggestive repertoire. Olivia Prendes (Pelusa Mc), Odaymara Cuesta (Pasa Kruda) and Odalys Cuesta (Wanda) plunge headfirst into a reflection on their ethical presumptions using strong lyrics and styles assumed from a singularly esthetic viewpoint.

From beginning to end, the discourse in this demo introduces a proposal which, however recurrent as it is in Cuban hip-hop poetics, is based upon the group’s hallmark: airtight feminist nuances, where the defense of a rapper’s social standing, expressed from the viewpoint of his/her condition, stand out.

Lyrics extolling rejection of the manipulation of the so-called ‘weaker sex’ prevail in their songs, together with others designed to distinguish them with a more universal vision. For instance, ‘Vamo’ a vencer la dificultad’, the opening track that summarizes their proposal in its refrains:

         Sexo femenino, siempre relegado

         Pero Las Krudas el molde han quebrado /

         Vamo’ a vencer la dificultad...[1]

Or the tune ‘Eres bella’:

          Eres bella siendo tú, ébano en flor, negra luz

Eres bella siendo tú, cuerpo no es, única virtud.

Eres bella siendo tú, ébano en flor, negra luz

Eres bella siendo tú, inteligencia es tu virtud.[2]

Of added significance, ‘Pa’ ke te enteres’, ‘Usted’ and ‘A mi kiñongo’ send messages focused on the movement of ideas. In ‘120 horas’ they overstep their usual lyricism by touching with particular boldness on woman’s biological reality from the prerogative of her menstrual cycle, a regular topic when they perform.

Articulated from backgrounds and produced by well-known Cuban rap music creators, Cubensi’s sonorous diversity revitalizes the final outcome. Thus we find the name [producer] Pablo Herrera –already experienced in these matters– next to five of its tracks. He relies on the presence of strong, obstinate motifs and accents typical of this style and uses melodic-rhythmic resources taken from our African roots, his identifying feature. Also worthy of mention is the foundation made by Rebelde Malcons, who plays with the ‘sampleo’, or sampling, and the textual links to popular music to give us one of the best tracks. Moreover, there is also a brief appearance by Papá Humbertico.

One of this group’s attributes is its way of rapping, which makes it possible to single out each singer’s flow by pitch, inflexion and performing strength. There is obvious emphasis in the use of resources such as declamation and acting, reminding us even from the viewpoint of their sonorous result, the dramatics surrounding their public concerts.

Counterproductive to some on account of their lack of inhibition at overthrowing the ‘sensual and conservative’ feminine presence on stage, Las Krudas proposal becomes an authentic asset which, no doubt, reasserts the crudity of their message. Some rough edges remain to be shaped in this CD as an artistic product, for instance, off-key notes and a certain lack of accuracy in the choruses, for the sake of multi-textual work.

Nonetheless, Cubensi is a valuable result, not only for being a testimony of the work made by one of Cuba’s most significant groups –an all-woman trio, at that– but also because as singers and authors their songs keep forcing people to think, the sine qua non of their music of choice. This aspect, visible throughout their proposal, is all the more valuable for their determined commitment to women’s rights in their broadest sense and from Cuba’s rap stage.

Hopefully this project will soon become a priceless phonographic option for rap music lovers.




[1] ‘Feminine sex, always relegated / but Las Krudas have broken the mold / Let’s surmount the difficulty… (T.N.)

[2] ‘You’re beautiful by being you, ebony in blossom, black light / You’re beautiful by being you, a body is not the only virtue / You’re beautiful by being you, ebony in blossom, black light / You’re beautiful by being you, intelligence is your virtue. (T.N.)