Interviews and reviews
East of Havana
D: Jauretsi Saizabitoria & Emilia Menocal
There is hope yet. In the northernmost curve of Cuba, our country's stranger to the south, the capital of rap throbs under the weight of a million motivating words. Soandry, Magyori, and Mikki Flow are three cogs in Cuban hip-hop collective El Cartel: a group of revolutionaries who fight with lyrics instead of weapons. Living in the ever-worsening Third World conditions of Alamar, El Cartel strikes out to inform, inspire, and positively affect the youth of Cuba. But it's not that simple. Up against a notoriously unwilling government, no means of financial independence, and a lackluster tourist community (to say the least), Soandry, Magyori, and Mikki Flow do what they must to make ends meet and continue on their inspirational journey. Soandry flows with intelligence rarely seen now in the states; don't be surprised if you hear his name again. Perhaps he'll join his exile brother in the city that never sleeps.