A powerful triumvirate of lyricists, CHOC QUIB TOWN hails from Quibdó, the impoverished capital of the mostly-black, oft-maligned, and federally-neglected department of Chocó, on Colombia’s Pacific Coast. In what is virtually the Mississippi of Colombia, the African heritage of the residents, relatively un-integrated with the rest of the country, foments a profound but largely overlooked culture, while the scant resources sent to the region are stolen by corrupt officials and starvation, illiteracy, and narco-trafficking are rampant. Out of this struggle, of course, comes amazing creativity, manifested in Colombia’s world-class entry into the realm of hip-hop.
Having released their first full-length album, Somos Pacífico in 2007, CHOC QUIB TOWN—composed of the brilliant and stunning MC Goyo, dashing and energetic MC Tostao, and suave, smoky-voiced MC Slow—came out of the gate with a sound and energy warmly reminiscent of The Fugees, but delving into a broader Diasporic fusion of North American hip-hop stylings and Latin American, particularly Afro-Colombian, melodies and rhythms. The lyrics speak of an intellectual resistance to systemic oppression, hinting of a very understandable, “you better be glad we vent our frustrations creatively, rather than violently,” but at the same time offering an intimate tour of the Pacific region and its people.
The newest album, Oro (translation: that shiny yellowish metal that the conquistadors killed themselves and millions of others over), released last year and receiving muted attention in the States, roots the listener still further into the sound and images of the Colombian Pacific, especially with a lilting golpeao similar to the Spanish of its Caribbean cousins, while touching on race (“Prieto”), politics (“Oro”) and partying (“Rumba Sin Pelea”) from Quibdó to Kingston to Queens.
Buy. Listen. Hear. Then go see them live…trust: