Let’s be honest, no one is ever really sure whether to group Belize in with “Latinos” because of its unique background within Latin America. The only country in Central America whose official language is English, its colonial history has more in common with Caribbean nations like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas, than its neighbors Mexico and Guatemala. Still, Spanish is commonly spoken there, and also who cares about labels. At the end of the day we’re all fam.
More importantly, Belize is cranking out some rappers that have the clubs lit. Here are three artists you may not have known were of Belizean descent.
There’s nothing like a Drizzy co-sign to put you on to the mainstream. That’s what happened to Atlanta-based rapper iLoveMakonnen, whose DIY track “Club Goin’ Up on a Tuesday” Drake remixed in late August. It wasn’t long before the remix was literally everywhere, becoming summer’s sleeper hit and scoring iLoveMakonnen a major-label deal with October’s Very Own.
A little digging revealed that Makonnen is Belizean-American, raised mostly by his father, a first-generation immigrant from Belize. The More You Know.
I kind of want to be mad at O.T. Genasis‘ cocaine-tribute “Coco” because the lyrics are so dumb, but I can’t really deny the fact that I’ve played it 1,000 times (I literally can’t deny it, it’s all over my Spotify feed). The production is great, and if you haven’t been in a room of people yelling “if you snitchin’ I go loco/hit you with that treinta y ocho” in each other’s faces at 3am yet then you haven’t lived. Genasis doesn’t have a ton of music out yet, but if we’re judging him based off this viral hit then the dude is promising.
When I took it upon myself to investigate why Genasis’ pronunciation of ‘treinta y ocho’ was so on-point, I learned that the Busta Rhymes protégé is the son of Belizean immigrants — his birth name is Odis Flores.
Watch the video below, I guarantee you’ll never meet someone who loves baking soda more:
Ok so if you didn’t already know that Shyne is from Belize, you probably learned it when he was incarcerated for almost nine years after a shooting incident in a NYC nightclub in 1999, and subsequently deported back to Belize upon his release. The Diddy protégé and former Bad Boy artist also made headlines when he converted to Orthodox Judaism, changing his name to Moses Michael Levi. He may be banned from the U.S. but you can keep tabs on him via tuítel here.