The Garifuna people, or the Garinagu, the plural form of Garifuna, are indigenous, mixed-race descendants of West African, Island Carib, and Arawak people who have settled in different parts of Central America, like Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Belize. Traditionally, their music consists of the beating of drums, the scratching sounds of the calabash maracas against its wooden surface, the loud trumpet-like sound of the conch shell, and call-and-response chants. However, this generation of Garifuna artists is crossing over into Latine trap.
Incorporating melodic elements of dancehall, hip-hop, and reggaeton, artists like KBP El Alien, King Jeka, and El Dollar have managed to mix different sounds and rhythmic beats to create something new. Naturally, Latine trap is an umbrella term used to describe various music styles. While we know what Latine trap music sounds like, these creatives are taking it to the next level with a different flavor of sound called Raspe. The subgenre derived from dancehall is composed of a sound that combines a single low-temp deep tone beat over a slightly sped-up two-step hip-hop beat.
Although the musical contribution of Black artists in Latine trap music is not widely recognized and is often cosplayed by white Latine rappers, like with punta music, the genre was created by Black creatives for Black creatives. As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s commemorate the Garinagu’s most decorated artists—both seasoned and on the rise—dominating Latine rap music and making it their own.
27-year-old Jose Marcelo Norales Ramirez, also known as Menor Menor, is among the most respected Garifuna rap artists. Originally from Triunfo De La Cruz, Honduras, he set the international stage for contemporary Garifuna talent as an independent artist. Before signing to Farruko’s music label Carbon Fiber Music in 2017, Menor Menor had garnered a reputation for averaging 2 million views on YouTube for uploads of his songs “My everything,” “Triste Realidad,” “Good Luck,” and “Nadie te amara como yo.”
His admiration for music started at a very young age—a simple beat, headphones, and a single mic in his bedroom were all it took. His unmatched lyrical flow, ability to rap over any sound, and lively personality make him a dynamic artist. After signing to the label, he has continued to create record hits like “Sigo Aquí,” which garnered 1 million streams in its first 24 hours of release, as well as “Todo Estará Bien,” “Saque Otro Tema,” and his most recent song, “94.”
The 27-year-old El Dollar is an up-and-coming lyrical mastermind. Celebrated for his ability to tell stories through music, this artist is making bodies of work that move people while equally creating “feel good” songs. Originally from Punta Gorda, Roatan, he has managed to turn narratives into verbal artwork. After starting his career in 2021, his music began to gain traction following the release of “La Pregunta” and “Las Niñas De Ahora.” Now, he has racked up over half a million views on Youtube with songs like “Armazon,” “Caserío” featuring King Jeka, “El Mundo,” and “No Vayas A Hablar.” El Dollar is not an artist that lives for one sound; he is a multifaceted creative that sees himself beyond his biggest hits. His clean but elongated vocals transition smoothly to the sound of the beat, making his flow unique.
KBP El Alien
Originally from La Ceiba, Honduras, KBP El Alien has positioned himself as one of the most prominent rap artists in Raspe. Given the name “El rey del Raspe” by his supporters, he started his career in 2014 and has racked up over 3 million views on YouTube with songs like “La Mujer Ajena,” “Tu Reloj, “Pull Up featuring El Dollar,” and “Que Viva El Raspe” since then. Currently, he is signed to Dinero Records.
25-year-old Key Key took over the music scene in 2020 with his single “Caramelo.” Originally from Triunfo De La Cruz, Honduras, his introduction to the rap game caught the attention and support of his community and an international audience. Since then, he has signed with the independent record label Legal Music Group and has proved himself to be a decorated artist in the making with back-to-back singles like “Blonda & Blondes,” “Hay Hay Hay” featuring Lelo, “100 Palos,” and “No Es Normal.” His style utilizes trap and drill beats with chopped reggaeton-like beats and rhythmic vocals to create the perfect sound.
28- year-old Missael Fernandez, also known as Kihn EstyloCaro, is dominating his lane and sticking to it. Originally from Corozal, Honduras, his career started to take off in 2016 after creating music like “Karma,” “No Creo En El Amor,” “Contigo,” and “Gavilanes.” Throughout his career, he has racked up millions of views on YouTube as an independent artist with songs like “Forever Lion.” Lil Boy’s authenticity and ability to create hits and visuals that set the scene for the story speak to his creativity and diversity as an artist.