Imagine it’s the year 2017 and authorities tell you that you won’t be getting electricity back in your house for months. Such is reality for Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, amid insufficient relief efforts from the U.S. government. Everyone from pro athletes to ad hoc citizen groups need to show up for PR right now. One example of the shape aid is taking: Puerto Rican singer and activist Taina Asili has assembled a group of high-profile artists of color on a compilation whose proceeds will go directly to rebuilding life on the island.
Money from Viva Puerto Rico is destined for the Center for Popular Democracy’s Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund, chaired by Iris Morales, a feminist Nuyorican who was already an established tenants’ rights activist when she became one of the first women to join the Young Lords movement in 1969.
The compilation’s big names, including Ana Tijoux, Immortal Technique, and Hurray For The Riff Raff, appear on the album with a variety of musical responses to the PR crisis. Talib Kweli and NYC rapper Chazmere linked up for the Molotov cocktail of hip-hop that is “And Repeat,” in which they lampoon conservative talking heads. (See: the “cockatoos” and “Fox News” rhyme.) Lila Downs hits a more vulnerable note with a tribute to persistent tears entitled “La Llorona.”
Viva Puerto Rico‘s tracklist also includes stars from the Caribbean, like Cuban hip-hop warriors Krudas Cubensi, whose “Todavía” speaks to the frustration and disillusionment over continuing inequality in their home region.
Public Enemy’s DJ Johnny Juice made a remix of Taina Asili’s “Sofrito” for the occasion. “As a proud Boricua from the South Bronx, I have family members on the island,” he says in a press release. “The spirit of my ancestors inhabit Borikén. To help rebuild the land of my people is a moral imperative.”
Viva Puerto Rico is available only in digital form via Bandcamp. The album can be purchased for $25. All proceeds will go to MariaFund.org, a coalition that includes organizations like Puerto Rico-based Taller Salud.