In November, Guámpara, Cuba’s first independent urban music label, added to its list of releases focused on black empowerment with El Individuo’s latest EP, simply titled Soy. “Baila” is the first single from the release, and now it’s got a joyful video, which amplifies the song’s positive message.
“With ‘Baila,’ I wanted to make a dancehall song in my own way,” says the rapper born Rafael Bou Lemus. “I wanted to create a song where I could give you advice while making you move at the same time, with Caribbean sounds. But I didn’t want it to be old school dancehall; I wanted to make dancehall with elements from Cuban music.”
With that goal in mind, El Individuo delivered big time. “Baila” booms with the power of contemporary dancehall, and an intermittent, grandiose horn arrangement evokes El Individuo’s Cuban roots. But none of the track’s instrumental finesse can overshadow the rapper’s powerful lyrics, which invite us to take control of our bodies and dance our worries away, finding inner acceptance and ultimately becoming better people.
Its music video, directed by Amilcar Navarro, is the missing piece in the “Baila” puzzle. The song comes to life through a cast of diverse, carefree dancers in different places in Cuba, making daily chores seem like an excuse to enjoy ourselves and release stress. “Por eso baila como si nadie te estuviera viendo,” he sings, and it becomes an invitation we can’t refuse.
While we turn up to “Baila,” El Individuo is preparing his debut full-length and planning an upcoming tour across Colombia and the Dominican Republic for next spring.
Soy is now available on Guámpara Music. Watch our premiere of “Baila” below: