The era of Oakland duo Los Rakas and their experimentation with the intersection of hip-hop, dancehall, and dembow rhythms has lasted for a decade now. That fact alone makes their romantic “One Dance” redo the most complex Views remix we’ve heard yet, with all due respect to the peak Canadian that is the Bieber version of Drizzy’s dancehall-inspired heater.
Earlier this year, Los Rakas explored their brand of musical cross-pollination with our own Eric Gamboa at SXSW. “We’ve opened a new door in urban music, but it wasn’t something we did intentionally. It was something that came naturally,” said Raka Rich, who said that the Bay Area mixture of Mexican and African-American sounds gave Los Rakas an advantage when it came to working with producers from across Latin America on their upcoming album. Raka Dun said the same factors made him versatile in the studio: “How are you going to ask me if I can jump on it? Put the instrumental on and lo montamos.”
And now their team tells us that our conversation (and the follow-up piece we published after SXSW) sparked the duo’s interest in lending their own style to Drake, who has dug into dancehall hard with recent releases. The track synths Drake’s piano line, adds an ending horn flourish, and ups Drake’s loverboy aesthetic by eschewing the original vocals for a story in Spanish.
Maybe the 10-year anniversary has Los Rakas meditating on their role in the hybrid they helped create. They were just tapped to perform at a White House event for youth leaders and appeared as a headliner at the 37th year of San Francisco’s Carnaval celebrations, further evidence of the group’s lasting influence as it heads into decade two of Raka Party.
Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla