Light Up to Steez Poetics’ “Cripi (Esto Es Libre)”

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Puerto Rico is fast becoming the capital of LatAm hip-hop – which makes sense, given that the island has a unique claim on hip-hop culture. As we explored in Trilligan’s Island, last year’s in-depth look at the rap scene on la isla del encanto, boricuas were there from the very start of hip-hop in the South Bronx and Alto Manhattan, running with the very first crews (even if their contribution hasn’t always been recognized). Before the music even touched down elsewhere in Latin America, Puerto Rico was rap crazy.

And today, after a 10 year detour through reggaeton, it seems like we’re getting banger after banger coming from the island. It’s not just that there are plenty of verbally adept emcees, forward-thinking producers, or style-setting personalities; it’s that the scene is bringing its A game on all fronts. You only need one look at Steez Poetics to see this.

Here, the rapper demonstrates a freestyle where his love for words is evident in every nook and cranny; his delivery is slow, dextrous and deliberate. But though Steez is very lyrically focused, the beat is no slouch. Courtesy of Leaf Beach and RG, the soundscape is dark and smoky without getting too creepy (pardon the pun); there are enough layers to keep you hooked to your headphones, but it never gets overwhelming. It’s old school and new school where it counts.

Steez is slated to drop PR: Poetic Reason at some point in the future, and if “Cripi” is any indication, it’s sure to add to the amazing hip-hop saga his homeland is presenting nowadays.