Emerging in Southern California in the opening years of the 21st century, the new genre called banda rap is a style characterized by the fusion of the American hip-hop and traditional Mexican styles. Utilizing the tough attitude and production quality of popular hip-hop in music that is recorded with traditional country instruments - accordion, acoustic guitar and a brass section - banda rap is an improbable, but innovative genre.
Also known as “urban regional,” the genre materialized when two pairs of brothers released their debut albums in 2003: Presentan Z Banda Rap by Jesse and Jorge Morales and Proyecto Akwid by Sergio and Francisco Gomez, known collectively as Akwid. The latter was met with large-scale success, pushing the banda rap genre into the American music conscious with a Grammy nomination.
In recent years the genre has expanded to include the sounds of reggaeton and Caribbean music. Yet to establish a consistent identity, banda rap is an evolving genre that remains most popular among more recent immigrants to the U.S., who also comprise many of the genre’s musicians like the Gomez brothers. This fusion of Mexican and American music expresses the split cultural identities of young immigrants who grew up listening to the traditional styles of their parents’ native country and the popular hip-hop of their adoptive homeland.