Los Rakas

Boldly blending languages, cultures, and genres, the Panamanian-American duo Los Rakas fuse hip-hop, reggaeton, and R&B while rapping in both Spanish and English. Los Rakas were founded in 2006 by Raka Dun (aka Abdull Rubén Domínguez), who was born in Panama and came to Oakland, California as a teenager, and his cousin Raka Rich (aka Ricardo Betancourt), a native Californian whose parents emigrated from Panama. While "Rakataka" is an insult in Panama directed at street people or residents of the ghetto, the two artists embraced the term as part of their heritage, and started making music together after meeting at a family get-together. Calling their style "Pana-Bay" (citing their experiences in Panama and the San Francisco Bay Area), the two soon began appearing at clubs and youth events in Northern California, as well as recording and self-distributing mixtapes, including 2006's Panabay Twist and 2009's Panabay Twist 2: La Tanda del Bus. Los Rakas enjoyed a local hit with their song "Bounce," and as their reputation spread, Snoop Dogg invited them to appear at his 2010 Smoke Out Festival, where they shared the bill with Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, and Manu Chao. In 2011 they dropped their first EP, Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada, and the following year they delivered a special Valentine's Day gift for their fans, the Raka Love EP. In time, Raka Dun and Raka Rich found themselves collaborating with artists ranging from Major Lazer (on the 2013 single "Desorden") to Blondie (appearing on their 2014 album, Ghosts of Download). Los Rakas landed a record deal with Universal, and in 2016 the label issued the act's self-titled major-label debut. They delivered another set of romantic tunes, Raka Love 2, in 2017. ~ Mark Deming

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