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Ray Acosta and Wu-Tang Latino
7/30/05 - exclusive interview

Wu Tang Latino

With Spanish-language rap and reggaeton finding itself on BET, MTV and radio more often lately, several Latin-interest labels have popped up. Enter Ray Acosta, who recently created the Latin-owned Wu Tang Latino record label.

The label president and long time Rza associate took time out to speak with us about Wu-Latino in an exclusive interview. When did the idea for Wu-Tang Latino first come about?

Let me tell you how the deal came about. Some of the majors heard that I was looking for a label deal, ‘cause I worked on all those projects at UBO, so they offered me deals but I wasn't really feeling the ones they were offering me. I know Rza and his brother Divine for about 10 years now, so I met with them, and told them the idea about Wu-Tang Latino, Wu Latino as we call it now. And they felt it, and they said if you wanna do it, do it. They have their own creativity, free to do whatever they wanted to do, I wanted to do that, that's more or less how it came about.

Did you have particular artists in mind at the time?

Well yea, I had Los Yo Yai, they're an underground group that sold between 20 and 30 thousand units underground. Impetus, and Ramses, I had them in mind before I did the label, and they all wanted to work with me because they all knew about my past history. So I told them, I'm doing Wu-Tang Latino, you wanna do your own thing or come with me? And they said, "we'll go with you", and they're very very good artists.

Who else is involved in decisions involving the label?

I make all the final decisions with Wu-Tang Latino. But every time a decision comes about that's a little confusing, like a little bump, I always consult with Rza's brother Divine, because he has more experience in the corporate world. And we're partners anyway, so we talk before things get done.

And Ed Rosa's involved, right?

He does my press and media, he's director for media. He's a hard worker, very good guy, he makes it happen.

What's Rza's involvement in the label?

Rza is also part owner of the label too, him and his brother own Wu-Tang, so hooking up with his brother is hooking up with him. Rza gonna be doing some production work for us in the future, for us to do hip hop, we have a lot of things going on right now.

A few people have questioned whether the label's creation is an attempt to cash in on the latest surge in popularity of Latin artists and music. What's your response to this?

Its very simple, man. Different people started labels to do the same thing, but they weren't Latino. We are run by Latinos. This is our time, time for Latinos to stand up for ourselves. And I'm doing it, I'm the head here. The big boys offered me to labels to do the same, but I'm doing it here. Like when hip hop started in the 80s, everyone became a rapper or a hip hop label. Same thing now, but there's a demand now. ‘Cause if you notice reggaeton, right, you got Clear Channel stations switching from rock to reggaeton. When they flip like that, its tells you something. Hip hop is gettin' bigger.

Who are some of the artists on your roster?

Los Yo Yai, they are consist of NP Killah, Shown Black. And Fuego, that's one group. I got Impetus, whose hip hop is fire, he's like Jay-Z, Nas, and Pun altogether, but in Spanish, that's how nice he is. I got Ramses from P.R., whose a producer slash artist. Then I got Rooster, who's one of the youngest reggaeton artists from P.R..

Can we expect collaborations from other Wu-Tang Clan members?

Yes, I've a compilation CD coming out in a few months called Wu-Tang Latino: Quemando el Genero. We have some tracks from Wu-Tang, its fire. It's a great compilation, people listen to it and its like, whoa.

Are you looking for new acts, can people reach out to you if they want their demo heard?

They could reach out to me, but what I'm looking for is fresh, innovative artists, totally different than the norm. A different sound, different production skills, so when the competition goes right, we go left (laughs).

So is this label more reggaeton than hardcore hip hop?

Its reggaeton Latin hip hop. If you know Latin hip hop, its totally different than urban hip hop, its got a more tropical sound, Latin sounds in it, a bit softer. I do both, Latin hip hop and reggaeton, but believe me, all that's gonna change. I believe in a year or two, its all gonna be hip hop, Latin hip hop, reggaeton, under one umbrella.

How will Wu-Tang Latino differ from any other label?

My thing is, with Wu-Tang Latino, I wanna take reggaeton to the urban market, take urban hip hop and mix it together, so we can have both features on the same album. Like have a hip hop artist on a reggaeton track, or the other way around. That's what I'm looking to do.

Latinos are the largest minority and were part of hip hop history from the start, yet aren't that visible on videos or heard too much on the radio. Do you think you can help change that?

Of course, not only help change it. People are doing it right now. Daddy Yankee's doing it, Tego, Don Omar, we all moving forward. Like you said, you don't see them on MTV, but if you notice MTV just added an hour called Reggaeton and Rhythms. If they added that, it means we're coming, and they know we're coming.

How do you see the role of Latinos in hip hop changing over the next 10 years?

The next ten years... Latinos and hip hop, don't get me wrong, Latinos from the beginning we been here, supporting them. Remember the Blacks and the Latinos, we come from the same hood and always supported each other. We gonna be bigger, we gonna be right with them, side by side.

You were V.P. of marketing over at Urban Box Office -

VP marketing of Latin music.

What brought you to where you are now?

My skills, I always wanted to do something different, I'm always looking for an adventure, a risk to take. Not something better, but something else to do to keep me going. When I was over there, I always did things different from anyone else. I always look at the competition and what they were doing, I always wanted to do something different. I'm one of the cofounders of Latin Flava, we were one of the biggest Latin websites when the big boom came, since ‘95. And then we became a record label, and I'm one of the cofounders of that, so I been in there for a minute.

From what I understand, you were part of the reggaeton movement for a considerable amount of time, is this true?

Yeah. Let me tell you, when I first started working reggaeton here in the states (versus Puerto Rico), in New York, I'm talking two years ago, I used go to radio and give them the reggaeton tracks. They didn't want to hear it, they didn't want to play it. Now, 70% of that station, its reggeaton, in the Calle its 100% reggaeton, I've experienced a revolution of reggaeton in the states.

What can we expect from Wu-Tang Latino this year?

Look out for the compilation, coming hard, coming different, new music, different music. Its got a little Wu flavor to it.

Anything else you want to add?

Let Latinos know out there it's our time to shine, we have to look out for one another and see how we can work together to make this happen.


Wu Tang Latino official website:

Wu Tang Latino on Myspace:        



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