Lito MC Cassidy and the
Republic of Latin Hip Hop
8/28/11 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview by Dante
Puerto Rican rapper Lito MC
Cassidy is on a mission to unify the Latin Hip Hop world.
Best known as one-half of veteran duo Lito & Polaco, Rafael
Sierra has spearheaded a movement to unite Hispanic rappers,
and offer up and coming artists an opportunity to succeed.
With his first solo album
on the horizon, Lito has matured from underground MC to Latin
rap's street messenger. He speaks to LatinRapper on his
upcoming CD and new mission in this exclusive interview.
LatinRapper.com: By the end of the year, you're dropping
Historias de la Calle. What can you tell us about that?
This is my first solo album. The first album since I was
out in four years. I was solving some legal issues.
Personal issues. At the same time, I was reviewing after
so many years, trying to get contact with my old self. And
find me as an artist. It wasn't continuing just rhymes
and rapping, I needed a bigger point of view since I'm not the
same young cat.
This album captures all
that. The point that I'm at right now as a rapper.
That's why I call it storytelling, because it's social and
street, but still has a message on it. It still captures
what people know me from, street music. But it's from a mature
point of view.
Normally when people
think Lito y Polaco, they think of Maniatica Sexual or violent
music. So is this new album calmed down?
It's not more calmed down.
When I was young, I used to see violence as a way of
expression, making things my way. And now, I see it as a
social point of view where it's affecting all of us, know what
I mean? I see it as a point of view that a lot of people
live in the same state of mind that I used to have. But
nobody gets the time to tell them 'hey, there some other
opportunities.' People that have fame and money and have
things never get back to the ghetto where they came from to
say, 'hey, that's alright that you feel like that at this
moment, but there some other alternatives.'
This is not the same Lito
that will say hey, I'mma kill 20 hundred people. It's
hey, y'all killing 20 hundred people, but who is helping us?
We killing each other for stupid things. It will look at
young kids that you see talking like that. You think,
he's going through trouble. If he expresses himself that
way, you have to teach him to express himself in some other
You know, one of those
gangster flicks when you see the guy young, and he throws
punches, and he's very mean. This album, it's the same
cat, but grown up. He is intelligent on every move that
Was there a personal
change in your life that brought this attitude about, or is it
just Lito getting older?
No, it's a personal thing.
If I didn't have the opportunity to be off this four years,
I'd be saying the same thing. Once you have time to stop
and have time to think and hear what you're talking about.
I've been doing this for so long, people like it, but what am
I leaving for society? What am I leaving so people can
When you hear Tupac, you
think about 'Brenda Has a Baby.' You think about songs
that made an impact, that's why he was so good. In my
case, I'm saying maybe I never know when the time comes that I
have to die. But I have to leave something to society,
not only rhymes. I have to give knowledge so people can
see me in another point of view.
It helps to be
mainstream if you have a message, to get your point of view
out. So are you doing anything radio-friendly with this
Yeah. The way of
expression I have is that you don't have to say a bad word to
get across. I have songs for child abuse, for rape.
I don't talk about rape just to talk about it. By my
experience of all the kids and all the young ladies that have
come to me and say, 'I was raped, my father used to rape me,
Lito do a song.'
Because of the songs I did
about gangs and violence in the ghetto, people used to tell me
'do a song about this.' But when you see girls being
raped, kids being abandoned, child abuse, you want to say it
how it is. Because there's a lot of people that think
that's not happening. To make it a story so people can
feel the vibe of this person. Maybe how she's thinking
the first day she got raped, to the state of mind that she
wants to commit suicide. Young people are going to
relate to it.
People that know it's
happening, and they're not doing nothing about it, they'll say
I'm going to take a stand. Let me help this person out.
That makes me feel good, and I know people are gonna love the
tracks because it's deep. Instead of me saying how many
guys I can kill in one song. It's a song you won't
forget. If I'm gonna talk about how many guys I wanna
kill, I have to tell them why my mind was there, and why I was
thinking of killing this guy. Who got me there. There
are some songs I'm gonna wild out, because I come from the
hood, I know what they wanna listen to. But in some
songs, I made the presence of a more mature Lito.
Will there still be
tiraera with other artists, you beefing with artists in
Puerto Rico? Or are those days over?
One of the main things I
did when I decided to come back, was the Republic. Latin
Republic. The Latin Republic is a movement, it's all pro
Hip Hop. It's uniting all the best artists all around
the world of Latin Hip Hop, of the Latin community. The
last seven months have been incredible, you've got more than
70 top artists. You've got a bunch of new talent that
believe that uniting is better than fighting. I have
people that I've beefed with that are part of the movement.
One thing that I've learned
is that beefing is good, but it divides the public. When
I used to beef with Tempo, back in the day I had a big crowd
of fans. But once we go to a stage, I had it divided.
Let's say it was 5,000 people. 2,500 for me, or 2,500
for Tempo. Or a thousand for me, and more for Tempo.
When you get to the public fighting, the music isn't getting
across. And now in this era, when Latin Hip Hop is on
the scale that other music genres took over, it's time for us
to unite and make it stronger.
When you go to Chile,
Venezuela, I've been traveling to Spain, Hip Hop is very
present. But only for their countries. They do big
concerts, but they don't like the music from other parts.
'I can do better than this other part,' or Puerto Rico better
than Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo better than Chile. But
now, it's all about respect. If I get that message
across, and we get everybody to unite, I believe Latin Hip Hop
is gonna be unstoppable. It's already established in
every other country.
So is La Republica your
La Republica was a term
that I worked with my lawyers and agents. I said if I
wanna come back, I don't know how to sing Reggaeton. And
most of my tracks like Maniatica Sexual, was beats that I made
it Hip Hop, and they made it Reggaeton. Reggaeton had a
vibe since a long time ago, it's not the same. When we
used to do it in '99 or 2000, it was all about the dance.
It was more skills to it. Now it's like reggaepop,
everything is all about love, and you'll see the sexual dance
we used to have. I don't know how to do that.
And the sex appeal that
they ask for, you have to be looking nice and neat.
I'm not neat, and I'mma guy that talks from the street.
If I'm gonna come back, I wanna help all my other colleagues
from all around the world. Talk to the fans, and reunite
them, show them they have to respect other artists regardless
That was the ticket.
We made a phone call and called all the artists, each of them.
We invited them and told them what's the plan. To get
all together, I promote you, you promote me. I don't get
paid for the promotion, it's just showing love. The fans
understand it's just for love of Hip Hop. Once we did
that, from becoming a dream to a reality, it's not only my
child. It's everyone that loves Hip Hop. The
Republic is theirs, it's not mine. Me getting closer to
the fans, the fans having the opportunity to get closer to
their favorite artists.
In all honesty, longtime
listeners of your music like myself are probably surprised
that someone from Lito & Polaco has become a unifying voice in
Latin Hip Hop.
Yeah, yeah. That's
the best thing, when people ask me about that, 'you've been in
so many beefs, how can you be united?' I told them in
one of my songs, first you have to learn how to crawl, then
how to walk. The experience that I have with beefing,
I'm the one who knows by experience that it's better united.
If I get into a beef with
Santo Domino or Venezuela, even though they're stronger, we
get weaker so that other genres of music can come in. If
we unite, you get more powerful. You have Prieto from
Venezuela, Lolo en el Microfono from DR, and Lito MC Cassidy
from Puerto Rico. People who didn't know about Prieto
from Venezuela, now know about him from DR. The same
thing happens with people in DR. It was all free.
Everyone put in for studio time. If you don't have it,
I'll find it. If you don't have a guy that can make art
for the cover, I will do it.
I started in my
neighborhood. I had ten fans, and six were family members.
Once my music started growing bigger, I started from San Juan
to Bayamon. From Bayamon to Carolina.
And it started growing bigger til I got all Puerto Rico.
Now the format that I'm using for the Republic is Puerto Rico.
From DR. We already have Spain, Mexico, Colombia.
If we get all these people together, Latin Hip Hop is gonna be
in the place that it was supposed to be more than 20 years
Does this mean that
we're going to see some of that diversity on your upcoming
Yeah. I'm not only
preaching about it, I'm acting on it. If this is gonna
help the movement, I'm here. If you need something, and
I can help you, the Republic is there. We even opened a
www.larepublicahiphop.com where we promote all artists.
It's a 24 hour service. We have Republica Hip Hop on
So who are the guest
artists on the new album?
I wouldn't say who I have
until the company releases it. I can say that it's the
best album I have done in my life. It will show my
skills on rhyming, on putting words together, and my way of
thinking. More mature, but capturing everyone.
It's not like I'm going conscious and forgetting about the
streets, I'm going street conscious. It's my best
Can you mention who the
I have Noodles Productions,
he's a nice beatmaker. I have DJ Eric. One of the
things that I said, if I'm going to start all over, I'm going
to the roots. The guy who found me. Even though I
have differences in the past with DJ Eric, we fixed all
differences, said let's work. He found the real Lito,
the one that started.
So it took me a couple of
months and go back to the Lito that everybody liked.
When you do something for so many years, every year you get
weaker. So I had to go back to my roots. And DJ
Eric, since he was the founder, and the one who teach me most
of the things that I know about music. We said 'I want
you back, so let's work.' He got me back on track.
We got East Beat New York. I got Echo from Puerto Rico.
My first DJ Eric
Industry album, we're talking the mid 90's.
He was one of the founders.
That's back when we were
calling it Underground.
That was the name. I
used to say Underground, but then it changed to Reggaeton.
Reggaeton was different, but still catchy. But when it
switched to Reggae pop, then everything changed.
Somewhere between Vico C
and Big Boy, and what we have today, they didn't know what to
call it. It wasn't until 2001 that I even heard the term
You got it. Exactly
like that, between '99 and 2001, was the full transition to
So is Lito MC Cassidy a
Reggaeton artist, or a rapper?
Since I started, if you see
my whole catalog, I'm a rap artist. But that's one
thing. I'm a lyricist, and I'm a writer, I write songs.
So there's no limit for me, I can write songs for whatever.
But what I know how to do is rap, I'm a Hip Hop artist.
Would you ever do a
crossover album in English?
I have one song I can tell
you about, the title is 'Oh My God.' It's a song I did
in English, I always try to do some English tracks. But
I haven't thought about it. I think I have a lot of
things I have to cover, and skills I still want to gain in
Spanish, I haven't thought of doing a whole song in English.
You have a new video for
Respeto, you throw some Spanglish in.
Yeah, I have songs in
English that I do for myself, 'cause I like to practice.
Sometimes I show it to close friends and they love it.
But it's not something that I'm looking forward to right now.
Right now I'm focused on getting better on my Latin Hip Hop,
on my skills of rhyming.
So when is the album
We only touching two more
songs that we have to finish. We were in a meeting this
morning talking about it. Once we have these two songs,
we can deliver the album to the company so they can schedule
it, I hope before December of this year.
Sony is dropping it.
Sony always has artists
like Calle 13. Will you be on tour alone, or with other
artists to promote the album?
That I cannot tell you.
But we're going on tour, we're going to have concerts, that's
going to happen. We're already planning concerts for La
Republica. There have been a couple of shows that we
already booked for December and November. We're
practicing a whole new show, we're getting ready for it.
Not only with Lito as an artist, but with Lito y Polaco, and
artists from The Republic.
Are you from Carolina,
I'm from San Juan, Puerto
Rico. From Villa Palmera.
If Lito MC Cassidy had
never picked up a microphone, what would he be doing right
I'd be working in Burger
I'd be dead, one of two.
So music has been good
Music has been in my favor.
I haven't had a chance to work no other place, I've done music
my whole life. It's been a blessing. It's still a
struggle. For me to get good, I have to suffer every
day. It's going to be suffering 'til the day I die, I
feel so much passion for music.
I feel so much passion for
helping new cats. That's what I love, helping new cats.
A kid doesn't remember you if you treat them good, but they
don't forget you if you treat them bad. That's what I do
with newcomers, I treat them good when they start off.
Because you never know when they're gonna get big.
George Lopez does a
whole bit about how Erik Estrada wouldn't shake his hand when
he was a teenager. In Hip Hop, you always have to stay
on the up and up with people.
They taught me that when I
was really young. An older cat, he was a basketball
player. 'Hey Lito, you gotta treat everybody good.'
It has paid off every time. If they get big, it makes me
prolong everything I do. I love to teach other rappers
that, older cats, let's help the young ones. It will
prolong what we love, that is Hip Hop.
Everybody be competing
against each other. Who has a better promoter, who has
better studios, who has this and that. And it's a waste
of time, because we're killing what we love.
I'm with you.
I hope you get the words I
don't pronounce that good. I'm not too good in English,
this cable TV helping me out.
One thing that I want to
say, La Republica and Hip Hop is not about Lito. It's
all about all of us. We have graffiti artists, we have
people from the radio, we have everybody that loves Hip Hop.
It's about every other movement that can put a little piece of
sand to make this stronger. Whoever loves Hip Hop, we're
united, let's make this powerful. Maybe I'll get to see
it in my lifetime, but I believe Latin Hip Hop is going to be
in the place that it was supposed to be a long time ago.
In Hip Hop, you don't see a
lot of ladies. We as guys aren't giving them a chance to
come in and feel the love of Hip Hop. I've been in
concerts of 80,000 people. I can tell you less than one
woman [performer] was there. And that's a problem.
In Hip Hop you find love, hate, pain. So why aren't
women more involved in Hip Hop? That's why we're trying
to make Hip Hop a bigger place. Where everyone can
relate, not only guys or gangsters.
There's a lot of women that
love Hip Hop. They say that they'll listen to English
Hip Hop instead of Latin Hip Hop. Because Latin Hip Hop
is all about 'I'm gonna kill you. But nobody talks about
us, unless they sayin' they wanna f**k us.' We
have to stop that and give women the opportunity to get
Anything else you want
The best moment of my
career, my highest point, when I did Mundo Frio, Fuera de
Serie, my hottest songs was rap. So what happened to
everybody else? There's better rap than me, maybe
they're hungrier than me, but they didn't get the opportunity.
That opportunity can only come if all of us get together and
say it's time to unite, and make us stronger.
Lito on Twitter:
Lito on Myspace:
Lito on Facebook:
La Republica Website: