Growing Up Latino With Bodega Bamz

It took him a while, but Bodega Bamz grew to love the tough, Latino skin he's in.  

Spanish Harlem's Nathaniel De la Rosa, a.k.a Bodega Bamz, never thought he would become a staple in the new generation of Latino rappers. The Puerto Rican and Dominican MC grew up loving carne guisada and, like many Caribbean folk, was reared by a God-fearing family. Although he wasn't always confident in expressing his orgullo, Bamz would soon learn to embrace his Latinidad, which manifested in his salsa-infused raps about running the streets of New York City.

"I wasn’t comfortable telling my friends I listen to salsa," Bamz admitted. "When I became 21, 22-years old and started taking rap seriously, I started fusing that sound with my music."

After releasing his breakthrough single "Don Francisco," Bodega Bamz began to make a name for himself in the Latino community and beyond. Bamz continued to rep his culture, most uniquely, under the guise of Tan Boys, a group he co-created with his brother Ohla. VIBE Viva connected with Bamz to get a deeper understanding of what it was like for him to grow up in a Latino household and what inspired him to live up to his own life mantra, "100 Keep it."

READ: Bodega Bamz Steady Mobs In Mexico For "The Plug (Part 2)"

Unforgettable childhood memory:
Getting whooped by my pops man, with the belt. Everytime I would get in trouble man. My father used to whoop my a** every time I cursed. He used to put picante, which is hot sauce, on a plate and made me lick that sh*t. I’ll never forget that sh*t but not in a bad way. I don’t hold a grudge about it. That’s just the Latino household."

Favorite home cooked dish:
My mom is Puerto Rican. She makes carne guisada, which is like a beef stew. She makes it with rice. It’s a popular dish for Latinos. That was my favorite sh*t. Carne Guisada with the papas and the rice. Other than that, my mom would also make steak and fries, but the Latino way.

Craziest Hispanic proverb as told by mami or abuela:
The craziest would be Revelations, the last book of the Bible. When you’re a kid growing up, like 12, 13-years old, man n*ggas start reading Revelations to you in the Bible and you won’t be able to sleep at night. Revelations is the end. They’re going to tell you everything that’s going on and about the devil. So that used to scare the sh*t out of me.

Che Guevara moment (greatest moment of rebellion):
Getting an earring. Getting a tattoo. I grew up in a Christian household so that stuff we weren’t accustomed to. So when I became of age, I wanted a tattoo, so I got one. I had to hide it from my pops for some time.

Proud & Powerful Individual (c) @_tanboy_luka

A photo posted by Menace TAN Society Coming Soon (@bodegabamz) on

I first saw myself as Latino when…
When I started rapping. I remember growing up back in the hood, and I wanted to be black. I didn’t want to be me. I wasn’t comfortable being me. I wasn’t comfortable telling my friends I listen to salsa. When I became 21, 22-years old and started taking rap seriously, I started fusing that sound with my music. At that time I was listening to Hector Lavoe and Willy Colon and thought ‘wow these people are powerful.’ The same way they got Ray Charles, the same way they got Elvis, we got Hector Lavoe and all those people. It took me until I became an adult to be proud to be a motherf*cking Latino. That’s why me and Ohla (my older brother) made Tan Boys because we wanted to speak to those teenagers who were like me that didn’t know where to place themselves. They’re afraid to embrace that they’re Latino and the Hispanic culture. And I know how it feels.

Chupacabra or El Cuco:
El Chupacabra man. That sh*t was the wave. El Cuco was like the dude in the closet. Chupacabra was like big foot. They had pictures.

Favorite Poor man’s meal:
It’s rice and eggs. Even mangu. It’s plantanos mashed up like mashed potatoes. That sh*t is like a poor man’s plate too. Put some cebollas in there or even go poorer: spam.

Household cure-all/remedy:
My mom is from this country and my father was born in DR. So only time I remember those kind of remedies was when I went to my grandma’s house. She’s from Puerto Rico. I would say instead of taking Theraflu, she would heat up Sunny D. Also when you get the rashes or burns, you put toothpaste on them. But heating up Sunny D will taste like Theruflu.

A photo posted by Marc Anthony (@marcanthony) on

Salsa, Bachata or Reggaeton?
Salsa. Right now, Marc Anthony is the king. He’s the only one really holding it down. But you gotta go with the godfathers of this sh*t like Hector Lavoe, Ruben Bladés, Celia, and Tito Puente on the congas. I was having a conversation with my man the other day. There are a few genres that will never go away, and salsa is one of them.

READ: Bump Joell Ortiz And !llmind’s ‘Latino Pt. 2? Featuring Bodega Bamz, Emilo Rojas And Chris Rivers

Telenovela guilty pleasure:
Maria la Del Barrio, Luz Clarita, Laura. But I remember being a young kid and Maria La del Barrio come on, I could vividly remember standing in front of the TV screen at five-years old just looking at her body and thinking it was fire!

Historical hero/heroine:
Don Francisco just because of the fact that he’s been on TV for 50 years for our people. That’s why I did the song to raise awareness because I know a lot of motherf*ckers they knew of him, but they didn’t want to talk about him. People like Pitbull and Marc Anthony are inspiring because they’re killing it in their field and they’re keeping it Latino, whether it be Pitbull always wearing suits or Marc Anthony doing what he do. I draw inspiration from everything man, and not just musicians but actors as well.

Life mantra:
100 Keep it. It’s a phrase we use amongst each other and it sums up everything. It sums up loyalty. It sums up being real. It sums up being one with self. It sums up being honorable. It’s always keeping it 100. There’s nothing over that. 100 being the best. 100 being A plus. Always be 100 wit yourself, your people, your women, and your business.

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B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill attend a ceremony honoring Cypress Hill With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Tommaso Boddi

It's About Time: Cypress Hill Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Cypress Hill doesn't always get the credit they deserve for their impact on hip-hop history, but they've been honored forever with a revered star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With a career of 30 years, the legacy of the four-man group of B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, and Eric Bobo (along with former member Mellow Man Ace) includes six platinum albums and 90s zeitgeist songs like "How I Could Just Kill A Man," "Insane In The Brain," and "Hand On The Pump." They released their self-titled debut in 1991 and the chart-topping follow-up Black Sunday two years later,  and have continued creating ever since, releasing their ninth and latest album Elephants On Acid in September 2018. Cypress Hill are considered West Coast rap legends, and the first Latino rap group to have multiple gold and platinum records. Anchored by Muggs' gloomy, gritty production and B-Real's nasal, charismatic rhymes, Cypress Hill is as much a part of rap history as anyone.

The group's ceremony included speeches from Latino comedian George Lopez and fellow West Coast rap legend Xzibit, who said 'it's about time' before detailing the group's illustrious career.

Xzibit pointed out Cypress Hill not only brought Latino representation in an industry that largely lacked it, but that they were staunch marijuana advocates way before today's growing legalization.

"The Grammy-nominated group showed us stoned is indeed the way of the walk. Long before the days of legal dispensaries and medical marijuana, Cypress Hill were advocates of that sticky icky icky oooh wee!" Xzibit shared. "...Cypress Hill are pioneers in their own right. Their accomplishments and accolades reach deep in the roots and history books of hip-hop, and today is another chapter in that saga. Yo B-Real, Sen Dog, Muggs, Bobo: you are our Rolling Stones, Ungrateful Dead, you are the West Coast Public Enemy."

Lopez insisted that out of all the 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, "there are none more important than the one we're about to unveil for Cypress Hill. There's a lot of actors, there's a lot of comedians, there's a lot of entertainers who are on this (Walk of Fame). But there's only one cypress hill, the first Latino hip-hop group. But to everyone who lives the American dream, not the last Latino hip-hop group to ever be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Cypress Hill's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is unveiled

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

Xzibit says "it's about time" that Cypress Hill gets their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

George Lopez says there are 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but "none more important than the star we are about to unveil for Cypress Hill"

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

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Cypress Hill To Make History With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

After 30 years in hip-hop, Cypress Hill is due to make history with their latest accolade. The multi-platinum selling group is set to become the first Latino American hip-hop collective to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The induction ceremony, presented by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, takes place on April 18 in front of Greenleaf Restaurant located on Hollywood Blvd.

George Lopez and Xzibit will help unveil the star alongside Rana Ghadban, president & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The free ceremony is open to the public and will be live streamed via

“We are proud to honor the first Latino American hip-hop recording group,” said Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame said in a press release. “They have been successful as a group for three decades and we know they will continue their success for many years to come.”

Cypress Hill, comprised of B Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric “Bobo” Correa, is noted as the first Latino-American hip-hop group to have platinum and multi-platinum selling albums with more than 18 million records worldwide. In the early 1990s, Cypress Hill became the first rap group to have two albums in the Billboard 200 thanks to the success of their self-titled double-platinum debut and their sophomore effort, Black Sunday. The album went on to sell more than three million copies and spawned the rap classic “Insane in the Membrane.”

Cypress Hill released their ninth studio album, Elephants On Acid, last year. Following the Walk of Fame induction ceremony, the group will perform at the famous Whiskey a Go Go club in Hollywood.


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Join us for our induction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

A post shared by Cypress Hill (@cypresshill) on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:36am PDT

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Miguel Drops Spanish-Language EP 'Te Lo Dije'

In an ode to his Mexican heritage, Miguel has released a five-track project that is the Spanish/Spanglish version of his 2017 War & Leisure album. Te Lo Dije features collaborations with fellow Spanish-speaking artists Kali Uchis, C. Tangana, Dante Spintetta and Emmanuel Horvilleur, as well as Mexican Mariachi girl band, Flor de Toloache.

Miguel's Spanish-language project is one that he has been teasing his fans with, hence the name of the EP, Te Lo Dije. The phrase means "I told you so" in Spanish and also happens to be the name of a song on the EP. On this collaborative effort, Miguel is mixing in his R&B vibes with his Latin ties, so for fans looking for a mixture of both, they can listen the Spanish version of his hit, "Sky Walker" featuring Spinetta and Horvilleur. Uchis can also be found on "Carmelo Duro" showing off her Colombian roots.

This is the 33-year-old artist's first Spanish-language project and he even said that he thinks he likes "these songs better in Spanish." The R&B artist took to his Instagram account to his express his excitement on Te Lo Dije, as well as give props to people who helped him through the process.

"FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR," he wrote. "TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español)."


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FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR ! TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español) I want to thank my cousin @yeyasmiles and @flordetoloache, @kaliuchis and @c.tangana and everyone that helped me translate these songs 🙏🏾. I think you might like these better in Spanish. Enjoy . Love you

A post shared by Miguel TV 📺 (@miguel) on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:22am PDT

Make sure to listen to Te Lo Dije here.

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