Hip Hop Hoodíos
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The Hip Hop Hoodíos (from Spanish judíos = Jews) are a multilingual rock en español/alternative rock and hip hop band. They are composed of Josué Noriega (born Josh Norek), Abraham Vélez, and Federico Fong (former member of La Barranca, Jaguares and Caifanes). Their debut EP 'Raza Hoodía' contains three songs based on different Latin styles as well as rock en español ("Ocho Kandelikas" being co-written by Juan Manuel Caipo from Orixa) and rap music; and two more rap-oriented tracks, including "Dicks & Noses." The full-length 'Agua Pa' La Gente' album is a leap in production values, and features guest artists Frank London (The Klezmatics) and Paul Shapiro (Brooklyn Funk Essentials). Even though the Hoodíos' approach is mostly humorous, unlike the 2 Live Jews their aim is also to provide innovative music. The group has collaborated with several Grammy-winning artists, including members of Ozomatli, Jaguares and The Klezmatics.
Music critics have long been challenged as to how to define the multiracial band. The Jewish answer to Los Fabulosos Cadillacs? The Latino respuesta to the Beastie Boys? From Latin funk to klezmer to cumbia to straight-up rap, Hip Hop Hoodíos are a cross-cultural phenomenon. The band is the only act in the history of recorded music to have co-headlined both the Salute to Israel Parade in Manhattan and the Barrio Museum in Spanish Harlem. The 2007 Hip Hop Hoodíos release ‘Viva la Guantanamera’ (a benefit for Amnesty International’s efforts to close Guantanamo Bay Prison) hit #9 on the iTunes Latino albums sales chart and #1 overall on eMusic. In recent years, the band’s music has been featured in a number of films and television shows including the Warner Bros Pictures release ‘Pride & Glory’ and MTV’s ‘Life of Ryan.’
Hip Hop Hoodíos was formed in 2001 by Josh Norek (also known to fans as Josué Noriega) and Abraham Velez, with production by Jason "Pakov" Poras. The members' shared Jewish and Latino roots (and a fondness for offending listeners of both ethnicities) led to the recording of the 'Raza Hoodía' EP. Released in 2002 on Norek's own JN Media label, the "Raza Hoodía" album sparked the underground hits "Ocho Kandelikas" and "Havana Nagila" and went on to sell 5000 copies. With heavy media interest and feature articles in the NY Daily News, NY Times and Newsday, the band sold out its very first show in New York City and regularly packed venues like Joe's Pub, SOB's and Makor. Later in the year, Hip Hop Hoodíos released the controversial video for "Ocho Kandelikas," which featured the group's infamous 'Hoodía Honeys' wearing bagel bras. The video went on to make history, becoming the first Hanukkah-themed music video to be added into heavy rotation on MTV Español. The clip was also named by Vh1 as 'One of the Top 20 Weirdest Hip-Hop Videos of All Time.'
The group's name was the brainchild of frontman Josh Norek, who originally came up with the idea for an act called "Hip Hop Hoodíos" (a play on the word judío, Spanish for "Jew") as a student contributor to Cornell University's humor magazine. "I wrote a parody of a Columbia House CD club brochure and renamed it 'Colombian House,' he told NPR in a 2005 interview. "All of the fake albums in the catalog had Latin themes. I named the fictitious collaboration between the Beastie Boys - who are Jewish - and Cypress Hill - who are Latino - 'Hip Hop Hoodíos.' The name just stuck around in my head, and when I finally met Abraham Velez a few years later, I proposed the idea of a real life Latino-Jewish rap group and we decided to go for it."
Hip Hop Hoodíos made their highly successful European debut with headlining shows in France in 2004 (with the same promoters who staged early breakthrough shows with Matisyahu), and have since visited France again for additional shows. In 2005, the group released its full length debut “Agua Pa’ La Gente” on Jazzheads Records. The record represented a sonic leap in production quality, and was produced by longtime friend and mentor Happy Sanchez (Los Mocosos) and mixed by Mark Pistel (Meat Beat Manifesto). "Agua Pa' La Gente" saw Hip Hop Hoodíos receive extensive critical acclaim from national media, including 3 NPR segments and positive reviews in SPIN, Blender and the Associated Press. The Village Voice even praised Hip Hop Hoodíos' lyrics as being "funnier than any Beastie Boys punchlines recently.” The album was supported with two music videos: "Gorrito Cosmico" and "K#ke on the Mic." The "Gorrito Cosmico" clip received heavy airplay on television networks such as MTV Tr3s, LATV and Mun2.
In 2007 the band released the 'Viva la Guantanamera EP' a benefit album for Amnesty International's efforts to close Guantanamo Bay Prison. The track "Viva La Guantanamera" represents Hip Hop Hoodíos at their musical creative peak, and was produced by Wil-dog Abers of Ozomatli. Guest vocalists on the song included the unlikely pairing of Kemo the Blaxican (of Latin hip-hop legends Delinquent Habits) and Loren Sklamberg of Grammy-winning klezmer band The Klezmatics. The EP also featured a remix of "Agua Pa' La Gente" by DJ Nino of Spain's leading electronic act The Pinker Tones.
Although the group has taken a touring hiatus due to the obligations of fatherhood and outside careers, they continue to record new music. In 2009, Hip Hop Hoodíos released a best-of collection entitled "Carne Masada: Quite Possibly the Very Best of Hip Hop Hoodíos" on Jazzheads Records. The album featured the new video and single "Times Square (1989)," an homage to the pre-gentrification Times Square of the members' youths.
- 2002 Raza Hoodía EP (JN Media)
- 2005 Agua pa' la gente (Jazzheads)
- 2007 Viva la Guantanamera EP (Nacional Records)
- 2009 Carne Masada: Quite Possibly the Very Best of Hip Hop Hoodíos (Jazzheads)