Obsesión (Cuban band)
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Alexey Rodriguez or “el tipo este” (that guy over there) and Magia Lopez are two members of the Cuban band Obsesion. They have been writing and playing music since 1996 and are considered to be one of the most notable groups of the hip hop movement in Cuba. They live and work in Regla, an industrial suburb east of Havana, Cuba. Recently the group also recruited Isnay Rodriguez or DJ El Jigue into the group. Rodriguez lives in Regla.
Alexey had been a breakdancer and a fan of U.S. hip-hop (which Cubans call `la moña'). He worked as a lathe operator and sculptor when, in 1993, he met Magia. She had spent four years performing with an Afro-Cuban dance troupe and had earned a communications degree before she too became a sculptor.
Alexey and Magia shared a hip-hop dream that had little to do with waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care. Writing, composing and producing for Obsession, Alexey has helped demonstrate hip-hop’s role as a legitimate expression of Cuban culture. Through his participation in a multidisciplinary arts project called La Fabri-K, he has provided support for up-and-coming rappers, encouraging them to interact with painters, sculptors, poets and dancers. Magia, meanwhile, has been an inspired participant in the debates that take place during each year’s Alamar Festival, advocating for women’s rights with particular eloquence. Obsesion has created many songs on black people’s culture and tradition and the complex world of racial relations in Cuba.
In addition to various Cuban hip-hop compilations, Obsesion has been involved in some more surprising collaborations. They appear on jazzman Roberto Fronseca’s “Tiene Que Ver” album, as well as A ugusto Enrique”s “Cuando yo sea Grande”, both from 1998. The title of Obsesion’s first CD, which appeared in 2000, comes as less of a surprise, however: ”Un Monton de Cosas” (“A Pile of Things”) hints at the diversity of Alexey and Magia’s interests. In 2003, they embarked on a month-long tour of the United States, culminating in a historical performance at the Apollo Theatre, sharing the stage with The Roots, with a fan base including Harry Belafonte, Afrika Bambaata and Mos Def.
In 2006, they attended the World Social Forum in Venezuela and performed at the Festival of Hip-Hop to Fight Against Aids. In 2011, the band released the album El Disco Negro de Obsesión, in MP3 format and in a singular and creative physical edition. In 2011 the group also won an award in the Cuban “Lucas” music video clip competition and another one at the Cubadisco awards in the category of rap music for their new recording El Disco Negro. This is the second year that they won in Cubadisco’s rap category.
Alexey and Magia are currently working on a new record to be released in 2016.
- Alexey Rodriguez
- Magia Lopez
- Isnay Rodriguez (DJ El Jigue)