Alberto told me the following about Las Rehoyas:
“Las Rehoyas is a poor, humble neighbourhood, abandoned by the governments in power. It is a neighbourhood that has been marginalised and then treated as if the marginalisation had been voluntary. But even so, as I say in the song, at least for the people who live here it is a comfortable place, or at least I feel that way, where one feels relatively safe, at ease, and comfortable. You’ve known it forever and you feel that familiarity. But it’s important not to misinterpret those words as an ode to poverty. The neighbourhood deserves improvement. Its neighbours deserve to be taken care of. And we deserve houses that are not “tack rooms” and falling apart.
The neighbourhood was much more violent before when I was a child and a teenager. Now it is emptier. Drugs took their toll; many are in prison or in and out of it. Mobile phones have destroyed a large part of people’s collective life… but, as far as it goes, the neighbourhood is much calmer than before, but there are still conflicts and problems because there is still poverty, precariousness, and abandonment on the part of the public institutions.
The video and the song have been very well received by people who identify with it, but I’m sure also by people who see it from a tourist’s point of view, of something that looks beautiful to them from the outside and in an artistic format, but that they wouldn’t live here and that they don’t care about the bad things that happen there either.”
Las Rehoyas is one of those neighbourhoods, suburbs and peripheries that proliferate in every city of the Western world and throughout the Global South. They are the direct result of capital accumulation that incorporates marginalisation and enclosures, which typically characterise capitalist social relations. Here in Las Rehoyas conflate old political struggles and the new diaspora of hopeless immigrants… where the streets have become breeding ground for the fascism that ravages Europe today. Gekah’s anthem exposes the contradictions of such places, a neighbourhood, with its joy and miseries; but he treats it with affection acknowledging that what we are, is also the product of those human relations that eventually shape every periphery.
Alberto Gekah is a rapper from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. His political leanings are clear if you listen carefully “Orgullo de barrio” and the B-side of this record: “La doña y el conserje”, a song up-to-date. I am from the Canary Islands and a communist, I am very much an atheist, Alberto tells me with pride. The bourgeoisie is my enemy, he continues. His hip-hop is social, political… but sometimes is also intimate and affective. It depends on my state of mind, he writes. His career begins with “Mentes Divergentes” his band from 2007 together with Geño, Alhy and Migue aka Flako. Before that, there was a process of learning and consuming international hip-hop artists like 2pac, Eminem or Dr. Dre, the discovery of Spanish rap (Los Chikos del Maíz, Kase O., SFDK among others) and hip-hop made in the islands, where mi gente (my people) of A Rap Apart has earned a special place. Gekah’s rap has become harsh in some of his latest works… e.g. “Realismo Sucio” (“Tainted Realism”). The B-side of this recording, “La doña y el conserje”, has something of that. “Orgullo de barrio”, however, shows an affective flow that conquers every heart.