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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Watch: Oakland's Los Rakas Offer a Chilling Look at the Immigrant Experience in "Sueño Americano"

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 2:36 PM

click to enlarge los_rakas_sueno_americano.jpg

That the immigrant experience in the U.S. is not always, or often, what it's cracked up to be -- a fairy tale of moving, hope, hard work, and eventual success of the kind you hear at political party conventions -- is the subject of "Sueño Americano," the new single and video from Oakland's Los Rakas. These two should know. Born in Panama, Raka Rich and Raka Dun take their name from a Panamanian slur used to describe someone from the ghetto. Their latest single, off of today's major-label debut, El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo, tells how the hopes of the migrant can so easily be squelched by a system that offers little opportunity and even less concern. "Here, if you want something, you have to find it, and if you don't have work, you have to sin," they sing in Spanish. "'Cause the rent is high, the law is bad -- without papers, you're nothing." The video, directed by the Perez Bros., offers a frightening look at how bad the struggle can get. Watch it below, and read a translation of the lyrics as well. "Sueño Americano" is also the Latin single of the week on iTunes, so you can download it there.

Los Rakas' new album, El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo, is out today; they perform at the Independent on May 1. Here's a translation of the lyrics to "Sueño Americano":

These guys don't know anything about me - Nor do they know what it's taken for me to survive

Life in America is not what I thought - And even less how they think it is

Those who don't live here - It's hard homie, this ain't Panama

Where if you don't have something - The neighbor gives it to you

Here, if you want something, you have to find it - And if you don't have work, you have to sin

Cause the rent is high, the law is bad - Without papers, you're nothing

They don't treat you like a human being - This is a message for all of my people

(Chorus)

Hey nothing is like it was before - Things have changed - But you have to keep moving forward

I am an immigrant and they treat me - Like I am a criminal (Repeat)

The American dream - It's the American dream

That's how the American dream is - It's the American dream

The circumstance limits me - I can't go to college

Because I don't have my green card - I'm without a job and a negative mind

Doing what has to be done to get to the top - You feel me?

I'm not the same innocent kid anymore - America turned me into a delinquent

Hanging with dudes who rob and sell - Drinking, smoking, making trouble

And my mom is tired, yesterday she called me - She said she can't anymore

That all day she's praying to God - That it all goes well for me - And that I'll never go astray

And my eyes begin to water - She needs me and I can't even help her

Forgive me mother - Soon me and Rico will have fame and fortune

(Chorus)

Hey nothing is like it was before - Things have changed - But you have to keep moving forward

I am an immigrant and they treat me - Like I am a criminal (Repeat)

The American dream - It's the American dream

That's how the American dream is - It's the American dream

-- @iPORT


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Ian S. Port

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