Olmeca is a Hip Hop Artist/Scholar/Activist
In Physical Form
Olmeca is the real thing. He’s a talented lyricist that has been compared to music greats Zack de la Rocha and Talib Kweli. He’s received accolades from Legendary Hip Hop radio show hosts Carmelita (The Wake Up Show) Sway (MTV) and Tech (The Wake Up Show), LA Weekly, La Opinion, Divine Forces Radio and many more. He has toured and performed with iconic bands like Ozomatli, KRS One, Dilated Peoples, Julieta Venegas, the late Joe Strummer, and Saul Williams, and has collaborated with Black Eyed Peas member Taboo, and Mexico legends La Maldita Vecindad. He has toured the Mexico, London, Spain, Canada and almost all corners of the U.S.
"Olmeca's performance is one of the best I've seen. I compare him to Talib Kweli. A real MC for real Times" -Vancouver Volume Series
“Olmeca is one of the most powerful lyricists and performers I’ve had the privilege to see. Based out of Los Angeles, Olmeca is respected by people all over the world. “ - Mass Frequency (Chicago)
“Olmeca breaks barriers with good music and a good message. While music enthusiasts and hip-hop lovers alike value the production quality, beats and flawless bilingual lyrical delivery!” –Kesta Happening (Washington,DC)
Olmeca has provided Lectures and keynote at University of Notre Dame, UI, Chicago, Marquette University, Brown University, Cal State L.A. Pitzer College, Claremont College in California, Cal Poly Pomona, Northwestern, UT, McAllister, Everett College, WA, Ferris State University, MI, UW, Milwaukee among others. In addition, Olmeca has been a resident artist scholar at University of Indiana, Bloomington and UW, Madison.
Olmeca speaks on Latinx Identity and Power, Hip-Hop Pedagogy and Transformative Organizing.
Olmeca works on issues such as immigration, indigenous struggles, urban zapatismo, and youth empowerment. He was appointed artist - teacher to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, one of the most renowned cultural centers in the United States and has spoken alongside Zack de la Rocha, Rosa Clemente, Naomi Klein and Boaventura de Sousa to name a few.
The presentations serve as a bridge to understanding under-represented communities while challenging and provoking critical thought about mainstream narratives. They are intended to provide effective strategies to enhance cross-cultural understanding and cultural competence while empowering audiences through art and culture.
Olmeca’s interactive workshops are specific to groups and organizations seeking organizational capacity. Olmeca focuses on transformative organizing looking at global political climates, culture, and social norms. The workshops are fluid and tailored to each space. Each presentation consists of interactive dialogue that encompasses mutual reflection. Topics range from urban zapatismo, organizing on campus, communication development and cross identity movement building.
Olmeca has conducted workshops for small groups to large conference-style experiences. Regardless of size, Olmeca brings "aha moments", personal stories, and data points into clear view for participants helping them investigate questions of practice and how theory can be used to inform on-the-ground community work. Olmeca's workshops pull the lens back and forth allowing for the larger picture to be nuanced with questions of the everyday.
From youth centered projects and community organizing to campus environments, Olmeca's workshops span a wide breathe of spaces and places. His workshops are ideal for bring community together while allowing for critical dialogue, challenges and victory building to be worked through.
A Brief and Wondrous Bio of Olmeca
Olmeca is a Hip-Hop artist/scholar/activist. His work has been featured on CNN Latino, ABC, Fox, NPR, URB Magazine, and television series, “Sons of Anarchy.”
Olmeca grew up in the barrios of L.A. and Mexico, a reality that brewed his blending of music genres and cultural sensitivity. It also gave Olmeca an insight to realities too often hidden from U.S. mainstream narratives. Olmeca came out of the world famous Project Blowed, a hip-hop hub in South Central, L.A. dedicated to developing hip-hop artistry. According to Olmeca, “Project Blowed is and continues to be a mecca of west coast hip-hop. This is where you learn to rap and pay dues. How many MC’s you know battled for their name? I did.” With this in mind, Olmeca explored music he grew up with. His father was a musician in Mexico and Olmeca remembers going to rehearsals with him, sitting next to the drum kick while they practiced cumbias and ballads. He found the Chicanx music scene, which eventually changed his cultural, political and music perspective. He became a member of the L.A. Latin soul & funk favorite, Slowrider a band whose lineage follows that of Ozomatli to Los Lobos.
Olmeca states, “some people knew about both communities. Yet, there was a disconnect. I decided to hold on to both. Doing away with one was like doing away with half of myself.” Through this, Olmeca built bridges, kept participating in both and became one of the most unique artists around. He manages to seamlessly infuse traditional music from Latin America, with 808’s, slap snares, and hard bass lines. This is complimented with an array of samples from Nina Simone to Mercedes Sosa creating a fusion of hip-hop that caters to both hip-hop connoisseurs and world music lovers alike. He does this in his production and with his live band.
Maintaining his truly unique sound, It is unapologetic and imaginative producing art that is rich in music and valuable in content. In doing so, Olmeca has gained the respect of his peers in hip-hop’s demanding and unforgiving underground scene, as well as, established names in the hip-hop and Latin Alternative mainstream music industry.
As a member of Acid Reign and Slowrider, Olmeca recorded 5 albums before recording “Semillas Rebeldes” (2006), “Notes” (2008), and “Counter Culture” (2010), “Brown Is Beautiful” (2013), and “Run The Joyas Mixtape” (2016) as a solo artist.
In 2005, Olmeca left the U.S. to live in Chiapas, MX home to the Zapatista movement. He became a bridge between organizations from the U.S. and indigenous communities in Mexico focusing on forced migration, movement building and cultural empowerment. In May 2014, Olmeca was part of a national campaign in support of the Zapatistas that included Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Junot Diaz, Cornell West, and more. In addition, he joined The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, during their “Fast for Fair Food” campaign in Florida in 2012.
He is currently working on a new album and lecturing as an artist scholar at universities throughout the U.S.
-Biography by Katrina Flores Girl Illa Tactics