Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014


Center for Latin American Studies at The Ohio State University


This article examines the rhetoric of Mexican-American hip hop through the analysis of the music by the multicultural hip hop fusion band, Ozomatli, from Los Angeles. The objective is to examine how Ozomatli performs linguistic, epistemic, and musical-rhetorical border crossing that provokes cultural and social consciousness. As a cross-cultural site of analysis, Ozomatli embodies cultural mestizaje, mestiza consciousness, and mestiz@ rhetoric that illuminates social justice issues beneath surface-level beats and rhythms. Appointed cultural ambassadors by the U.S. government, Ozomatli navigates dominant systems of power while performing music that contests hegemony. Their mestiz@ hip hop draws from diverse musical traditions like banda, cumbia, merengue, ranchera and others while addressing transnational social justice issues of immigration, inequality, and revolution.


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