When Bodega Bamz first started rapping in 2009, he took a vow that he would neither follow trends nor compromise his authenticity just to fit in.
Bamz carries his pride and faith on his chest, literally. His inspiration, his fashion, his lingo, and his persona all thrive off his deeply rooted Latino culture. Bamz is a proud product of his heritage.
He continues to display his cultural authenticity through his second studio album, P.A.P.I., (Proud And Powerful Individualz) which features the voice of his father Placido de Rosa.
The E 119th Spanish Harlem native allows his father to kick off the album with a simple, yet strong message, where he dedicates the project, “to all proud and powerful people.”
Certainly, this album is a timely arrival and stands as a response to the national political climate currently rife with anti-immigrant and anti-black rhetoric.
Recently Bamz sat down with Jesús Triviño Alarcón and Adelle Platon of Inside My DNA, a bi-weekly video podcast on Tidal. On the mic, Bamz opened up about his new album P.A.P.I.
Bamz weighed in on a variety of topics and spoke on the inspiration behind his new album. The DNA of Bamz is worth reviewing.
“The story of immigrants isn’t told in rap…The average man in America thinks that Latinos are slaves. They think that we just here to work and I’m trying to change that. We don’t reap the benefits from the work that is put in. To me, the word immigrant means hard worker and resilient. Immigrants built this country. Immigrants need to be respected. Being an Immigrant needs to be honored.”
Where’s the lie Bamz? This isn’t just narrative, it’s facts. Immigrants, for the most part, have been and continue to be a major staple in the contribution to the economy and development in American society.
Immigrants come from all walks of life, even though the languages and cultural customs share similarities and differences, the one thing that all immigrants identify with is “The Struggle.”
Bamz felt that the majority of people in this country are immigrants and by placing his father’s immigration card on the album cover he wanted to relate to the people who identify with the struggle of being a stranger in a new nation.
“I saw that no one has ever used an immigration card as an album cover before”
That’s my pops on the cover. He came to New York illegally from Dominican Republic for 1 thing. The American Dream. I know a lot of ya can relate. That’s why I represent who i am so hard. No regrets. I’ve been ruffling feathers since my name was first herd. As long as I have the truth as long as I can teach & inspire & influence. Ima keep pushing. This album could sell 100 thousand copies or just 1 copy. It’s still a classic In my eyes & that’s all that matters. Whoever listens I truly hope u enjoy and I hope it hits u in ur heart. 2 all my Proud & Powerful Individualz. Available on all streaming platforms. #PAPI is out now. (drops mic) 👏🏼👏🏼
Bamz is a product of his environment who has lived the life and through his experiences, he has gained wisdom from the streets. Still, his father wanted him to be a superintendent and didn’t want him to become a rapper.
His father pulled up to America in 1979 fastly learning that he had to work hard in order to chase the American dream. Bamz said,
“Drug dealers on the corner portrayed the image of a jefe. I learned how to be a boss on my own. I learned lessons while living on the streets to trust no one and never give up.”
During his interview on Inside my DNA, Bamz also addressed the TanBoys movement. The movement was influenced by Big Pun and Fat Joe during their Terror Squad days and the cultural group brings a fresh young feel.
To Bamz, Tan Boys is a worldwide thing, not just a “rap thing.” The group is dedicated to any Latino who’s proud and powerful. Any Latino who’s not a hater and any Latino who’s about uplifting their culture.
“The TanBoys movement is a movement of Latinos who are proud and powerful individuals who want to put our culture back on the forefront of this music. It’s a group of niggas tired of being referred to as ‘that Spanish nigga’ and tired of being unappreciated.”
On the album P.A.P.I., Bamz delivers buzz-worthy records like “Broke,” “Clout,” and “Jefe” and with Lil Eto being the only feature on “Uncut.”
Titles like “Proud & Powerful” and “Band-Aid” come off as the deeper singles. “Proud & Powerful ” really let the SMILF actor boast his pride about his heritage and lifestyle while “Band-Aid” is more of an emotional single that reflects his feelings about his current relationship status.
Overall, P.A.P.I. is a great follow up to Bamz’s last project Sidewalk Exec (2015). If you haven’t heard the project do yourself a favor and stream it on all of your latest platforms.
Great things are in abundance for Bamz and his camp. Look for Bodega Bamz in a city near you as he and Smoke DZA hit the road for the Money in The Bank Tour. Stream P.A.P.I. below.