Medellin was a nice place in the 80s if you could escape all madness around it. Fortunately, my father’s work for a german company allowed us to live in a comfortable situation.
Nevertheless, the happenings of this era were very drastic and lastly, my family decided to move back to my father’s Home town Haßloch, a small village in the south of Germany.
Just a few weeks later we would hear the news of Pablo Escobar’s death. Finally, hope came along that our city would rise from the shadows of the war.
After more than three staggering decades of civil unrest, corruption, and mafia wars our home deserved peace. Unfortunately, the following years would just bring more violence, more pain, more death.
Haßloch was very different though. Its little streets within its winery mountain landscape make it a very attractive place for a young family to grow a child in a secure environment.
I was lucky, I received a chance many others didn’t. I learned german quite fast and integrated well in school. I never felt like a foreigner, at least not during my childhood. Racism and Xenophobia are something I would meet later in life…
I learned about Colombian music and culture through my mother. She always brought the newest music, cooked Colombian food, and show me more about our tradition. I noticed Christmas was very different in Germany. In Colombia, it’s loud and full of colors and people outside. The cold was hard to get used to, but winter and snow were beautiful though.
Eventually, my friends and I got to visit our first Jam ever. I will never forget. Freundeskreis, an upcoming HipHop act from Stuttgart was headlining the event. Rap wasn´t a big thing back then, but now I was hooked.
My friend Simon and I started to buy vinyl records. We would travel to the next city every week to check the newest hip hop tracks, freshly imported from New York City.
HipHop got me into music, but I also loved the music I knew from home. Salsa, Cumbia, Vallenato was out tradition, but my German friends wouldn´t understand.
My mother and I were the only Hispanics in the whole region, so who would I ask about Spanish HipHop. One hot summer around though I would finally find new sources of music. My friend Martin and I worked half of the summer vacations in a local manufacturing facility.
It was a horrible first job, bending metal and piercing steel. The loud noise and the smell made me just want to finish the job and start our first trip. The first trip of two 15-year-olds without parental supervision. What could possibly go wrong?
Welcome to Miami - Calle Nueva York
Welcome to America. I called up my primos, who had recently moved from Colombia one of many Hispanic neighborhoods of Miami. They are both 4 and 7 years older than me, so they were supposed to take care of me. Which they did, just probably not in the way my mama told them to.
Of course first of all we would visit the Mall, cause that´s apparently where you hang out in Florida, and later we would walk through Miami Beach. Pimped cars, girls in bikini, an odor of food, sea breeze, and weed was laying in the air, while surrounding waves of diverse rhythms from Latinoamerica would make it into my ears, sparking a curiosity for these new styles.
This was how I met Dembow, which later would develop into what is now known as Reggaeton.
But then heard something over the radio. There was an event in a shopping mall nearby, where Puff Daddy would come to sign autographs! Wow, this had to be a sign, we needed to get there. My primo couldn’t stay with us, but he brought us close to the venue.
A huge line was standing at the entrance, but we didn´t care, we wanted to meet Puff in person. And that’s what we did, we saw him, from a few feet away. As we approached the end of the line waiting to hear the words NEXT from the organizer….
And then nothing happened. Puffy´s team shut everything down right in front of us and took Diddy away….no autographs for us.
Well, that was a bummer….

So meeting with puffy didn´t really work out, but we still had some weeks of adventure ahead. It was the time of Fast and the Furious, and everybody had these pimped cars, so the hangouts were the place to be. My Primostook us to a big one, somewhere quiet abroad.

There were hundreds of people gathered and dozens of drivers were showing up with their latest installments.

Then the races began. The noise from the exhaust pipes drowned out the heavy basses of the sound systems.

This was all really exciting for two 15 years old. And this was just the beginning. We had no idea a flood of certain car type was already on its way.

Wynwood Walls Miami Calle Nueva York

First I saw the lights of the helicopters flying over our heads, then my ears picked the coming sirens. Dozens of police cars surrounded the complete area let nobody escape. For now, we were trapped in what turned out to be a massive police operation.

A few hours later, after many arrests were made, finally we got away with a warning and drove back home. I think my primos didn´t go back to the races after that.

Anyway, this is the story of how I discovered Reggaeton, an experience that would have a massive impact on my life later on.

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