Kings of the Castle

Rap duo Akwid represents a new generation of Mexican Americans

Before Proyecto Akwid put the group on the map in 2003, Akwid released an album called 2002 A.D. under the labels Banyan and 2-K Sounds, the former with EMI Latin distribution. At the time, 2-K Sounds licensed the songs from Banyan. Now Banyan has licensed the songs to yet another label, Aries Music, which is also distributed by EMI Latin. Though it went unnoticed when it was first released, 2002 A.D. is now being repackaged to satiate market demand for new Akwid music; nine out of its 21 songs will be rereleased with new production and guest appearances from other L.A. rappers -- Dyablo, Seven, and Mr. Sancho among them -- on March 9 as part of a new CD called Hoy, Ayer and Forever.

When the brothers began singing and rapping in broken, slang-ridden Spanish, they went back to their roots and silenced the critics who once accused them of mimicking black music. They still rely heavily on hip-hop beats, but by incorporating Mexican horns and percussions, they have created a distinctly Chicano style of rap. "The place where we grew up helped us mold our personalities," says Francisco. To him, all Akwid is trying to do is to encourage young Mexicans to be themselves. "A lot of people are afraid of saying they're Mexican, or feel embarrassed to admit they're illegal [immigrants]," he says. "By having fun, we're trying to tell them they're not alone in feeling those kind of things."

The platinum-certified brothers behind Akwid: Francisco (left) and Sergio Gomez.
courtesy of Univision Records
The platinum-certified brothers behind Akwid: Francisco (left) and Sergio Gomez.

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