Vico C, “The philosopher of rap”, reaches his 50th birthday

The Puerto Rican artist Vico C, known as “The philosopher of rap” and historic of that musical genre, celebrates his 50th birthday this Wednesday, half a century that he “always” visualized reaching despite all the falls suffered in his life.

“Every year that passes is an achievement considering all the evil that exists, illnesses or accidents that can happen,” reflected Luis Armando Lozada Cruz, the real name of this pioneer of Latin rap.

Vico C was born in New York, precisely where the hip-hop movement began and where he lived his first five years, until his family moved to Carolina, a municipality near San Juan.

Influenced by Anglo-Saxon hip-hop, which includes rap, breakdancing and graffiti, Vico C began to compose his first songs.

But it wasn’t until he signed up to perform in a singing competition organized by Puerto Rican producer DJ Negro that his talent and command of the stage came to the fore.

Vico C, at only 17 years old, and DJ Negro teamed up to release the 1989 cassette “La recta final”. The production included the songs “Viernes 13”, “El amor existe” and “Gusto, sexo y consecuencia” and the homonym of the production.

According to “El filósofo del rap”, age “does not make much difference” as a factor in being a gifted composer and becoming a musical phenomenon, but rather, he stressed, it has more to do with a person’s interest and talent.

After “La recta final”, Vico C released “Hispanic Soul”, which included the hits “Bomba para afincar”, “La inglesa” and “Dulce, sexy, sensual”, which was a great success.

This was followed by another album, “Xplosión”, which included the hits “Saboréalo”, “Cosa nuestra de barrio” and “María”.

But not all was good news, on a trip to perform in the Dominican Republic he suffered a serious motorcycle accident.

As part of his treatment, Vico C was given morphine to dull the pain and subsequently became addicted to that drug and heroin.

“Yes, I thought I was going to make it to 50, although along the way I could have died of a drug overdose,” he admitted. “But out of that fear I had faith that God wasn’t going to let me die and I always envisioned myself getting here.”

After the accident he had to perform sitting in a chair, which he describes as his first “comeback” to music.

Subsequently he prepared “Con Poder” (1996), but after the release he returned to drugs.

The artist, however, returned to the artistic world and at the end of 1998 released the production “Aquél que había muerto”, which includes another of his hits, “Tony Presidio”.

After this album, Vico C worked on his new production, “Emboscada”, which earned him his first Latin Grammy for Best Urban Music Album in 2003.

However, again, after the success came an accident on his way and shortly after receiving this award the rapper was jailed for six months for drug possession.

This time of incarceration he compared it with his half century of life that he celebrates this Wednesday, reflecting that being in prison “one gets used” to the days that pass, but now it is “the other way around”, he assures.

He dedicated his time in prison to writing and managed to compose ten songs for the album “En honor a la verdad”, which earned him another Latin Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Urban Music Album.

A year later, this father of four released the album “Desahogo”, in which Eddie Dee, Ivy Queen, La Mala Rodríguez and Gilberto Santa Rosa collaborated.

His latest work is “Babilla”, released in 2009, and which Vico C considers to be his highest moment in his musical career.

“It’s the best album I’ve done,” said the artist about an album that features collaborations with Arcángel, Yaga y Mackie, Wiso G, Gustavo Laureano and Andy Montañez.

Currently, Vico C is preparing to release a new album and even has saved a number of songs that he hopes to include in an album to be released once he passes away.

“I prefer to save them and have a guaranteed product with my family,” he said.

“This is not limited to a business of selling music, but a desire to change lives, and since that is on the agenda, well there is always a lot to do. It is a project that never ends and my music has been a tool not only to do good for people, but also for myself, for my identity and for society,” he concluded.

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