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On the bus in Peru to make rap

It’s called “carreo”, that is living the bus life in Peru. These guys do it by making freestyle rap on the bus. The Andes, Alpacas, shamans, Ayhuasca, perhaps the rainforest, and barely the desert; this is what comes to mind when speaking of Peru in the West. “Lima? They told me it sucks”.

In the past 20 years, Lima’s population has grown from 6 million to 10 million, making it the second most populated city in South America.  Though I live in the more historical city of Cusco, it is actually Lima that has introduced me to a whole side of the country I would have never imagined: the urban Peru, the mestizo Peru, where all the contrasts and cultures of a country with an area of over one million kilometres run into each other. Forget about the differences between the Italian regions; here Amazonian indigenous communities and rural Andean natives who can be found living above 5000m, all live under one centralised government. The neglecting state and economic despair seems to leave Peruvian migrants with two options: living a harsh life of badly compensated manual labour in their own communities, or migrating towards the cities  in the hope of giving their children a better future; a more Western lifestyle, where they will be able to forget their roots and the poverty. Mixed couples fall in love in Lima, and even more mixed kids are born. In the urban chaos, often victims of bullying for their indigenous surnames, youths seek new forms of resistance in their identity. This is how the young Peruvian Hip Hop scene develops throughout the 90’s, under the dictatorship of Fujimori. Still today, organised Hip Hop plays a fundamental role in the more marginalised communities of Lima, the urban jungle that continues to visibly invade the desert it is built upon. A complex system of transports, which mostly makes use of old minivans and buses, where the journeys are often accompanied by the presence of street sellers, artists and beggars. This is the first video which pays tribute to the more “underground” reality of Peru which I have gotten to know in these first months living here. 

video: Chiara Feliciani – Victor Zea 

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