By: Vall Flores
Decolonizing and reclaiming is War Of Icaza’s image. War of Icaza is a band that does not follow the standards nor likes to fit in. Their music varies from Hip-Hop to punk to metal to rap. They are a group of native artists with different racial backgrounds, but the group is from Northern CA.
This 17 song album titled Fuck 12 Since 1492 defines what resistance through music truly means. WIth songs like Nazi’s Had A Badge Too, Agua Florida and Protect & Swerve.
A little background on why the album is titled Fuck 12 Since 1492, well 12 is a number that refers to law enforcements. In the year 1492, Christopher Columbus’ voyage took place and here is where Columbus invaded land and enslaved people which he brought back to Spain.
This album is pro POC (people of color), pro womxn, and values culture. In the song Melanin lyrics like, “Brown mamas, this is for my black mamas..Embrace your skin, embrace your features, fuck the media we are perfect creatures,” acknowledges the beauty within POC. On a similar note, No More Mayo, “My momma used to say,”Jerry, you know that we got to dress white,” I said fuck that shit momma I’m wearing ponchos every night. I’m brown, proud and loud.” Here the vocalist of the band explains a reality many brown families experienced when trying to assimilate with American culture.
With the degrading of people of color especially with Trump’s election many want to scream, protest and let out their anger this album is a great medicine for that. It also alludes to many of the struggles ongoing today for instance, the Dakota Access Pipeline affecting many indigenous tribes, as well as the BlackLivesMatter movement, and other POC struggles.
War Of Icaza’s latest work is different from all their other previous albums and you can hear that in their beats, which are raw and unapologetic. They’re different. Each member offers distinguishing elements that make this album far from the ordinary. Different genres, are creatively mixed to create what I like to call: activism hip hop. We can hear these sounds in songs like Trap It Up and Masa Masa.
“This government never loved me,” a famous line in Xinga La Chota that expresses the injustices within the system.
War of Icaza incorporates indigenous language: Nahuatl, within their music and song titles which goes back to the theme of decolonizing. This album is looking at the role the new generation of activists play through a hip hop lens that demonstrates how revolutionaries proudly share their roots and their history.