Rebel Díaz’ Rodrigo Starz: Empowering Communities with New FREE FAMILY PORTRAITS Album

I seldom receive albums that I consider instant masterpieces. Furthermore, albums that actually make me question the talent of the rich and famous, and simply restore my faith in humanity. Mind you, I’m not a fan of some commercial rap and hip-hop. And I outright despise all reggaeton. That is, because as a woman I feel the basic need of preserving my dignity overtaking my desire to, say, dance. There, I said it. Now, with hip-hop, however, I’ve always had, and will always have the highest respect for the genre. I live in the Bronx after all. 

I recently received a request to take a private listen to the new Free Family Portraits, by gone-solo Rodrigo Venegas, RodStarz from the duo Rebel Díaz. This duo is well-known for utilizing hip-hop culture as a means for liberation and self-empowerment in marginalized communities throughout the world.  As a soloist, he extends his mission to show us the true global power of hip-hop, without resorting to stereotypes and over-the-top antics. 

Free Family Portraits by Rodrigo Starz 

RodStarz’ political work goes beyond the turntable. He has taken stands against what he feels is the violent, racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-environment rhetoric spewed by some politicians, especially Ted Cruz, who recently visited the Bronx. 

Overall, this album is honest, balanced, musically rich and engaging. Rodrigo Venegas throws a ball to our community and expects us to play with it by simply organizing, producing and rebuilding community. He does so without being didactic, without writing down condescending rules. So, after this listen, it was imperative I sat down for a one-on-one conversation ‘a calzón quitao,’ with our Chilean brother. 

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