Here at Latino Rebels, we always love it when indie artists reach out to us about their work. Last week, we got an email from Freddy Flowpez, a Latino hip hop artist who recently released a song and music video to bring strength and hope to refugee and undocumented people struggling in the United States.
We told Freddy that we would check it out, and when we did, we asked if we could share it with our audience—because we loved the song so damn much. Freddy agreed, and soon enough, the “Somos Semillas” video was on our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The song, featured below and produced by Quincy Davis, shows Freddy dropping rhymes, accompanied by Jessica Pacheco’s gorgeous hook vocals. The video was directed by James Gonzalez, and if you want to support this work, give Freddy a follow on his Instagram or Facebook. His main website is here.
As we prepped the video for publication, we asked Freddy id he could share more about his work and his background.
Latino Rebels: Why do this song now? What do you want people to know about the song and why you did it?
Freddy Flowpez: It feels like there’s a war against undocumented people and people of color in the U.S. right now. Especially after the white supremacist shooting in El Paso against what he called the “Hispanic Invasion.” Also in the way that ICE and the Trump Administration arrested 600 Latino workers with no remorse, not even a week after the El Paso shooting. It felt like they gave the country no time or space to mourn and address the connectedness of the incidents. These two recent happenings were one of the major reasons I released the song, however, I had been writing and thinking about the song for the past two years.
In fact, I have written a few songs about the topic. In writing these songs I was influenced by: the big United We Dream protests in early 2018, the threats of building a border wall, the Migrant Caravan, the people and kids being held captive in detention centers, the ICE raids, the incidents mentioned above, the stories my parents told me about when they crossed the Mexico border and lastly, seeing the struggles my undocumented friends and family went through growing up in the U.S. In essence, I decided to drop this song now as sort of a Battle Cry and Song of Hope, not only for my people to stay strong in the struggle, but also for the attackers to imagine and see the humanity in undocumented people. Ultimately the takeaway of this song and many of my songs is peace, love and power to the people.
LR: Tell us about your background.
FF: I was raised in East Palo Alto (EPA), a small hood in Northern California. My parents are from Michoacán, Mexico. My mother was pregnant with me when she crossed the border. Fortunately, they both were able to gain citizenship when I was young. They’ve always done their best to keep my five siblings and me fed, clothed and sheltered. Growing up in EPA it wasn’t too hard to get into trouble cause it was all around me. There was alcohol, drugs, weapons and temptation literally two houses away from mine.
At the age of 15, I went to Juvenile Hall for riding in a stolen car with my cousin. Although I got into trouble a good amount, I managed to get through school and keep a decent GPA thanks to my mother’s sternness and an afterschool program I attended called City Team Ministries. I mainly went to the program to hang out with friends and because they had recreational activities (pool table, basketball, computers, etc). Anyway, the program was also Christian-based and they attempted to teach us the Bible and its verses, but we weren’t having it so the coordinator, who is still my good friend, brought a boombox with beats and encouraged us to write our own verses.
I was 15 at the time and have been rapping since. Being that trouble was so close to me, I couldn’t escape it living in EPA, so after an almost fatal car accident at the age of 18, I moved away to pursue my education in San Diego. Upon taking Chicano classes and getting involved with community activism, I became more and more inspired to create music about social and self-empowerment. Four years later, I graduated with a degree in Ethnic Studies and a Minor in Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside.
After graduating college, I worked a few years for couple of non-profits in EPA as a community facilitator and artist in residence. Then, I decided to travel and move again to Portland and then Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I am currently at and continue my work for social and self empowerment at a non-profit called Warehouse 508. At Warehouse 508, we provide youth and the community with a safe space to learn all kinds of arts and create their own events. I also host a monthly Open Mic/Talk Show where we bring in active community members to share their stories, speak on current issues and empower the youth to get involved and better their communities.