Maykel Osorbo: the Cuban rapper who won two Grammys from prison

The Cuban rapper Maykel Castillo, el Osorbo, He was awarded two awards at the Latin Grammy gala last Thursday in Las Vegas, however, he could not attend the award for being imprisoned in a jail in Cuba. The song “Patria y vida”, a song in opposition to the Cuban government, was awarded as: Best Urban Song and Song of the Year.

What could have been a night of celebration among friends and family turned into controversy. Castillo is the first artist in the history of the Grammy Awards to win two awards and not be able to receive them due to being in prison. In addition, people close to the artist and his family have denounced that he is “in a delicate state of health.”

(Also read: The emotional speech of Juliana Velásquez, former Club 10, after winning a Grammy)

“Patria y Vida” the song performed by the rapper in conjunction with Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom, members of the duo Gente de Zona, and Descemer Bueno, has become for many people an anthem of struggle against the Cuban government after they exploded the protests in Cuba on July 11.

The song from beginning to end denounces the injustices of the Cuban government and calls for changes. “No more lies. My people ask for freedom, no more doctrines. Let us no longer shout homeland or death, but homeland and life, “says the lyrics.

In October of this year Anamelys Ramos, a member of the opposition Movement San Isidro (MSI), denounced that she learned that Osorbo was in a punishment cell for an audio that he recorded in prison in which the artist denounces the little possibility of having a fair trial.

“I am a political prisoner, yes, I am a prisoner of conscience, yes, and I am imprisoned in Cuba for a song that inspired a people,” said the member of the San Isidro Movement.

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Maykel Castillo Pérez, 37, is a rapper who has spent a large part of his artistic career denouncing the political situations in Cuba and is a critical reference in this country. He grew up without parents in a Havana neighborhood and began performing rap from a young age when he discovered that he had talent and a purpose.

Thus began an artistic career that changed his life. In 2018 he decided to organize a concert in opposition to the censorship of the so-called Decree 349, which sought to regulate cultural expression in the face of the new Cuban economic reality, for which he ended up imprisoned for a year and a half.

Lyrics of the song “Patria y vida”

And you are my siren song
Because with your voice my sorrows go away
And this feeling is already stale
You hurt me so much even though you are far away

Today I invite you to walk through my lots
To show you that your ideals serve
We are human although we do not think alike
Let’s not treat or harm ourselves like animals

This is my way of telling you
My people cry and I feel their voice
You five nine me, double two
Sixty years locked the domino

Bass drum and saucer to the five hundred of Havana
While at home in the pots they no longer have any
What do we celebrate if people walk fast?
Trading Che Guevara and Martí for the currency

Everything has changed, it is no longer the same
Between you and me there is an abyss
Advertising of a paradise in Varadero
While mothers cry for their children who left

you five nine, me, double two
(It’s over) sixty years locked dominoes, look
(It’s over) your five nine, me, double two
(It’s over) sixty years locking the domino

We are artists, we are sensitivity
The true story, not the wrong one
We are the dignity of a whole people trampled on
At gunpoint and words that are still nothing

No more lies
My people ask for freedom, no more doctrines
Let’s no longer scream homeland or death but homeland and life
And start building what we dream of
What they destroyed with their hands

That the blood does not continue to flow
For wanting to think differently
Who told you that Cuba is yours?
If my Cuba belongs to all my people

your time is up, the silence is broken
(It’s over) the laughter is over and the crying is already running
(It’s over) and we’re not afraid, the deception is over
(It’s over) it’s sixty-two hurting

There we live with the uncertainty of the past, planted
Fifteen friends on, ready to die
We raise the flag still the repression of the regime to the day
Anamel and Ramón firm with their poetry

Omara Ruiz Urquiola giving us encouragement, of life
They broke down our door, they raped our temple
And the world is aware
That the San Isidro movement continues, since

We continue in the same, security putting prism
These things make me indignant, the enigma is over
Ya sa ‘your evil revolution, I am Funky style, here is my signature
You are already left over, you have nothing left, you are already getting off
The town got tired of holding on
A new dawn we are waiting for

It’s over, you five nine, me, double two
It’s over, sixty years locked dominoes, look
It’s over, you five nine, me, double two
It’s over, sixty years locking the dominoes

Homeland and life
Homeland and life
Homeland and life
Sixty years locked the domino

Composers: Beatriz Luengo González / Descemer Bueno / Alexander Hernández Delgado / Randy Martínez Amey Malcom / Yadam González / Manzanares Yotuel Omar Romero / Eliexer Márquez Duany / Maykel Castillo


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Maykel Osorbo: the Cuban rapper who won two Grammys from prison