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A pivotal figure in Los Angeles' urban regional scene, bilingual, bicultural rapper Jae-P was just 19 years old when he released 2002's Ni De Aqui Ni De Alla. The album channeled the thoughts of an entire generation of first generation Mexican-Americans in its title alone, while his lyrical style -- influenced by artists like Ice T -- combines gangsta-style rapping with decidedly un-gangsta lyrics that address social inequality and the specific realities of inner city immigrant neighborhoods. Born to Mexican parents (his mother was born in Guanajuato and his father in Colima), Jae-P was born in the crucible of Los Angeles, but he managed to stay on course -- and out of gangs -- thanks to his parents' support. He returned in 2004 with Esperanza, an album which blends hip-hop with elements of corridos, grupero and banda, and which is filled with lyrics that revolve around the importance of hope and unity within the Latino community.

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