Los Rakas, Panamanian Hip-Hop Duo from Oakland, to Play White House

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Oakland's Los Rakas (Photo: Courtesy of Los Rakas)

Oakland's Los Rakas will be bringing their brand of bilingual hip-hop to the White House later this month as featured performers at a first-of-its-kind summit being hosted by the Obamas.

The Brioxy White House Summit for Innovators of Color, which will "convene 100 of the country's top innovators of color in their 20's and 30's working to build opportunity for young people of color" is scheduled for Saturday, April 30. And though the full lineup has not been announced yet, the agenda includes discussions about the Black Girl Magic, #BlackLivesMatters, the innovation economy and more.

Formed in mid-2000s "in youth centers of Oakland" by two cousins who go by Raka Rich and Raka Dun, the duo had their first hit in 2006 with "Bounce." The two described the song as being "PanaBay," a sound they devised that relies heavily on their Panamanian roots -- both have lived there at one point or another in their lives. (Their band name comes for a Panamanian slur, "Rakataka," which translates to someone from a poor upbringing or "hood rat," according to the Urban Dictionary.)

Since then, they have continued to incorporate other genres in their brand of hip hop, such as Reggaeton, Reggae and even New Wave; in 2014, they worked with '80s Pop rockers Blondie on a track called "I Screwed Up."

The band announced earlier this week they expect to release a self-titled album this year. The album would be the duo's sixth release and it is unclear whether it will be self-released or put out by a label.


Watch the video for Los Rakas' new single, "Raka Party," below: