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Feeding the chavos de la calle with love

Underground hip-hop album to raise money for Mexico City’s No. 3 Corps.

by Christin Davis –

Angel Resendiz

Just months after filming and producing a 48-minute documentary on life in Mexico City for the chavos de la calle [“street kids”], 24-year-old Angel Resendiz sought a way to provide these kids with practical assistance. He determined to create an underground hip-hop album, exploring politics, the voice on the streets, race and religion in affirmative language.

The album—The Thorns in My Flesh—is being recorded in May 2009. It includes tracks in Spanish and English and features popular artists in this genre including Braille (of Lightheaded), Sev Statik (of Deepspace5), and Blame One.

“These are people I grew up listening to,” Resendiz said. “I felt ridiculous contacting them to help with this project, but they were touched by the need and wanted to help. God had it under control.”

A well-known East Los Angeles producer, Adikt1, agreed to produce the album for Resendiz and has walked him through the entire process. A recording studio in North County San Diego offered their facilities almost cost-free so the albums 12 tracks can be recorded at professional quality.

“Hip-hop is at its finest when it can expose need,” Resendiz said. “I made the documentary to help do that and I’m hoping the album can further expose it.”

Need is everywhere
In 2008, greater Mexico City claimed a population exceeding 22 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere, according to the United Nations.

To be considered poor in Mexico, an individual must earn less than $140 per month in the city or less than $94 in rural areas. The World Bank estimates a slowing economy has pushed close to five million Mexicans into poverty in the two years leading up to August 2008.

Resendiz has his own family connection to Mexico City, where his mother was born and extended family members still reside. He grew up hearing about the poor conditions, despite his own hardship in America.

“I grew up in a bad neighborhood, but in one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” he said. “I didn’t have my own room, but I had a roof over my head. I didn’t always have three meals a day, but at least I had one. Some kids, like the ones I met in Mexico City, don’t have any.”

A two-time member of The Salvation Army Service Corps summer mission program, participant of Revolution Hawaii and two-year member of AmeriCorps, Resendiz is now an employee at Escondido Education COMPACT, in partnership with the San Diego County of Education, as a violence prevention specialist for 25 “at-risk” seventh and eighth grade boys, and is a soldier at the Escondido Corps.

“Mission work is not just helping other communities, but your own too,” he said. “I didn’t always know that. I used to think you had to be in a third world country to do mission work, but I figured out quickly that need is everywhere.”

Words to know
Resendiz hopes to release the album near the end of summer, but said it will definitely be out in 2009. He plans to initially make 500-1,000 copies and hopes to sell each at $10. The album will be available locally and online at accesshiphop.com.

All proceeds will go to The Salvation Army’s No. 3 Corps, which runs a children’s feeding program for the street kids, picking up abandoned children from the neighborhood and bringing them to the corps to eat.

“This is positive music that anyone can listen to,” he said. “I want it to physically help the kids in Mexico City, and I also hope kids here can listen to the music and relate to something. Maybe my words will help them know Christ.”

Watch a promo video of Resendiz’s documentary on YouTube (search “chavos de la calle”). Contact Resendiz at myspace.com/heaven1yhost.


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