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Raquel Z. Rivera Hip Hop/Reggaeton Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 135

Scope and Contents

The Raquel Z. Rivera Hip Hop/Reggaeton Collection helps document Puerto Rican contributions to the creation and development of hip hop and reggaeton both in the United States and Puerto Rico.

A rich collection, highlights include an extensive audiocassette and compact disc holdings that feature rare and early recordings by “underground” and Puerto Rico based “reggae” artists whose work was a precursor to present day reggaeton. Moreover, the recordings are inclusive of Puerto Rican/Latino rap recordings also from the island and the U.S., as well as several insightful interviews with many of these artists. In addition, the collection also contains essays written by Rivera on hip hop and reggaeton, paper documentation on artists featured on the recordings, videocassettes and DVD’s of musical performances and magazines and other publications which capture the cultural and musical impact of hip hop and reggaeton on contemporary Puerto Rican and American societies.

The materials in this collection span the years from 1977 to 2005 with the bulk concentrating on the years 1995 to 2003. They consist of correspondence, photographs, flyers, clippings, writings, publications, videocassettes, DVD’s, audiocassettes and compact discs. The folders are arranged alphabetically and the documents are arranged chronologically. The materials are in both Spanish and English.


  • Creation: 1977-2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1995-2003


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers with some restrictions on access to the audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by Raquel Z. Rivera. For interviews within the collection, the copyrights are held by Rivera and her interviewees.

Biographical / Historical

Raquel Z. Rivera is an author and singer-songwriter. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and her areas of scholarly interest include popular music and culture, race and ethnicity, nation and diaspora, and the intersections between Latino and Africana studies. From 2006-2009 she was a researcher at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY.

She is co-editor of the anthology Reggaeton (2009) and author of the book New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone (2003). Her articles on popular culture have been published in books and journals such as Journal of the Society for American Music (2008), Latino Studies (2008), NACLA Report on the Americas (Nov./Dec. 2007), A Companion to Latina/o Studies (Blackwell Publishers, 2007), None of the Above: Puerto Ricans in the Global Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Resonancias (Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, 2005), Boletín Música (Casa de las Américas, 2004), among many others.

A freelance journalist, her articles have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, among these: Vibe, One World, Urban Latino, El Diario/La Prensa, El Nuevo Día, Claridad and Diálogo. She blogs on reggaeton

Her essays, short stories and poetry have been featured in journals, newspapers and literary websites, including Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana, El Nuevo Día, Claridad, Siempre, El Fémur de Tu Padre and The Latino Artists Roundtable webpage. She is working on her first novel titled Beba.

Recently, she received a grant from the Association of Hispanic Arts to complete post-production on her debut CD Las 7 salves de La Magdalena, a musical homage to Mary Magdalene featuring her co-compositions with cuatrista Alejandro Negrón.

A founding and current member of bomba group Alma Moyo, she is also a founding and former member of Boricua roots music group Yerbabuena and of Yaya, an all-women’s musical collective dedicated to Dominican salves and Puerto Rican bomba. She has performed with internationally-renowned Dominican roots/fusion artists Xiomara Fortuna and Luis Dias, jíbaro music music legends Nito Méndez and Alfonso Vélez, and various New York City-based Caribbean roots music groups such as Pa’ lo Monte, Palo Mayor and Kalunga. She has performed at SOBs, Satalla Temple of World Music, Lincoln Center’s La Casita Festival, Nuyorican Poets Café, Hostos Community College, Yale University and the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., among numerous other venues.

She is a board member of Latino Studies Journal and Los Pleneros de la 21.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she lived in New York City from 1994 until 2010, and now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


9 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


The Raquel Z. Rivera Hip Hop/Reggaeton Collection helps document Puerto Rican contributions to the creation and development of hip hop and reggaeton both in the United States and Puerto Rico. Highlights of the collection include an extensive audiocassette and compact disc collection, essays written by Rivera on hip hop and reggaeton and paper documentation on numerous artists.


The collection is divided into the following series:

I. Biographical and Personal Information

II. Subject Files

III. Writings

IV. Artists

V. Publications

VI. Photographs

VII. Audiovisual

Other Finding Aids

English / Spanish bilingual finding aid available, see External Documents.

Processing Information

Processed with funding from the Council of the City of New York.


Raquel Z. Rivera Hip Hop/Reggaeton Collection
Kimberlly Irizarry, Mario H. Ramírez and Melisa Ribas with the assistance of Amanda Bermúdez, Diana Saenz, Laura Torres and Nicole White.
June 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Processed with funding from the Council of the City of New York.

Revision Statements

  • February 2011: Revised with refined box and folder information.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora Repository

Silberman Building, Hunter College
2180 Third Ave. Rm. 122
New York New York 10065

About the Collections

Our collections consist of personal papers from prominent Puerto Rican artists, elected officials, social activists, writers, as well as the records of community-based organizations. Our largest collection, the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States (OGPRUS) Records, measures approximately 2,900 cubic feet and contains an extraordinary amount of information regarding Puerto Rican migrants and the government institutions established to assist them. The collections date from the 1890s to the present, and document Puerto Rican communities in the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, California and Hawaii.