Shitstem, the Argentine rapper who captivated Boric: “I sing about depression and feminism because they are part of my life”

Shitstem, only 20 years old, is one of the new voices of the rap scene in Argentina.

“How much fits in a meter fifty?” asks Juana Passeri in “Huyan”, one of her most powerful songs. The question is pertinent, because every time she raps Shittemthe name that Juana chose for her artistic alter ego -she does not consider herself a rapper- goes to the bone.

Joan is 20 years old. She was born in Mar del Plata, a city that she considers beautiful because of its architecture, but she is to “spend youth and old age, not everything that happens in between.” She very recently came to live in the Federal Capital, and she is impressed by the number of proposals she has. She laughs, thinks about what she says, but she also seems very calm, not rushing so she’s coming.

His young age and stature contrast with the forcefulness of his presentations, which respond to the firmness with which he stands on stage. In November 2019, Shitstem closed the festival of the 5th March of the Cap in Mar del Plata, was on stage in the local Pride March, in the cycle “We move the world” of the CCK, in the tribute to María Elena Walsh and in an act for the anniversary of the Malvinas war.

A few days ago, regarding the visit of the new president of Chile Gabriel Boric to Argentina, Shitstem was invited to participate in the concert of the Argentine-Chilean Brotherhoodwhere he performed the song “Mi nombre lo dice”, a tango song that draws indifference and lack of memory. The rapper managed to captivate those present, including a visibly inflamed Boric, whose melomania is widely documented on his social networks.

Music is also Juana’s natural context. She grew up in the recording studio of Facundo Passeri, her father, who accompanies her on almost all of her songs. She always listened to everything, although her rap especially caught her attention, even before she understood what value she had as a genre. the mini tomboy followed closely the movement of the men throwing rhymes in squares, the boom of El Quinto Escalón (the historic competition of freestyle that worked in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Caballito), to her own friends improvising, but she thought that this was not for her, although she put chips into the theory. She exchanged the graduation trip for a few days in New York with her parents. Juana needed to see in her own flesh all those ideas that she had read until she knew them by heart. And something clicked.

-When and how did you start rapping?

-I write from a very young age, but tales or stories, I didn’t think of them as songs. The first time I got together with those who now make up my group of friends, we were walking along the coast and I walked away and started writing with my cell phone. When they found out, they asked me to read it to them. I didn’t do it rapping because I was too embarrassed, but they listened to me and told me it was beautiful. Some time later my dad found a notebook with letters and encouraged me to record something. That’s how we made my first song “Innate Art”, where my musical uncles also participate, so to speak. At that moment I realized that I had support around me to do what I wanted, that they motivated me.

In the video for “Luro and Mitre” Some names of female artists appear, such as Taichu or Saramalacara. How do you see the scene? Do you think it’s growing?

-I mention them because I really like what RIPGANG does. It seems to me to be a group of friends who do very hotties, self-managed. And the three girls have very different styles. I start following every girl I see rapping, whether she has a song or a thousand, it doesn’t matter. Although there is still a long way to go, I think the situation is changing, because there have always been girls in rap, the issue is that they are made invisible.

Shitsem’s interpretation of the song “My name says it”, before presidents Alberto Fernández and Gabriel Boric.

-How was it to participate in a recital with so many important figures and the presidents of Argentina and Chile in the audience?

-Whenever I go to that type of event I leave with a full heart. I was very satisfied with my presentation. With Flor Buggiani [su manager y quien también canta] We try to turn what we do around, so that it wasn’t just a track and that’s it. That day we also went with the girls from Ruda, a self-managed group of women for women. I was accompanied by DJ Giza who does scratching and makes everything more beautiful. Sometimes I also call Protesta, who make clothes with a certain content. In “We move the world” I put on a vest with shorts made with fabrics from recovered factories and the faces printed on the fabric had the faces of the workers from that factory.

Protests, anxiety and rhymes

The militancy that she grew up with as a girl, when she accompanied her mother to the demonstrations, made her aware from a very early age about the reality that surrounded her, especially the injustices of the local order. Ella shitstem she raps in favor of public education, about inequalities (“This is self-management, it’s not a family business”), feminism and everything that she thinks needs to be pointed out. She protests, denounces and much, much flow. Problems that transcend geography also creep into the combative, as in HWGA, the song he wrote about mental health, something increasingly common and that appears at younger ages.

Without knowing the foresight of the case, Juana was always guided by books. Without references or family advice, when she needed some kind of support, she would go to a bookstore and ask for recommendations. She did it in her teens to mitigate the effects of bullying, she came back to inquire about anxiety and once again, and with the random factor through her (she was going to exchange a gift) she asked about hip-hop texts. That title (“Hip-Hop Generation. From gang warfare and graffiti to gangsta rap,” by Jeff Chang) worked as a catalyst for something that was about to explode.

Shitstem was the sensation at the recital organized by the Argentine government at the CCK for the visit of Chilean President Gabriel Boric.
Shitstem was the sensation at the recital organized by the Argentine government at the CCK for the visit of Chilean President Gabriel Boric.

-There is a constant debate about the veracity of the lyrics in hip-hop. What do you think of those who sing things that do not live? Would you do something like that?

-I would feel very uncomfortable. It’s gone from singing things I wrote a few years ago and now I think differently. So for my part, no. I think that if an artist sings about something and then has to prove it and it’s another story, he’s going to be harmed. On the other hand, some seek to build a character, that already has to do with art and how each one interprets it. I’m still Shitstem, but Shitstem is stronger than Juana, for example, I feel that.

-If we review the Argentine mainstream artists, almost all flex about the same thing, which can be a bit tiring. It is very striking that you have brought up a topic on mental health. The process must have been complex, both in terms of composition and the moment you uploaded it.

-It was very difficult. But I like to tell who I am and I thought I had already sung about social struggles, feminism. Having anxiety and depression is also part of me and I think it is important that we become aware. Later I received many messages from people who are in it, who thanked me for putting into words what was happening to them.

what’s coming

Shitstem considers that she does not have a “feature mentality”, the times she sang with someone else she was invited, but for now she does not dare to propose. And although there is something fashionable, he thinks that collaborations in music are what made it possible for Argentina to be positioned where it is today, because a song between two or more artists also implies the I link of the producers in the studio, of two teams, of two representatives, etc. For now he doesn’t speculate that way, his journey is more introspective, and that’s where the possibility of creating an album comes in.

Shitstem told Infobae that he will dedicate himself to perfecting his recording knowledge before releasing new music.
Shitstem told Infobae that he will dedicate himself to perfecting his recording knowledge before releasing new music.

-Is it going to be an EP or something longer?

-I do not know. Making a record is a re project, with many instances. I don’t want this “all now” time to consume me. In fact, it’s been a long time since I released a song and that’s disturbing me, but I try not to let it consume me. Now I’m trying to perfect how I record, for example. But I want it to be a piece that I’m proud of.

-Finally, I would like you to name the artists you are listening to and that may be a discovery for another.

-I’m listening to a lot of rap from girls from Spain. Tribade, who are two lesbian girls, Santa Salut, Sofía Gabanna, Elane, who in addition to being a rapper is also a lesbian and that’s great, Anier and Las ninyas del Corro. And from here the Soui Uno [con quien Shitstem compartirá escenario en el evento Nación Urbana] and Ana Tijoux.

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