Can reggaeton take root in the Rose City? Karma Rivera thinks so.
The local rapper, who identifies as Afro-Latina of Puerto Rican descent, sees Portland as an untapped market for the genre. “We have a huge Latin community,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know that.”
Rivera’s single “Down 2 Ride,” a collaboration with guitarist Fabi Reyna of local band Reyna Tropical, represents her fullest immersion yet into the reggaeton genre. Originally released in August, it now sports a brand-new music video courtesy of local director PHVZES.
Portland in winter doesn’t exactly radiate the “Caribbean party vibes” she associates with reggaeton, so shooting a tonally appropriate video for the track was a challenge. They ended up filming in a hot tub. “It was like 30 degrees out,” says the rapper.
Rivera spends much of the video sharing a very real joint with a cohort of friends and backup dancers. I’ve always wondered while watching rap videos if the process of shooting is any different once everyone’s stoned, so I asked.
“It wasn’t really a party,” she responded. “It was very professional. We were stoned, but people knew it was a job and that we had to make the video look good. They did just that, and I’m very grateful for my homegirls.”
Watch the video below.