Copyright ©2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Even Venezuelans who muddle through economic trouble face another problem: some of the highest crime rates in the world. Two Venezuelans have had a hit with a music video that highlights corruption with the Venezuelan police.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

APACHE AND CANSERBERO: (Singing in Spanish)

INSKEEP: The rappers who go by the names Apache - or Apache - and Canserbero show themselves driving a beat-up old Lincoln, maybe from the '70s. They're pulled over at a checkpoint by cops that want cash.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

CANSERBERO: (Singing in Spanish)

INSKEEP: Their video "Stop" has been played 1.6 million times on YouTube. It strikes a chord in a country suffering severe crime and corruption. We heard about the video as it was released this spring. We were covering stories about Latin American crime at the time. So, we sat down with both rappers in the eighth-floor office where they work. They're low budget. They share space with an industrial design company, which makes giant posters and signs. And it was in this cluttered space that they planned a video on a subject Canserbero says is obvious to Venezuelans.

CANSERBERO: You just have to live in the country, and it's going to be enough.

INSKEEP: It's going to - that subject is going to come to you. You don't have to come to the subject.

CANSERBERO: Yes.

INSKEEP: Of course, it is traditional for rap lyrics to question authority.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

NWA: In the case of NWA versus the police department, prosecuting attorneys are MC Ren, Ice Cube, and...

INSKEEP: But while this decades-old American classic by NWA describes leaving police in a bloodbath, the Venezuelans have a lighter touch. Their video shows the rappers trying to turn the car around while police shine flashlights in the window. Something about the spinning car, and the increasingly annoyed officers, almost makes you laugh out loud. In real life, both men say they've been stopped and shaken down by police, especially Apache, who's darker-skinned and tattooed. It happened last week four times.

APACHE: In one day.

INSKEEP: In one day?

APACHE: Yeah, man. Yes.

INSKEEP: (Spanish spoken) You're special.

(LAUGHTER)

APACHE: (Unintelligible) going to know that he's a very special person.

INSKEEP: The rappers, ages 25 and 30, say police search for contraband like drugs, and then demand money to overlook it. Apache was once asked for the equivalent of $50 and his iPod, but plea-bargained to keep the iPod. Do you think, Apache, that the next time you're stopped at a checkpoint you might have a copy of this song? You can hand that over to the police officers?

APACHE: (Spanish spoken)

INSKEEP: We have given them music, he says. And some like it. 'Cause that was my next question: have you ever met a police officer who said, oh, I'm a big fan?

APACHE: Yes.

CANSERBERO: I'm sure it's happened.

INSKEEP: And in the video "Stop," the police are portrayed as crooks, but also as human. Graffiti artists disrupt the police shakedown by spray-painting the cops' van and then torching it. One of the frustrated officers shrugs - and then lightens a lousy day with a breakdance.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

INSKEEP: We're glad you're with us on this public radio station. You can continue following MORNING EDITION throughout the day. We're on Facebook. We're also on Twitter: @MorningEdition, @NPRInskeep and @NPRGreene. This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: