Latin urban music is slowly shifting back to its roots, and it’s artists like Nino Augustine who are leading the way.
Born in San Miguelito barrio, Panama, the rapper and songwriter grew up admiring Afro-Latino pioneers like El General, Tego Calderon and Kafu Banton. When he immigrated to the United States, he landed in New Jersey, where he was exposed to artists like G-Unit and 50 Cent before settling in Atlanta in 2003, when rappers such as T.I., Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane reigned supreme.
The city has undeniably helped shape Augustine into the artist he is today. As a bilingual Afro-Latinx artist, he presents a unique bi-cultural perspective in Atlanta’s thriving music scene and trap community. Surrounded by the domineering creative forces of today’s biggest hip-hop and rap stars—from Migos to Future to Young Thug—he’s been able to carve out his own space by fusing together the best of two worlds, crafting a sizzling mix of southern hip-hop and Caribbean flavor rich with reggaeton beats and Panamanian plena.
Now rising as a pioneer in his own right as part of the new wave of Panamanian artists helping to bring Latin urban back to its place of origin, the up and comer has finally released his debut EP Me Toca A Mí (It’s My Turn). Although it’s the perfect soundtrack for hot summer nights spent partying with friends—fiery singles like “Activo” and “Sube” are sure to get anyone and everyone dancing—the collection is also a declaration, making a powerful statement about the urban scene today and foreshadowing where the genre is headed in the future.
Musical Notes Global caught up with Nino Augustine in New York City to talk all about Me Toca A Mí, lead single “Activo,” and more. Watch the full interview below.
Listen to Me Toca A Mí now on Spotify.