Listening to the music of Mare Advertencia Lirika is a visceral experience that evokes movement in the mind, heart, and body. It doesn’t just spark a rhythmic movement but also an emotional and intellectual rupture. Her songs speak on the experience of underrepresented communities in Mexico without restraint, each sending poignant yet powerful messages. Mare’s voice delivers a potent string of poetic wisdom and uncomfortable truths of what it means to exist as an Indigenous Zapotec woman in Oaxaca, Mexico — a country that the rapper says seeks to erase her identity. It’s also a country where machismo is dominant in the culture, and femicide runs like wildfire, killing ten women on average per day. The beats in her songs carry her sharp lyricism, cutting into a myriad of musical genres from cumbia to reggae and norteñas that usurp the listener in one fell swoop –– it's nearly impossible not to dance to her songs.
Artists like Mare are seldom in rap, but the 34-year-old artist says it wasn’t hard to find her place in the genre, given its roots. “The history of rap is a mix of so many things that it gives room for anyone to fit into it,” she tells us over a Zoom interview from her home in the outskirts of a northeastern town in Oaxaca, away from the tourist attractions of the state. Her Oaxaca is not the Oaxaca that everyone knows, she tells us of the highly marginalized town that’s a hot spot for violence. Mare’s family has been there for 30 years — it’s where she tragically lost her father, and as a result, gained the matriarchy that shaped her.
“My father was murdered when I was five years old, so I never knew that masculine authority. Out of familial necessity, we had to keep pushing forward, so it was the women who took charge,” she recounts. This resulted in an unorthodox upbringing for the traditional Oaxacan family, one in which the women led. In other families of friends she knew, women weren’t allowed to speak up or have a say, but Mare’s upbringing was opposite to theirs –– and not by choice, but by circumstance.
“It wasn’t that [my grandma, mom or aunts] were being feminists and breaking the patriarchy,” she explains. “It was simply that circumstance made it, so they had to face life being the ones making decisions, and in doing so, they normalized the idea that women can raise and use their voice.”
“As a rapper who touches on subjects that are not so pleasant, it causes an impact, it causes a confrontation.”
Mare Advertencia LIRIKA
With this women-led upbringing, Mare didn’t fear the depth of her voice. She was a fan of U.S. rap as a teenager, but because of her language barrier, it wasn’t until she started hearing Mexican rap and rap in Spanish — like Caballeros del Plan G and Vieja Guardia — that the impact of the genre truly hit home. Hearing it in Spanish motivated her to begin rapping at just 16 years old, delivering a genuine representation of the genre rooted in class struggle and injustice by naming and shedding light on the countless issues women and her community face. While she’s extremely vocal in her music, she says finding her voice is an ongoing journey.
What she has found, however, are the very embers that spark her voice––like the misogynistic language used to silence women in some Latinx communities. “It’s exactly this ‘calladita te ves más bonita’ sentiment that makes us [women] go unnoticed,” she declares when asked about finding her voice in context to this commonly used phrase. “Calladita te ves más bonita” is a condescending saying encoded with machismo that translates to “you’re more beautiful when you’re quiet.” It’s used to keep women silenced and provoke shame when they speak up or use their voice, keeping women oppressed and vulnerable. It’s these outdated standards within Mexican culture that pushes Mare to ignite uncomfortable conversations with her lyrics. She adds, “As a rapper who touches on subjects that are not so pleasant, it causes an impact, it causes a confrontation [with the listener].”
The rapper’s revolutionary chants confront these machista ideals that have long been imprinted on women as a means to dismantle them. In "Y Tu Que Esperas," Mare encourages women to pursue their own lives and truths, asking, “What are you waiting for?” ‘Se Busca’ is a painful cry demanding the return of everyone that has been taken, kidnapped, or is missing. “Vivas se las llevaron, vivas los queremos,” she raps as a call to action.
Mare’s latest release, ‘Que Mujer’–– which debuts today on all streaming platforms –– is a new national anthem that meets the moment in modern-day machista Mexico with precision, passion, and prowess. Its probing lyrics ask the listener to interrogate their own identity in relation to machismo and how we, especially as women, participate in it. “Este mundo es machista y con eso debemos de romper,” she raps.
This newest single just further proves that Mare’s work, spitting bars that ring of revolution, is just getting started. Having grown up in a household powered by matriarchal grit, Mare knows how to carry the strong resonance of her voice. For her, breaking free from machista culture and naming the atrocities women and her community face through her rap is a necessary political act. Her voice gives life, and a face, to the current movement fighting femicide at-large and oppression in her Oaxacan community.
"My life context has taught me that I can use my voice,” she explains, “And maybe that’s a privilege of mine, one I shouldn’t have, but I trust very much what I have to say. I don’t fear what I have to say.”