Monkey Black Laid to Rest Amidst Drunken Mob, Shootout, Promises of Retaliation

Eighteen days after being brutally stabbed in a bar in Catalunya, the famous Dominican rapper Monkey Black was laid to rest in his native Dominican Republic yesterday Sunday. The body of Leonardo Flores, as he was legally known in life, was held in Spain until just this past weekend pending a still-ongoing investigation into his murder, but two individuals of Gitano/Roma origin were fingered as the culprits.

During the time that it took for Monkey Black's body to be examined by the forensic police, and before it was cleared for transport pending no further studies, a 60 year-old Gitano man in Baladona, Spain was ruthlessly stabbed by a young Dominican male. Gangs often need little catalyst before they unleash a wave of violence, so it is quite worrying that a Tupac-like status has been placed over the deceased rapper.

The public imagination tends to make idols of artists who die brutally at a young age, and it appears that Monkey Black has managed to cement his legacy more through his exit from the global stage than through his performance on it. If anyone doubted the authenticity of the streets in Monkey Black's mambo, his death erased all of it. When his body arrived in the Caribbean island of under ten million citizens, his father made a plea that no alcohol, drugs, or weapons be brought to Monkey Black's funeral.
The pleas by Mr. Flores that his son be laid to rest in a traditional service went completely unheeded. Members of the Dominican police tried to keep the peace, but it was impossible given the magnitude and nature of the crowd. An overwhelming number of motorcycles tried, despite protests from the police, to enter the cemetery in Los Minas -- a neighborhood of the Dominican capital, where Monkey Black was born.
Before the issue of who could enter the cemetery to view the body was settled, shots had been fired. The police used tear gas to subdue the crowd, and miraculously no one was shot. Nonetheless, the cemetery was overwhelmed by fans of the deceased rapper. One individual was taken to the hospital for stitches after receiving a blow to the head with a rum bottle.

Dominican rap -- locally called "merengue urbano" -- is a genre know for espousing the "alofoke" philosophy. From the English "fuck it," alofoke is a philosophy which promotes the hedonistic side of life, the way of the bottle, the gun, and the short life. It is a philosophy which promotes the idea of a global stage, one where an individual must perform even in death.

Though merely an artist to many, Monkey Black is really a fallen idol to a new culture. Whether the culture of hedonism and death prevails remains to be seen, but it appears that the genre speaks to some core elements of Dominican culture, in the same way that rock and rap speak to certain elements of American culture.