Her youth was spent running wild in the streets of Paris to a rap soundtrack. But at the age of 13, Ana and the fam moved to Santiago, Chile, where she learned Spanish and started writing her own rhymes.
Now two decades later, Tijoux's latest album, La Bala, finds her exploring the realities of modern life in Chile through songs like "Shock," which documents that country's student protests for free popular education.
Tijoux's first Miami show ever brings her to PAX on May 19. And last week, Crossfade asked her about free speech, 2 Live Crew, and cooking with Ruben Blades.
Crossfade: What are you fighting for with the Chile student protests?
Ana Tijoux: It's not that I'm fighting. I think education is for everybody in a society, and I think there is nothing more beautiful than students protesting for a free education and a better future. I don't think I'm fighting. It's an awakening of the country and it's about everybody.
Is there free speech in Chile?
Most Americans don't know anything about Chile...
How does the government feel about hip hop?
You should ask to them. I don't know.
What do the placards say that the people in the video for "Shock" are holding up?
I wouldn't like to translate just one. They all are very specific and have a lot of poetry and symbolism. If I say it, I wouldn't say it right. I prefer to tell it in the proper way, by translating each one, and I don't have time for that.
Why are the people wearing masks in bed?
They were [staging] a hunger strike at a school. That happened in a couple of schools in Chile. It's a way to protest. Everything in the video was real. Nobody is acting.
Have you ever played or been to Miami?
This is the first time I will play there. But I have been there.
You've done a lot of interviews where you talk about being influenced by J Dilla, Bahamadia, and Wu-Tang. What about Miami bass?
Yes, I love Miami bass. I listened to a lot of Miami bass music growing up. But to be honest, I don't remember any of the names.
What about 2 Live Crew?
Where did you first hear them?
I was in France. I think on the radio or something.
Did they play the songs uncensored with all the fuck words?
Yes, the same way as on the record. I think my impression is that bad words are more complicated in other countries.
What was it like to perform during the Santiago earthquake in 2010?
I was going to play. But the earthquake hit as I was going on stage.
Will you record in English?
What is the best album to listen to while cooking?
Rubén Blades con Willie Colón.
What Cuban hip-hop do you like?
Will you collaborate with them?
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Ana Tijoux. Saturday, May 19. PAX, 337 SW Eighth St., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 to $25 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-640-5847 or visit paxmiami.com.