Music News

Gloria Estefan's Mother Is the Hottest Rapper in Miami Right Now

Last June, South Florida hip-hop made national waves when our very own Kodak Black and Denzel Curry nabbed spots on the coveted XXL 2016 "Freshman Class," an annual roundup of the most hyped up-and-coming MCs in the world. 

And if you grabbed a copy of that issue, we'll need you to follow these steps: First, go find it. Next, bring it into your bathroom. We'll give you a second. Ready? OK, now heave it like a javelin into your toilet and flush a thousand times because XXL somehow overlooked the hottest rapper not only in Miami, but possibly the entire game. Period.

Her name is Rapuela. She has an AARP card. And she's out here in these streets spittin' straight bars at all you jabronis.

Tea time with #Rapuela El Te de #Rapuela #likeaproperdiva

A video posted by Emily Estefan (@emily_estefan) on

If the 87-year-old Rapuela — legal name Gloria García Fajardo — looks familiar, that's because she birthed one of the most famous and beloved singers to ever emerge from Miami: Gloria Estefan.

Rapuela first came across our radar last week in preparation for a story about Emily Estefan (coming your way next week), the granddaughter/manager of Rapuela and a budding young artist in her own right. 

It was on Emily's Instagram account that the world first met all 4-foot 6-inches of lyrical fury that is Rapuela. And it's honestly shocking she hasn't collaborated with Drake yet. Her style is somewhere in between Pitbull and Rick Ross, equal parts smooth and ferocious. 

The Return of #Rapuela El regreso de #Rapuela

A video posted by Emily Estefan (@emily_estefan) on

As she lays down tracks on topics ranging from St. Patrick's Day to her tea preferences, her granddaughter Emily beatboxes in the background. 

But even before Rapuela was burning down Star Island with that hot fire, she was a certified badass. After the Cuban Revolution, García Fajardo fled with her family to Miami where she worked as a public school teacher, supporting her kids while her husband, a soldier in the unsuccessful 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, was imprisoned in Cuba.

In an Op-Ed for The Guardian posted in 2013, Gloria described her mother as a powerful and determined force in her life.

My mum is 84 now and still healthy and in great mind. She has a PhD in education, so it was very important to her that we go to good schools. When she came out of Cuba they ripped up all her diplomas and papers at the airport. They said, you're not even taking your education with you. She had to go back to school to get accredited because she wanted to make more money to send us to private schools, which she did.

These days, you can keep up with Rapuela on Emily's Instagram or by searching the hashtag #Rapuela. No word yet on when her mixtape might drop, so keep your ear to the streets.

Freshman class be damned. Rapuela is putting seniors on the map. 
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ryan Pfeffer is a contributor and former Miami New Times music editor. After earning a BS from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer