Baby Rasta (real name: Wilmer Alicia) has been in the urban scene since its underground days in the early ‘90s. His duo Baby Rasta & Gringo helped put reggaeton on the map with classic jams such as “Mañana Sin Ti,” “El Carnaval,” and “Pide un Deseo.” Now, after over 25 years in the game, he’s taken Jon Z under his wing, making way for la nueva escuela.
“He was still very underground when I heard of him the first time,” Baby Rasta tells Billboard of how he discovered Jon Z. “Few of today’s artists know how to actually rap and Jon Z was part of that new freestyle crew in Puerto Rico alongside artists such as Miky Woodz, Darkiel, Pusho and other MCs who knew how to rap and chant,” he states, adding that he admires Z’s fresh lyrics.
The two Puerto Rican artists met for the first time two years ago when Baby Rasta joined Noriel, Darkiel, Messiah, and Lyan for the remix of Jon Z’s “0 Sentimientos.” Their chemistry, according to Jon Z, was so organic that they decided to collaborate more often and even released a joint album in 2019 called Voodoo.
“We decided to release an album because our fans really enjoyed the bond that we had and the fusion of our voices,” Baby Rasta says. “Every time I’m with him, I laugh a lot,” adds Jon Z. “It’s something that goes beyond music.”
Billboard caught up with the two urban artists in Miami to test their knowledge of how well they know each other. See their answers below.
Baby Rasta, when is Jon Z’s birthday?
Baby Rasta: It already passed. All I can say is that there was a plant decorated on his cake, it was at the beach, and he didn’t invite me. He invited everyone but me that I love him a lot!
Jon Z: My birthday was on May 20.
Jon Z, in what year did Baby Rasta began his music career?
Jon Z: 1998? 1997? 1994? 1990? No?! Damn, I failed.
Baby Rasta: It was in 1993 when we released “Pide un Deseo”
Baby Rasta, what’s something that Jon Z always has in his bag?
Baby Rasta: It’s a beautiful plant that’s color green (draws a weed plant with his fingers)
Jon Z: That’s correct.
Jon Z, what’s Baby Rasta’s favorite food?
Jon Z: Yuca! It’s not yuca, man?!
Baby Rasta: How can you say yuca?!! I like stewed chicken and white rice.
Baby Rasta, does Jon Z have a nervous tick?
Baby Rasta: I don’t know if it’s because he’s nervous or he concentrates a lot but he’s always curling his hair, for everything!
Jon Z: Yea, it’s true!