Which Is Better? "Bogotá" by Gunplay Vs. The Actual City of Bogotá
Gunplay is one of those unpredictable people whose presence both intrigues and makes you nervous. His Twitter background photo features him wearing his ankle monitor, and he recently changed his name on the website to Adolph Sniffler, which isn’t not a cocaine reference. Is Gunplay serious, or is the joke on us? Like most things, the answer probably falls somewhere in the middle.
Regardless, you have to respect the 33-year-old rapper’s engaging spokesmanship for Colombia, a nation that gets a lot of flack from the media because of lots of unfair stereotypes about cocaine traffickers. It’s an oasis, and Gunplay knows it: Asked about the title of his forthcoming release on Def Jam, Medellin, Gunplay replied, “I just wanted to take it back to Colombia. It’s a beautiful country.” He also likes Colombia so much he made a song about it, entitled “Bogotá,” though that’s kinda-sorta an overt reference to coke dealing.
Recently, I spent two weeks in Colombia visiting my entire family, all of whom live in Bogotá. For those of you that haven’t been, Gunplay’s on point, to a degree. Colombia is a paradise. Vendors will sell you cheesy dough and salted green mangoes from street stands at all hours of the night. On New Years’ Eve my brother and I put down Colombia’s infamous liquor, Aguardiente, from to-go shotglasses that the nice cashier at the liquor store gave us along with our purchase. We sat on plaza steps amongst hundreds dancing in the square to salsa and cumbia. Fireworks burst from not-so-distant mountains, and at that moment everything felt straight.
Although I grew up as a first generation kid in central Texas, I seriously wondered what it would be like to live here as an ex-pat. No wonder Gunplay feels an attachment too. But how accurate is “Bogotá” by comparison to the city? Let’s find out!
The beginning of the “Bogotá” video primarily depicts Gunplay rhyming, simultaneously hanging out with a coop of chickens in what we presume is Colombia’s capital. Unless you’re in the rural ‘burbs, you buy your chicken at the grocery store like everyone else. I’ve been going back to Colombia since the age of two and I’ve never met anyone in Bogotá who has a coop of chickens chilling in their backyard. No one really has a backyard to begin with, unless you live on a farm out west. You could pretty aptly compare Bogotá as the New York City equivalent of Colombia, with sky-high rent and tiny apartments.
Chicken scenes are spliced with footage of a dude wearing sunglasses, perpetually talking to a phantom someone on his iPhone and shoveling heaps of food into his mouth. It appears to be a plate full of rice and beans. Soon Gunplay comes in and shows the gold-chained fellow an envelope full of fat stacks. Everyone is gesturing emphatically and wearing all white.
Like most artists, Gunplay plays heavily on the imagery in “Bogotá.” He likens the color white to Bogotá, mentioning white rims and blizzards. White’s traditionally the symbol of purity in literature, like Gandalf’s beard, but I think the only virginal beauty that Gunplay’s lyrics are referring to is that of pure, uncut yayo.
The camera pans to a lengthy shot of a woman clad in white jeans, and the camera focuses on Gunplay checking out her sizable booty. This makes sense. As a Colombian-American and as a girl I can say for sure that Bogotanas have hips that both do not lie and curve out humongous butts rather well. Colombia has beautiful women, many of which have extraneous assets. Rates of plastic surgery are steep, especially in Cali and Medellin, the latter of which has mural dedicated to Ross.
Pro tip from my cousin, though: don’t stare at them, because said buxom ladies could be the wives of mafiosos who can fuck you up just for looking at their mamis. Watch your eyes, or don’t.
Gunplay then woos the woman and whisks her away from the restaurant, gunning the engine in his snowy white Porsche. She is suddenly guiding a horse through plantain fields. There are palm trees in the foreground as Gunplay raps about Pablo Escobar. Medellin was actually the seat of Escobar’s cartels, and since Bogotá is way above sea level at 2,625 meters (yours truly passed out one time from altitude weirdness and woke up with an egg-sized bump on her ten-year-old head) there are no palm trees in Bogotá.
All blizzards and booties aside, Gunplay sort of gets it right. Bogotá is beautiful, but with that enchantment comes strife, which exacerbates the country’s terrible reputation. Despite the city’s heavy blanket of light pollution, being encased by the Andes somehow make you feel closer to the stars. You could even say elevated.
Paula Mejia is at the round table. Where your seat at? Where your plate, where your lobster, where your sea bass? She's on Twitter - @lightsoutpm