Doc y White (formerly Cubanito 2002) is a Cuban music band that was formed in 2002, as their former name suggests. They released their first album, Soy Cubanito, in 2003. While the band’s origins are in hip hop and rap music, its genre today can be best described as modern reggaeton.
It all started in the mid-1990s, when its then three members, Haniel Gonzalez Martinez, Javier Duran Webb, and José Angel Sastre Perez, were listening to U.S. rap songs. This influence led them to shortening their names to Flipper, El Doctor, and White. They also took on a new look, dressing up in bandanas, baseball caps and extra-baggy jeans. The trio formed their first group, Primera Base, and became a major hit at the Havana Rap Festival in 1995, following a stellar performance.
A few years later, the same members of Primera Base decided to form Cubanito 2002, marking their departure and one of the first major indications of the switch from hip hop to reggaeton in Havana. While the lyrics from their first album’s title track stressed an attachment to rap (“I’m a rapper first and foremost, whether you like it or not…”), their first big radio hit in Havana, titled Matame, featured a reggaeton sound.
The switch from “underground” hip hop with Primera Base to the sensual beats of reggaeton with Cubanito 20.02 was controversial at the time because reggae was seen by many so-called “pure” hip hop artists as having a “retarding effect” while “eroding traditional genres”. The popular hip hop group Los Aldeanos released a parody of Matame, as criticism of the burgeoning popularity of reggaeton over hip hop.
With the new reggaeton sounds influenced by Jamaican ragga, Cubanito 2002 appealed to the youth culture and grew in popularity. Thanks to funding from Cuba’s communist government, the band was able to produce multiple hit albums and even go on tour in some European countries. On the other hand, the influence of the government’s support could be seen in their lyrics, which did not contain the typical reggaeton blatant sexuality, emphasis on the female body and intercourse, nor did the music evoke a certain politically, socially, and culturally liberating or freeing quality that was more prevalent in reggaeton songs from Cuba that were not government sponsored. For example, in their song Pideme, the song says “soy sincero cuando digo que te quiero” (I am sincere when I tell you that I love you) and “eres la flor en mi jardin” (You are the flower in my garden).
Cubanito 2002 never claimed to tackle issues of race or violence, but rather attempted to evoke love, happiness, and dance in their listeners.
The Cuban wave of reggaeton soon became the most popular movement since the emergence of salsa. The world received the three Cubanitos with arms wide open. On a trip to Cape Verde, the trio arrived quietly but stole the limelight at the Baia das Gatas festival and became the stars of the archipelago before the week ended. Upon visiting France, they were received with a similar level of enthusiasm in the Latino underground. This even prompted mixing their album there, with former Ministère Amer producer Alexis Ouzani, adding his guitars and production.
“We wanted to do something New-York-style, something danceable, but also something Cuban,” according to former band member MC Flipper. “We are a group from the barrio, from the streets. We were all friends, and we still are. We used to rap together when we were taking the bus.”
Following a tour in Europe, MC Flipper decided to settle down in Europe, leaving the band, while El Doctor and MC White went back to Cuba where they continued their collaboration.
Their second album, Tócame, was released in 2006, following by Los Jibaros in 2008. The fourth album, My World, was release in 2012 after several months working between Havana and Boston with producer Mark G (Mark Gonçalves).
In 2007, Cubanito’s tracks were listed at No. 3 and No. 16 among the Top 40 Cuban Reggaeton Mega-Hits.
Left with two of its founding members, the band decided to change its name to Doc y White. This was triggered by a visit to Cuba from close friend Marcus Goelz and Dubai-based artist Chad Sycamore in July of 2014. It also paved the way for musical collaboration between the duo, Sycamore and another Dubai-based singer Clarita de Quiroz. During the trip to Cuba, Sycamore grabbed a guitar and microphone and started playing. That day, two singles that will later become part of their new album were born; Ay Ay and Por Tu Amor.
The latest album marking this collaboration is titled “To Live 4 Love”, which includes 12 tracks with three songs featuring English verses. The album is planned for release towards the end of 2015.
To promote their new album, Doc y White spent some time in Dubai to shoot and produce four music videos (one animated) for selected tracks, including Ay Ay, Por ti, Bonita and Por tu amor, which will be released in the same order. For the videos, the band toured some of Dubai’s most iconic sites such as the beach outside Burj Al Arab and the area near Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
The tracklist for the upcoming album “To Live 4 Love” is:
- Ay Ay feat. Chad Sycamore
- Por ti
- Por tu amor feat. Chad Sycamore
- Si me amas feat. Clarita De Quiroz
- Esa eres tu
- No te acuerdas de mi
- Llegaron los 2002
- Ay Ay (Español)
- Por tu amor (Español)