Mind-Game Aspects: Trials and Layers 

I worked on this song like it was a grad school thesis project, but self-taught, and highly self-critical. The project looks at life’s “mindgames” both public and private: being gaslight vs. neurodivergent, getting fooled vs. being foolish. It really messed with my head. It got mad-meta. Along the way some dope flows, ill beats and beautiful backing parts were made, but I was restlessly unsatisfied. 

            I would make 9 distinct versions, each one had at least three drafts, each representing at least a dozen hours of work.

            As a rapper, I kept testing my range. 

            As a composer, I kept testing how much I could expand within the freedom of limitation of Gonzo Jonez beat.

            Emotionally, I kept testing how much of my inner experience I could make audible and dope. 

            These are the best unreleased versions of the single "Mind-Game Aspects" made from 2016-2021 in chronological order. 

            Hear it grow.


6 Albums in 3 Months, Now on Bandcamp 

Just under the wire, at about 10pm on March 31st, I reached my creative goal for Jan-March 2023: 6 albums in 3 months! I am grateful. Listen for free at MarcosdelaGuagua.Bandcamp.com with no log in, or build our collection and support the work. Bandcamp is easy for artists and fun for listeners.

Womyn of Color Leaders: Something to Sing About! 

"Me Gusta Pierina” is a song I made to remind my friend of her truth.

We need to do more than clap back attacks on exemplary leaders like on AOC and Ketanji Brown Jackson. We need to sing their their beautiful truths. 

When my friend from church, Pierina Sánchez, announced she was running for NY City Council, I was overjoyed, but I wasn’t sure how I could help. Then came the attacks on her authenticity. That is something a trovadór can tackle. 

I let my pen go to work to remind my friend of her truth, imagining her supportive afri-Dominican tias telling her: 

“¡Negrita linda fuerte y capáz! 

No es justo, 

But you know 

You’ve got to do más, 

Pero nunca olvides de donde vendrás.” 

“Negrita” here means not just “Black woman”, it means “My dear Black woman”. It my means “Beloved”. So it’s like: 

“My beloved, beautiful, strong and capable Black girl! 

It’s not fair, 

But you know, 

You have to got to do more (ie. than others, than you should have to). 

But never forget where you come from.” 

You come from love.

You serve in love.

To love you shall return.

Love centering women of color leaders exemplify these truths.

We need to do more than clap back against false and hateful attacks on AOC, Ketanji Brown Jackson and Pierina Anna Sánchez: We need to sing their their beautiful truths, in love and service.

Sunday 9/12/21, Praying with a Saint of 9/11/2001 

Classes were cancelled as we got word of the attacks, on the morning of 9/11/2001. The head of the dance department assembled students in one studio. The first thing she said was, “You must realize, we are going to war.” 

How might the last twenty years have been different if, instead, the first thing we said had been, 

“Lord take me where you want me to go. 

Let me meet who you want me to meet. 

Tell me what you want me to say, 

And keep me out of your way. 


-Prayer of Father Mychal Judge OFM, FDNY Chaplain, first recorded casualty at the WTC, 9/11 2001. 

I learned his story from Saint of 9/11.

This Sunday, we remember and we pray at TLC of NYC. Music Director Horace Beasley and I will perform my setting of “Mychal’s Prayer”:

Sunday 9/12/21, 11Am Eastern

Trinity Lutheran Church 

164 W 100th Street in Manhattan 



From Love to Love to Love- 

Yo soy de la Guagua, 


Costly Grace, Music in Dialogue with MLK's Legacy 

When Dr. King said “We, as a people, will get to the promised land!”, he was speaking to a mostly African American christian community engaged in a struggle for the dignity of striking sanitation workers. He was intimately communicating a message of hope to a beloved community. Yet ,Dr. King's sense of who “we” are, was expansive, disruptive and transformative. 

I badly want to be a part of that “we”,a part of Dr. King’s beloved community. But if we, as Dr. King said, are ‘’caught in a network of mutuality”, what would this gracious belonging cost me? What would it cost us? 

Costly Grace wrestles with these questions from Dr. King. Costly Grace is my Gospel/Rap oratorio project, in conversation with the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here's a one minute short video intro to Costly Grace:

Thanks to TLCofNYC.org for helping me create this work as an artist in residence. 

Thanks to Luther Seminary for inviting me to workshop the project at Luther’s Beloved Community Institute. 

More on Twitter @MarcosylaGuagua and MarcosdelaGuagua.com 

Peace, Blessings and Thanks for Listening, 


¡Yo soy de la Guagua! 

Vamos juntos.

Solidarity and Syncretism: It seems like Beto takes it personally  

I Don’t Agree with his Conservative Policies, Pero...I Ain’t Mad at Beto for “Code Switching”. 

Mr. O’Rourke clearly seemed to take the recent racist massacre in El Paso personally. On a policy level, I hope he will adopt Julian Castro’s view on decriminalizing immigration in the aftermath. I hope his policy may evolve because Mr O’Rourke’s level of authentic emotion seems to contrast with that I’ve heard in responses from other anglo “white dudes”, such as President Trump and former VP Biden in response this terrorism. Maybe you think Beto’s just reacted more emotionally because of he’s from there, but, yeah. Exactly. What might it mean to Mr. O’Rourke to be from El Paso

Maybe he feels the horror of this racist attack so personally because, on the inside, he really is Beto.   

Mr O’rourke has been criticized for using his nickname in his political career. Although he was clearly called Beto from a young age, he also admits to having chosen it as his public “brand” to appeal to Hispanix. Is that “cultural appropriation” or mestizaje

I experience this criticism of cultural misappropriation as hinging on a gringo way to frame the question of identity: identities being seen as binary and genetically fixed from birth. Mestizaje, conversely, implies that human identities syncretic, nuanced and even conflicted, and born of relationships, experience and history. 

Mestizaje is a concept that emerged out of the horrifically violent social relations of America latina’s past and present. However, mestizaje may also imply insights gleaned by the survivors of this horror: Humans influence other humans when our cultures come into contact. I am not saying that cultural mis-appropriation for economic gain is not a real problem, but I think of it is an aspect of more broadly exploitative social relations. The syncretic mestizo observation I offer is: whether our relations lead to solidarity, empathy and cooperation, or segregation, hatred and exploitation, there is no scenario where one human intimately relates to another human without both humans’ beings being irrevocably changed. 

Being offended by Beto being Beto, or speaking Spanish, may be related to an impulse to make “white” people act “white” and contain mestizaje latino-americano to the south of “the Border“.  The offense could also be defensive from the point of view of some gente latina. But why do european Americans have to be so “whitened” and monolingual? Why does latin American cultural influence have to be so small, fragile and scarce? 

When Mr O’Rourke,  Senator Booker and Mayor Deblasio were mocked in US anglo media as if their attempts to use Spanish in the first debate were grotesque, I perceived the enforcement of the narrowness of permissible gringo identities through public shaming. I hope US “woke” folk will reconsider this shaming in the aftermath of the el Paso attacker's terrorist manifesto. I’d love it if all US candidates spoke Spanish and had a criollo nickname. Beto’s criollo code switching can seem desperately eager at times. Maybe that’s because he feels the stakes differently. Other candidates may have wanted to speak some Spanish because of who their constituents were, or who the audience on Telemundo was, but Mr. O’Rourke and Mr. Castro may have felt the need to represent who they themselves were. Whether by nickname or last name both men have lived experience in relation to la frontera

Maybe all people, including european Americans along with gente latina, can have fluid, complex, resilient identities. Maybe the boundary between the U.S. and the rest of the Americas can never be impermeable, no matter how brutally that boundary may be policed. Maybe even rich kids, labeled “white”, growing up on the side of the border where power and privilege are concentrated, can be authentically and irrevocably influenced by closeness to la frontera. 

If we can envision and actualize these kinds of “webs of mutuality”, we can offer a real alternative vision of the future to the “replacement” theory of “white nationalists”: A future where blending does not mean ending. If brother Beto wants to be a part of that future, I say: Bienvenidos, manos a la obra 

¡Viva la Raza Cosmica y Mestiza! 

Peace, Blessings and Thanks for Listening. 

Yo soy Marcos de Jesús, 
y yo soy de la Guagua.

Baile de Cortéz 

Guaguer@s Estimad@s, 

Here is my musical homage to Alexandria Ocasio Cortéz: “Baile de Cortéz"

Baile de Cortés means “dance of courtesy”, a description of AOC’s unique combination of warriorship, grit, graciousness, empathy and kindness. 

The video features voices and the rhythms of Danza and Bomba puertoriqueña. My duet partner is one of the greatest interpreters of the Puerto Rican lyrical songbook alive, mi papá, Don Miguel de Jesús. 

The complete Span-glish lyrics are below. 

Peace, Blessings and Thanks for Listening, 



Baile de Cortéz 
by Marcos de Jesús,

Homenaje a la Honorable Alexandria Ocasio Cortéz 

Marcos:    Hermana, estoy cansado 

De vivir    siempre bregan-do, 

Papi:    Y casi nunca ganando, 

Pero usted me tiene re- animado. 

M:    Se hace el camino al andar, 

P:    Pero asi- ay que caminar! 

M:        Hacia una vision moral 

        Que al pueblo puede inspirar. 

P        Con la cortesia de mi clase 

        Orgullosamente humilde. 

        (en harmonia)↰ 
Tutti        Este ritmo rebelde. 


M            Es un baile de Cortes 

Tutti          Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, 


The image 
the orange one 
offers of us 
New Yorkers is obscene, 

Got my prima almost embarrassed to say she’s also from Queens. 

But real life 

for real folk 

who really rep Queens 

Ain’t about being greedy, 

petty, ignorant and mean. 


M        Es un baile de Cortes, 

P    Brava defensora de Queens! 


Just when the Bx was wondering, 

Where our groove went, 

This chick makes a switch from bartending 

To leading a movement! 

Out of asthma alley we make city air breath free 

The Bronx is still the birthplace of the revolutionary. 


M         Baile de Cortes, 

Tutti    Nuestra Senora del Bronx! 

        Versito 1, Tutti, (Cantada en hamonia) 
        Esta Bomba que tan rica es, 
        Representa un baile pa’    Representante Cortes, 

        Esa amable, humilde         y brava 



Coro (bass instrumental, Seis corrido double time) 

M    Original de mi Bronx, 

Tutti     y Puertoriquena! 

Versito (Cantada en hamoniaa,Oyó Mula) 

Tutti                Esa chamaca de las nuestras 

        Tan sabia y tan lista 

        Va ensenando a Ortega 

        Como ser socialista 

        No toleramos ningu-    na reconquista 
                (beat drops out) 
        Pero si no quieres ser ra-cista: 

        ‘Stan invitados toditos- 

    M    Al baile de Cortes 

                De Cortez 

        De Cortes 

                De Cortes 

    Tutti    Alexandria Ocasio Cortez! 
        (rep secion) 

(spoken over riff:) 

    Like Emma Goldman said: 
    “If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, 
    I’m not coming!” 
    Pero a lo mejor puede ser: 
        Un baile de Cortez! 

(Bass finishes riff) 

        Ne Cede

        Ne Cede

        Ne Cede Malis.    (Hats, Xs) 

¡Caballeros! Dance, Spoken Word and Bomba In Search of How to be a “Good Hombre” 

Estimada Gente Guagüera, 

Donald Trump talks a lot about “Bad Hombres”, defining latino masculinity to elicit fear and build his power. 

How can Latino men and boys choose to publicly and positively define ourselves? How do women and girls want to see masculinities actualized in our social world? Are there elements of latin@ traditions of machismo and marianismo that we can cherish, celebrate and reform to serve an agenda of gender equality? 

 I think we need an ongoing public dialogue about these and other related questions. ¡Caballeros! is my part contribution to that conversation.

Come join the conversation this weekend when “¡Caballeros!”, my Bomba/dance/hiphop exploration of latino masculinities, featuring Wilson La Antigua of Bombayo, will presented by Annabella Gonzalez Dance Theater at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center as a part of a diverse program called “Sorpresas”:

 248 W 60th St, Friday April 5th 8pm, Saturday April 6th two shows: 3pm and 8pm 
After the Saturday 3pm show, Wilson and I will participate in a talkback conversation about ¡Caballeros!, facilitated by Jinah Parker asking: What do we want from masculinity? 

Here’s a trailer for ¡Caballeros!: youtube.com/watch?v=NsfWszUoigw 

I’m also performing in 3 of Annabella’s whimsical, passionate and lovely dances. 

Tickets: manhattanmovement.com/calendar or at the door $25 adult, $15 student/dancer. 



Sick of Santa Claus? Check Out Ol’ Saint Nick  

Esteemed Guaguer@s, 

Saint Nicholas is the patron of the defense of young people from abuse or exploitation. 

If you’ve felt abused or exploited by the holiday season of shopping and consumption, maybe the stories of the life and ministry Saint Nicholas could be a source of relief and inspiration. 

My favorite composer, Benjamin Britten, made a lovely, queer, brilliant, yet accessible oratorio of Saint Nicholas. Britten had a heart for the common folk, just like Saint Nic’. The piece was written so it could be performed mostly by amateurs with the support of a few professionals . That’s my man Ben! I think he was as clever as any composer who ever lived, but he didn’t want to make music that showed a superiority to the common people. He wanted to make music that would uplift the common folk. Amen Ben!

New York’s own, Downtown Voices, gave an exquisite performance of the piece you can experience here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wXSm0OpYR4 

If you only have time to watch one movement, I recommend the one that starts here https://youtu.be/4wXSm0OpYR4?t=509 
It’s Nicholas emotional personal testimony of his spiritual journey. 

I think Britten’s raw and soaring setting of this text offers us an experience of the heart of Saint Nicholas’ witness. In some traditions, Saint Nicholas brings gifts to children every year on his Saint Day. But the heart of the stories about him, is that he cherished the gift of every human life, especially those whose lives weren’t valued by his society, like widows and “the fatherless”. His ministry was not about presents, but being present in the ultimate reality that everything is a gift, amazing grace. Britten’s music transports me into that ultimate reality. Amazing extravagant and sometimes strangely beautiful grace: How sweet the sound!

Paz, Bendiciones and Thanks for Listening,