Big Dan (MeXIKANO) celebrates his immigrant Indigenous roots with the release of his second solo album All or None: The American Burden featuring Mi Tierra.
Big Dan has just released his second solo album All or None: The American Burden. He has been writing, recording and performing for over 7 years and describes it as a positive outlet: “It is my therapy…it is more than just to entertain people, it is to edu-tain.”
A child of Mexican immigrants who grew up in the inner city projects of Oakland, he ended up in Juvenile Hall several times and wants others to learn from his mistakes. Having earned a degree in Ethnic Studies from from the University of California Berkeley, he works as a case manager for at risk teenagers and takes the opportunity to speak at youth centers, detention facilities and academic institutions all over the country.
With the multiple, intersecting layers of colonial history south of Turtle Island, Indigenous identity and language can become an interesting topic of discussion and debate.
Big Dan describes himself as MeXIKANO:”Around my parents and family I identify as Mexican; around my music and friends I identify as XiKANO. So I have just decided to put them both in and say MeXIKANO. This means that I know my history, culture, and about my people Indigenously.”
For the first time he chose to write Mi Tierra (My Land), one of the title tracks on his new album, completely in Spanish. It is a special project for him because it shows the progress hip-hop has made as something that resonates internationally. The hook translates as:
“block by block,
and to all of my people putting in their positive efforts,
not knowing if we will be back,
with this song,
I dedicate to my land”
Here is the video for Mi Tierra (My Land) by Big Dan: