The festival opened with the Fiesta Zulu and a message from Afrika Bambaata, sending shout outs from the Bronx down to Santiago and all those that are following in the footsteps of the Zulu Nation. Breakdancers abounded, rocking Six Step, Zulu Spins, and Windmills. This setting could have been anywhere; the break beat pulsed throughout the crowd and hundreds of youth continued to rock it till the wee hours of the night. The political nature and uniqueness of Chilean's political hip hop scene became more apparent during a release of a book entitled From Message to Action that chronicles political hip hop in Chile. Films shown at the gathering included a smattering of graffiti, music, and break dancing videos from Latin America that were juxtaposed among short political documentaries highlighting land occupations throughout Chile, the plight of political prisoners and the struggles of the indigenous Mapuche people.
At a similar film event at Planeta Rock, a highlight of the night was the music video 1500 días, which held a match to all the false campaign promises of the presidential candidates. Just the week before this gathering, the right-wing candidate and media mogul Sebastian Piñera had won the elections. The song lays into the neoliberal policies that all the presidential candidates have pushed, proclaiming that they won't participate in the elections of the rich, and that the 1500 days between elections should serve as 1500 days of organizing and struggle. In a country where 40% of the population is not even registered to vote, these lyrics have widespread resonance.
In Chile, as in many parts of the world, hip hop is its own form of independent media – the people's resistance to the right-wing controlled media. Regarding this, Dj Erko, one of the organizers of Planeta Rock 2011 referenced a quote by old school NY political group Public Enemy “As Chuck D said, rap is the CNN of black folks. In our cases it’s the CNN of the neighborhood, the barrio of the oppressed. Hip Hop has had the capacity to be a tool of contra-information, propaganda, education and knowledge.”
In 2011 rappers Subverso and Portavoz, who wrote 1500 days, have taken their political critique to the next level with the project, Memoria Rebelde, or Rebel Memory, which seeks to teach Chilean history through hip hop and multimedia. Portavoz says the inspiration for this project goes back to the origins of hip hop. “In the Bronx, Harlem or whichever ghetto, there were many Latin American immigrants and black people who used hip hop to denounce what was happening and also as a way to share their experiences as black people, as immigrants, and as oppressed people. We are trying to rescue this form of popular education and use rap as a powerful tool to tell the story of our people.” They released a Memoria Rebelde video at Planeta Rock declaring their refusal to celebrate Chile's bicentennial while thousands of people continue to be oppressed. They also pointed out the government’s hypocrisy of celebrating the rescue of 33 miners who had been trapped when the country’s history is stained with massacres of miners organizing for workers rights. Subverso says they wrote the song so that people can “recognize the true history of our land and its people” and thank all the “true historians of the people who have been illuminating the dark corners where the poor have struggled to forge their own project of liberation.”