Music Rating: 9.5/10 | Music Video: 10/10
Growing up with Jay Chou, it has been a pleasure watching his music evolve. While I don’t always like it, I respect him for attempting and experimenting with his music. Many artists stick to the same kind of music that launched them into fame. Not Jay though. As someone who seems to enjoy life, he is always on the hunt for inspiration to expand his music. Mojito is a great example of that. He borrows the taste of latin music and succesfully inputs his trademark style into it. No one raps like Jay. Even though his rapping isn’t fast or complicated, only he is able to emulate the feeling he does.
The thing about travelogue music videos is that you can often cut on production design especially going to scenic places like Cuba. Despite the proverty and darkness that plagues the nation, on the surface level, it is beautiful. Mojito takes you on a tour through parts of what I’m guessing is Havana, showing you many beautiful corners of the city and how its infrastructure has been preserved.
Some landmarks you see in the video:
Growing up in Florida, everybody knew where Cuba was as Cuban culture is pretty ingrained here. I realize many people who aren’t from areas with Cuban culture aren’t aware of where it is geographically though. Cuba is underneath Florida in the Carribean Sea near the Gulf of Mexico. Havana is the capital city. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 15th century, it was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people. (Like most European colonizations in the Americas, you can probably guessed what happened) In the 1898 Spanish-American war it became an American territory before gaining independence under a dictatorship in 1902. Cuba is a multiethnic country with people from diverse backgrounds as you have ancestors of the Ciboney Taíno people, the Spanish conquerers, and the African slaves they brought over. There is also a small population of Chinese people. Because it was a closed off country for so long, most of the people there have deep roots in the country that spans back many generations.
Cuba only recently opened its doors for a few years (before Trump slammed an embargo) and is known to be a time capsule as much of the architecture and life has not changed. Despite the beautiful scenery you see in photos and Jay Chou’s music video, the country is riddled with corruption and the people there live in extreme poverty. Many things that we in the states take for granted is seen like gold there i.e salt (source: coworkers who go to Cuba routinely to visit family). I was told many markets are just small bodegas with only a few items. A hot commodity for tourists there are Cuban cigars. My understanding is that the main currency to use there is the USD but unfortunately none of it goes to the people as the government hogs the money.
One of the perks of growing up next to Cuban communities is you get a taste of some good food. They are known for their strong coffee, pastries (pastelitos), and much more!
Jay Chou mentions it at one point in one of the videos about Mojito. As a time capsule, Cuba, has retained many vintage cars that are driven around like your every day Camry. For car enthusiasts this is quite incredible and should put Cuba as a destination for them!
Not to be fooled though, beneath the colorful photos lies people who are suffering from famine and inflation. The ration of food is barely able to feed one person per day. Their state is mostly the fault of the corrupted government however it is important to note that the USA has a hand in the lack of stability and poor quality of life the people continue to live in today. In Florida, there were many people protesting for the US government to help but keep in mind that if the US doesn’t see enough benefit for itself, it will never lend a hand. All politicians condemning the situation will never lift a finger to actually help.