"Fly" produced by Headnod

On March 18, 2020, Headnod reached out to me to see if I wanted to write something about the state of the world. 

As I write these words, citizens of the U.S. have been told to self quarantine and practice social distancing, and in other parts of the world, people have been faced with even stricter social restrictions to try and prevent further spread of the Coronavirus. Varied as we are, humans have responded in a multitude of ways, but the one emotion tying us all together in this moment of crisis is the ever powerful feeling of fear. Fear of the uncertain. Fear of the unseen. Fear transcends culture, language and borders. For those of us who are parents, the fear extends beyond our own futures, as we worry about the many problems the next generation will be forced to face. But as parents, we have no other choice but to face that fear head on with hope, try to focus on the beauty of every moment, no matter how uncertain we may feel, and to fill up their days with as much love as possible. When Headnod reached out to me about collaborating on a piece about the state of the world, I was ready, but when he told me he needed to hear the voice of optimism, my heart went out to him, both as a brother and as a fellow father. I imagine we need a dose of optimism right now. I wrote "Fly" as a response to his message, and to the rest of the world, as a reminder that hope and love is what gives our children, and gives us all, the wings we need to fly above any crisis thrown our way. I hope it brings a ray of hope into your home when you play it. 

-Rico Pabón


To purchase this track, go to:

There's more of us who want to live than those of them who wish to sleep, you've got to decide on your own, are you a clone or a sheep or a miracle walking, left over dust from a star, because THAT'S what you are...”

— Rico Pabón

An emcee whose artistry and activism are one in the same, Rico Pabón has been delivering poetic lyrics bound by themes of struggle and resilience for more than 25 years in the Bay Area. Raised in a home torn apart by drug abuse, Rico grew up moving between various cities in the Bay and New York, with a few stops in Boston, and at an early age discovered that writing helped to ease the pain and anxiety that he experienced daily, so he began writing profusely. Writing made him ask questions and seek answers, and his notebook became a window to a world beyond his own personal woes, politicizing him. He began to see that not only his home, but whole communities were falling apart because of addiction and trauma, and that not only him, but children everywhere were sometimes more afraid of living, than they were of dying. 

By age 15, Rico found his voice as an emcee, starting his first group, Prophets of Rage, which was politically charged and full of fire, and Pabón hasn't slowed down since. He later became singer and emcee for critically acclaimed Afro Latin Fusion bands O-Maya and AguaLibre, whose blend of salsa, hip hop and reggae allowed them to share stages with international artists such as Damian and Stephen Marley, Ozomatli, Buju Banton, Femi Kuti, Zap Mama, Meshell N'degeocello, Maxi Priest, Sizzla, Run DMC, Wu Tang Clan, dead prez, Big Daddy Kane, and Kurtis Blow. Pabón has had his songs placed in nighttime television dramas "October Road" and "CSI: Miami" and he has appeared on numerous recordings and has shared the stage with an array of highly acclaimed artists, across many genres of music. He toured with Bay Area legend and Grammy nominated Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, where he rapped, sang, and also played minor percussion. He currently performs as an emcee, poet and singer with another Bay Area legend, and 5 time Grammy nominated latin jazz artist John Santos, and is currently finishing up an album produced entirely by Headnodic, of Crown City Rockers, which Rico says is his favorite album up to date.

His musical expressions have taken different shapes over the years, but no matter which musical configuration Rico Pabón finds himself in, his message has remained clear. He has has released 6 full length albums and has appeared on numerous compilations and collaborations garnering him much critical acclaim. A natural performer, Rico's vocal stamina, clarity and rhythm, combined with a passionate delivery and poetic lyrics make his energy on stage explosive and captivating. 

Musician and historian John Santos says, "Rico is exceptional in many ways, highly creative and motivated, and deeply dedicated to social change through the arts. I've also observed him extensively, performing and teaching folks of all ages. His enthusiasm is both remarkable and contagious as he engages his audiences and students with his obvious passion and abilities to communicate on multi-levels. He has truly earned the respect of his peers and has inspired countless observers and participants through his commitment to the development of art and self-expression in our neighborhoods. To those of us of Puerto Rican descent, he is especially an unsung hero and treasure whom we proudly hold up as the face and voice of our community. In addition to the above-mentioned facts and observations, Rico's most impressive trait is his demeanor and dignity. One of the finest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing."

Grabbing the mic is a privilege, because people died for the right to write and recite, so you might just want to respect that lineage. Begin to see your gift for what it really is, the ability to to shift ideas into traditions, now that's the power of a true lyricist. ”

— Rico Pabón