Feature Stories

With Help From Icons Like Spinderella, Joel Salazar is Building a New Home for Hip-Hop

Few symbols in Joel Salazar's life hold more meaning than a set of turntables.

"Música, Daddy! Música!" his 2-year-old daughter, Natalia, yells at least once a day. And when she does, her father is happy to oblige her. Salazar stops whatever he's doing and sets two chairs at his decks. Together they sit side-by-side as he picks out music and plays it with her. Natalia can already stop and start a record as well as work the fader knob between them. Her face lights up with joy when she does this and his heart melts, every time.

Hip-hop culture has given Joel Salazar much of what he values in life. For the last decade-plus, he's overcome high hurdles and taken big risks to share his love for it with everyone from his family to strangers he'll never meet.

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Vanessa Quilantan