500 Female Emcees: Meet Maria Isa Reppin’ the Twin Cities aka ‘Soto Rico’

Maria IsaBorn in Minnesota aka Sotorico to NuyoRican parents (New York-Puerto Ricans), Maria Isa began her arts education at El Arco Iris Center for the Arts in 1992, and quickly progressed from the role of student to the role of singer, songwriter, emcee, instructor and performing artist.

Her 2007 M.I. Split Personalities and 2009 release of Street Politics, has received much critical acclaim using her talent to create social change and labeling her as a woman proud of her heritage. In 2002 she co-founded the dance group, Raices, whose mission is to conserve ancestral Puerto Rican heritage through folkloric music and dance.

In addition, Maria organizes various social events – walkathons, fundraisers and more to raise money and public awareness for juvenile diabetes. She has been nominated for a Minnesota Music “Best Hip-Hop Artist” Award, and was recognized as a 2010 Rising Star by the National Hispaña Leadership Institute for her outstanding work with Youthrive on behalf of working and educating incarcerated youth throughout the Twin Cities.

She has also been honored for her involvement with Peace Jam on behalf of hosting several Nobel Peace Prize laureates. She recently received the Best Urban Artist award from Univision 13, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Governor of Minnesota for her outstanding songwriting and contributions to the Latino Community, and a David Laffyette Award for her dedication towards the peace movement through the arts.

She has headlined the International Bazaar stage at the Minnesota State Fair, received grand reviews for her role as Mimi in the Jonathan Larsen musical “Rent” at the Guthrie Lab Theatre and dominated the BMI Publishing Latin Alternative Music Conference showcase.

Her music has been featured on ABC’s The B in APT 23, MTV’s Punk’d and The Paulie D Project. Maria’s songs have reached audiences around the world, including Asia, the United Kingdom, Latin America, the United States and Puerto Rico.

In 2011 Isa introduced herself as the other half of the political satire hip-hop duo group Villa Rosa with Muja Messiah, whom have been praised by 2Dope Boys.com and World Latin Hip Hop for their critically acclaimed album Blue Diamond Island. Villa Rosa has recently released a 2012 EP titled Exotic Paraphernalia.

Maria Isa has shared stages and performed alongside Slick Rick, Plena Libre, The Roots, Atmosphere, Dead Prez, Los Pleneros de La 21, Digable Planets, Julio Voltio, Tego Calderon, Magos Herrera, La India, Wu-tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Tiempo Libre, La Bruja, Habana Harlem, Miguel Alegrin, Alice Russel, Bomba Esterio, Brother Ali, Semisonic and Paracumbe, to name a few.

Isa is currently shooting and producing music for the indie film Strike One in Hollywood with Danny Treo; as well as shooting the documentary We Rock Long Distance with film maker Justin Schell in Puerto Rico.

Maria Isa Lowrider Mamis


Maria Isa Basilando


Maria Isa Street Luv w/Muja Messiah (Villa Rosa)


Maria IsaPassion Fantasy (live on The Local Show)