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Hasel, the rapper who shoots at close range

The night before his trial at the National Court for exalting terrorism and insults to the crown, which has now taken him to jail, Pablo Hasel had a cachopo for dinner « The size of a cow. » It didn’t sit well with him. « He spent the night vomiting »recalls his lawyer Diego Herchhoren. The previous hours they had prepared the session together until the rapper «left him with the word in his mouth, got up from the table and said: look, if they are going to put me in prison anyway, I will say what I want and everything I think ». The next day, they traveled from Guadalajara to Madrid by train and, already in the chair of the accused, Hasel said: “Let’s see if now I’m going to be the one to blame for the king (Juan Carlos I) asking for public money to leave. hunt for Africa or to buy the silence of his lovers. I limit myself to telling it ».

It was the second time that Pablo Rivadulla, his real name, faced that same court. The first, in 2014, when he was sentenced to two years in prison for the same charges, a penalty confirmed by the Supreme Court. This new cause was also sustained in his messages on Twitter and songs on YouTube, where he resorted to the clash between the nobility of terrorist organizations and members, such as ETA or Grappo, and the tyranny of the security forces, such as the Civil Guard, and quite varied personalities, such as the King, Pablo Iglesias, Ada Colau, Letizia, Marta Sánchez, Vargas Llosa, Florentino Fernández, Rajoy …

At close quarters, from the rapper’s textual bullets, not even Betis is saved, a team that he wanted his plane to crash. In two years he had written 1,915 tweets of that tenor for his 54,000 followers, according to that investigation. On average, almost three a day. He is prolific also in music, with 49 albums published in 15 years of careerto. With his speech at the National Court, Hasel, still « decomposed » by the cachopo the day before, convinced one of the three magistrates, Manuela Fernández Prado, who, among other things, said that calling the king emeritus a « mafioso » is what half the country thinks.

Of above average height and weight, this 33-year-old defines himself as a « sensitive » and « melancholic » person, who « longs » for his childhood, a « time when everything was easier. » «I fell into a deep enough depression that led me to self-destruction and defeatism » even joining the ranks of « antifascism », he recounted in the documentary « Hasel, an outlaw poet, » released a few days before his arrest.

A reader of Tolstoy, Gorki, Neruda and Alberti, this rapper writes out of the « need to vent. » His relief has borne fruit in lines such as these: « I may never reach its port, it is enough for me to get close so I don’t feel dead » – rhyme to the song ‘Faro’-; or «I have tattooed on my conscience, death to the Bourbons; Hey, I’m going to get a tattoo on the face of whoever kills Jaime Peñafiel, do you hear me? « , from his most famous ‘Death to the Bourbons’, both recited with the same monotone that he has used since the beginning.

Eclectic music lover of the protest song, he listens from the Chilean singer-songwriter Víctor Jara to the Californian superband Rage Against the Machine, but he doesn’t dance. « It’s a log, » confesses a nearby source. He also doesn’t seem to enjoy a great reputation as a musician. «He was not known, he has never been on any important poster. Now that he is eating brown, he is listened to more but, the truth is, he is very bad, and his lyrics are not as harsh as those of Los Chikos del Maíz, for example, « says a figure in hip hop culture. « I know absolutely nothing about Hasel, now he is heard for all this fuss but … », confirms a Spanish rap expert, author of some books on this movement.

No frills and for rent

In a 30-square-meter rental apartment in Lleida, Hasel has a frugal existence, « without ostentation » or « no luxury », single with a partner, no children, financed by « some productions and concerts » since almost all his music is free, say those close to him. They offered him exile as Puigdemont or Valtònyc, and he rejected the offer. « It is consistent, » defines Herchhoren. “When he began to gain fame, he had many opportunities to make the commercial leap and be more framed within the system. But he has been true to his principles.

However, if only his judicial record were taken into account, this former militant of the Anti-Eviction Platform (PAH) would be portrayed as someone who likes fighting, both verbally and hand-to-hand. Apart from his bellicose tweets and song lyrics, he has two causes – still without a final sentence – related to physical violence. One, against a journalist; another, against the trial witness. The first one he sprayed a disinfectant on his face during an occupation at the University of Lleida. “He took a bottle of glass cleaner and threw it at the camera lens. Unfortunately, he hit the journalist in the eye, « the defense attorney gives his version. The judge did not consider it that way. The second, he pointed out on Twitter with his photo as a police confidante, and when he was in a bar he tried to « kick him. » The other avoided her and defended himself with an umbrella. « I’ll kill you, » he threatened, according to the Lleida court that sentenced him.

The son of Ignacio, former president of a second-rate soccer club, and Paloma, who has been in some of Hasel’s support demonstrations, barely rested in the last hours of his freedom. Before taking refuge in the Lleida rectory, « he slept for a couple of hours, » says a witness. During the vigil, in a « very tense » atmosphere, « he was the best mood of all of us. He joked and enlivened the stay ». The frugal and rabid Hasél said, for example, that he would disguise himself as a riot police to escape. Friend of his friends, «you can find him with a tremendous anger and not speak to you; and other times, be the kindest in the world. It has this double condition ”, describes one of them. That night, he was in a good mood.