The terms underground, alternative and commercial are widely used in discussions of popular music scenes in Havana and around the world. In Cuba, the words alternative and underground are often used interchangeably, in critical as well as popular discourse. I propose a working definition of, and a distinction between, these terms in Havana, since to render them synonymous reduces their usefulness. The distinction between underground and commercial, in contrast, is widely seen as self-evident, by critics as well as by fans. However, a simplistic dichotomy glosses over the interpenetration of these terms, which are of limited use as analytical categories. This discussion of terminology is grounded in an analysis of the politics of style in Havana hip hop.