Bad Bunny, Drake, And Our Favorite Latin Songs This Week
Latin forays into the pop realm continued unabated last week, and while Drake rapping en espanolmay have commanded most of the attention, it was far from the only noteworthy song. Ozuna and Selena Gomez on the same song? Yes, it happened. We also received music from our favorite garage punks from Mexico and discovered two new tracks from way down south — the Southern Cone to be exact.
This playlist is part of a weekly Spotify series of NPR Music's favorite Latin songs. Catch our weekly thoughts and hot takes here on NPR.org.
Bad Bunny feat. Drake, "MIA"
Remember when Drake collaborated on "Odio" with Romeo Santos in 2014? Neither did I, because in 2014, the Drake verse of that song was your chance to detach from self-serious bachateros and get a drink. No more, because now we have "MIA," the long-awaited, nervously anticipated Drake-Bad Bunny collaboration that, against our best efforts, will drag even the best skeptics back to floor.
Bad Bunny is the poster boy of the Latin trap wave taking hold of pop within and without the Latin markets due to his greatest weapon: authenticity — a trait Drake used to cultivate his sadboy stardom before becoming the poster boy for memeification. ("Yo soy tu Romeo, pero no santo," Bad Bunny says, nodding to Drake's last Latin foray.) As on DJ Snake's "Taki Taki" (more on this later), the English-language singer's Spanish lyrics sound like a high school AP Spanish assignment, but it literally doesn't matter, because the stakes aren't really that high as the two rappers play to their strengths around the women they like in the city they love — MIA.
I was at a party with another Latina friend on Friday. "They need to play 'MIA' like 10 times or I'll literally die," she said. The song simply succeeds. —Stefanie Fernandez
Le Butcherettes, "strong/ENOUGH"
Le Butcherettes is a Mexican garage punk band from Guadalajara fronted by performer who calls herself Terri Gender Bender. If that isn't enough to grab your attention then this startling new video from their new single will do the trick. It puts an intense focus on being in an abusive relationship and having the courage to walk away. The track is produced by former Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison and is the third single from Le Butcherettes upcoming fourth album. This band has long embraced difficult topics through gutsy guitar based rock and Terri Gender Bender's can't-look-away stage presence. I can't wait to hear the rest of the album later this year. —Felix Contreras
DJ Snake feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, and Cardi B, "Taki Taki"
This track is a lot of things to a lot of people, depending on which artist on this collaboration brought you to the song. Ozuna, Cardi B, and Selena Gomez each come from different corners of Latinidad in pop, and reveling in that Latinidad amid the growing chart popularity of Latin pop certainly benefits each of their careers. The track is as inconsistent as the lava, jungle, and ice settings in this week's music video — we go from Cardi rhyming "Lamborghini store" with "Ouija board" to the classic "fiesta" / "siesta" binary in Selena's verse within a minute — but each individual element only serves an infectious whole with greater reach than ever. Latinos invent new words and concepts all the time, as evidenced by the nonsense phrase of the song's title, whether it refers to talking, actual Takis, or its tiqui tiquibeat. It's clear that this trio is making it up as they go, and yeah, it's working. —Stefanie Fernandez
Alex Anwandter, "Latinoamericana"
Chilean Alex Anwandter is a double threat. He's been making compelling, substantive music backed by electronic music that straddles EDM and rock. And he is an accomplished video director who most recently moved into film with Nunca Vas Estar Solo (You'll Never Be Alone), a mediation on LGBTQ themes that made the rounds of film festivals. He describes his new album, Latinoamericana,as "as "a song cycle exploring gender, sexuality, and Latinx identity in dark times - where, it has become apparent, the arc of the moral universe does not seem to bend towards justice." The title track takes on cultural identity in the context of the entire continent. Once again, Anwandter proves to be the Thinking Man's electronic artist. —Felix Contreras
Rubio, "Hacia el Fondo"
Another entrant from the Southern Cone, Rubio is the name of the latest project by vocalist Fran Straube. She was the vocalist for an engaging electronic project out of Chile called Miss Garrison. The track's electronic beats belie the complexity of the lyrics, while the accompanying video adds a hypnotic visual element. Proof again that Chile's dance music scene has the world's attention. —Felix Contreras
This playlist is updated weekly.
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