The next Shakira, strong female Latin musicians to take the mantle
November 30, 2013 9:01 PM   Subscribe

"Shakira aside, the female presence is a little light. Why are there no more big female acts in Latin music right now? I look at my charts, and there's very few female names.... you have a lot of these pretty, sexy young women, who women now are identifying less and less with. I really wish that were different." That's a quote from Leila Cobo, executive director of Latin Content & Programming for Billboard, that opened an NPR piece that countered with a few names to watch, featuring input from Latin Alternative co-host Ernesto Lechner.

The top name mentioned is Spanish MC La Mala Rodríguez, whose brash, controversial music, highlighted in her collaboration with Calle 13 in the track Mala Suerte Con El 13 (Bad Luck with 13). Beyond that, to date she has released five albums (and an early compilation of hits), with the latest album coming out earlier this year in Spain. On those albums:

2002: Lujo Ibérico (Grooveshark stream of 10 of the 11 tracks)
"a great rapper with a solid delivery that owes much more to low, monotonal rappers like DMX or Eve than most foreign rappers"
2003: Alevosía (GS album stream)
"As a rapper, Rodríguez has noticeably matured in the years since Lujo Ibérico, sounding more confident and laid-back in her delivery and coming up with darker rhymes that are more streetwise and far more hardcore than last time."
2007: Malamarismo (GS album stream)
"Mala Rodríguez pushes the boundaries of hip-hop with her third album, Malamarismo, and not just in the direction of flamenco as she did on her previous album, Alevosía, or even in the direction of other Latin styles like salsa or reggaeton as one might expect."
2008: Grandes Exitos -- an early "best of" type compilation, pulling 7 of the 10 tracks from Alevosía, 2 tracks from Lujo Ibérico and 1 from the La Nina / Amor Y Respeto EP (Grooveshark search, as no single "album" link has the complete tracklist).

2010: Dirty Bailarina (GS album stream)
"Dirty Bailarina steers away from the unrestrained experimentation [of the 'scattershot thematic approach' found in Malamarismo], instead playing within the realm of retro-electro pop/rock."
2013: Bruja
The album is again boisterous and impulsive, but that's a good thing, as it is as honest and spontaneous as her first album, and it is easy to communicate the issues of these troubled times. (Rewording of a rough auto-translation of this Spanish review.)
Next mentioned is Anamaría Merino Tijoux, the Chilean musician who goes by Ana Tijoux. Before her solo career took off, she was part of a popular Chilean group, Makiza, who released three studio albums before the band spit up in (again) 2006. Since then, she's gained regard throughout Latin America and has been picked up in the US, where she has toured, and her music was featured in an episode of Breaking Bad. Streaming albums, from Makiza and Tijoux:

1999: Aerolíneas Makiza (GS album stream) -- a mix of hip-hop, trip-hop, and political/conscious rap, the album ranked #30 on the Chilean edition of Rolling Stone's top 50 Chilean albums of all time.

2005: Casino Royale -- recorded after the band reunited the first time, though they would split again.

2007: Kaos (GS album stream) was Tijoux's first solo album, which was "a mild success, but ultimately got lost in the scene."

2009/10: 1977 (GS album stream)
"Her flow is low key, never straining her voice with her delivery. Her voice is smooth whether her lyrical pace is fast or slow. Musically, the tracks feature minimal beats, jazz and funk inspired melodies, and some scratches. These songs are meant to be digested lyrically, you won't find party anthems here. What you will find is a deep album with impressive song writing."
2010/11: La Bala (GS album stream)
"a fluid and poetic album and a great follow-up for Tijoux. Despite not knowing exactly what Tijoux is saying (at least, not without what I did pick up on was a great and interesting listen. This project definitely shook me straight out of all of my preconceived ideas (thanks to Pitbull and Daddy Yankee) about Spanish rap. Tijoux’s rhyme style is poetic and melodic, qualities which combine to make this album a rather impressive project."
2011: Elefant [Mixtape] (stream or download from Fader) features some of her material being remixed and tossed over beats from Jake One, Jaylib, and Oddisee.

Arianna Isabel Puello Pereyra generally goes by Arianna Puello or Ari, and she is a Spanish rapper of Dominican descent. Of the three women listed here, her solo career goes back the farthest, with the first of her six solo albums being released in 1998, under the name Ari.

1998: El Tentempié (Grooveshark search) -- "the most pure style Underground of this era" (rough translation of this Spanish blog post)

1999: Gancho Perfecto (Grooveshark search) -- the same Spanish language blog called the album "best album from Ari."

2001: La Fecha (Grooveshark sampler) -- the album that marked her as a true icon of Spanish rap (rough translation of this review, which notes this was album lead to Arianna's first official video, La Ley de Murphy.

2003: Así lo Siento (Grooveshark sampler)

2007/8: 13 Razones (Grooveshark album stream)

2010: Kombate o Muere (Grooveshark stream)
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
More from NPR's Alt. Latino program: Spanish Hip-Hop, An Afro-Colombian Remix And More (July 2013), and Mala Rodriguez Shares Her Music And Influences (August 2011).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:24 PM on November 30, 2013

I would also like to take this moment to point out the most vicious song celebrating someone's 33rd birthday/33 years on earth: Mala's "33" (YT/Vimeo), which seems to fit the "jarcor" (hardcore) rap style mentioned by NPR, which features guttural growling similar to heavy metal.

(Also, if anyone has more information on "jarcor," I'd like to see it - my searches came up with nothing useful.)

(Final note for now: I didn't even touch on Goyo, the rapper of Colombia's Choc Quib Town, who was mentioned by Ernesto Lechner.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 PM on November 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I tracked down Ana Tijoux's stuff after I saw the Breaking Bad episode which featured 1977 (while Jesse is riding around with Mike) - it's very rare that I find myself responding to a track in a TV show with more than a "That's nice", let alone an "I have to find out what this is". Wonderful stuff. I like the follow up, La Bala, even more - Shock, Desclasificado.
posted by Grangousier at 4:35 AM on December 1, 2013

I am liking this! Great FPP, thanks. I know what I will be listening to today.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:07 AM on December 1, 2013

This is such a kickass FPP!
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:22 AM on December 1, 2013

Glad y'all dig it. I heard the NPR piece a while back, and wanted to give some attention to the other women mentioned beside Mala.

Also, a bit of language tweaking: by "most vicious song celebrating someone's 33rd birthday," I mean "most kick-ass" -- it's not physically violent (well, the video does feature a lot of violence to junk yard cars).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2013

This is relevant to my interests.

Some other Latin@ rock stars on the up-and-up: Teri Gender Bender of Le Bucherettes and Bosnian Rainbows; Carla Morrison (described alternately as "the Mexican Adele" and "the hipster Jeni Rivera"); La Marisoul, who fronts La Santa Cecilia; La Yegras; Xenia Rubinos; Andrea Echeverri, and the Colombian band Bomba Estereo. This is a really exciting time for Central and South American music, and some really great women are at the heart of the genre.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:41 AM on December 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

At the 3:13 mark of the 1977 video, there's a photo of a young woman in a Tennessee State University sweatshirt. Does anyone know the story there? I don't see a connection in either her bio or the English lyrics.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:56 AM on December 1, 2013

La Bala is a great, great album.
posted by winna at 10:02 AM on December 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow pretty epic post! Thanks!
posted by Tom-B at 12:22 PM on December 2, 2013

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