A burgeoning Latin American hip-hop scene is causing waves that could rival its US counterparts. Infusing trap, reggaeton and salsa, it makes for a unique take on the hip-hop genre.
Cazzu, an Argentinian rapper and singer otherwise known as Julieta Cazzucheli , offers a refreshing female perspective on South American hip-hop. She has a strong gothic aesthetic, with long black hair, tattoos and heavy make-up, sometimes wearing a balaclava. This is not your typical Latino songstress. Songs like ‘Chapiadora’ can hold themselves up alongside top male trap stars, and her high-pitched vocal floats on top of the heavy beats and bassline. “Girls who fall in love are losing cash and time” she raps in this song about women earning their way in life. In ‘Mucha Data’ she is confident and assured. “You’ll never meet a girl like me”, she says as she brags about not taking phone calls. ‘Fuego’ is a softer song, showcasing Cazzu’s singing ability and vulnerability, as well as her impressive range of styles. In a male-dominated world, Cazzu can certainly hold her own.
Twenty-four year old Argentinian rapper Duki, who has collaborated with Cazzu, is establishing himself at the forefront of Latin trap music. ‘Hello Cotto’ has over 60 million plays on Spotify, and has lyrics which are dark and subversive, with a hint of paranoia. ‘The CIA is following me’ he raps aggressively in Spanish, ‘the madness doesn’t pass.’ He has cultivated an appropriate bad-boy image to accompany his music, snarling at the camera in photographs, his face and hands heavily tattooed, clutching at his neck chain.
Bad Bunny (Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rican rapper and singer Bad Bunny has made a name for himself by fusing Latin trap music with reggaeton, resulting in a distinct hybrid style that stays true to its Latin American roots. Track ‘I Like It’, a collaboration with Cardi B, entered the Billboard Chart at number one and he was the most streamed artist on Spotify in 2020. His collaboration with star singer Rosalia, ‘La Noche De Anonche’, is a stand-out track, mid-tempo and melodic with heavily auto-tuned vocals.
Lunay (Puerto Rico)
Twenty year old Puerto Rican singer Lunay is also combining Latin trap and reggaeton to make catchy dance floor tunes. He released his debut album, ‘Epico’, in 2019. Pristinely produced and lighthearted, his pop track ‘Soltera’ has racked up over 500 million plays on Spotify. It has all the hallmarks of a Latin anthem, and recalls the hit ‘Gasolina’ by Daddy Yankee, which also happens to be Lunay’s favourite track.
Yung Buda (Brazil)
If you’re looking for something a bit more lo-fi and left-field, check out Brazil’s Yung Buda. His first full-length album, ‘True Religion’, contains ominous synth sounds alongside his auto-tuned Portugese vocals. The production is delicate, minimalist, elegant and refined. Distorted and oftentimes melancholy, his style is reminiscent of English producer Burial. ‘Piloto’, taken from the EP ‘Musicas Para Drift’, is full of bleeps and glitches as he lends his trap-style vocals to this experimental hip hop track.