Becky G Premieres 'Zooted' Video, Talks Combining Two Cultures in Her Return to English-Language Music

Farruko Becky G French Montana
Emilio Sanchez

Farruko, Becky G and French Montana.

21-year-old Latin pop sensation Becky G returns to English music with her latest summer party anthem, "Zooted," featuring rappers French Montana and Farruko.

The pop star's multifaceted career is thrusting her into the spotligh: In just a little over a year, she's earned a No. 1 hit one the Billboard Latin Airplay chart with the Bad Bunny-featuring "Mayores," lnaded a starring role as Trini the Yellow Ranger in the Power Rangers movie reboot, and guest starred in Fox's Emmy-winning TV drama Empire. Over the course of her career, she's been hard at work releasing single after single and the results has been nothing less than extraordinary. Now, the California native is onto what may be her biggest musical project yet: two official albums, one in English and one in Spanish.     

Her new single "Zooted" is the beginning of that body of work, and the video -- directed by Daniel Duran, the mastermind behind her videos for "Sin Pijama" and "Mayores" -- focuses on Becky From the Block's return to her hometown of Inglewood, CA. The clip even features cameos of the singer's extended family, as well as local landmark Randy's Donuts, of course.

Billboard caught up with Becky G to talk about her upcoming duel album project, the new video for "Zooted," and finding the balance between two different worlds. See our interview below, as well as the "Zooted" video. 

How does it feel to have your track “Mayores” reach over 1.2 billion views on YouTube, and over 305 million views for “Sin Pijama" -- to have that kind of viral presence?

I mean honestly, looking back at just the last year, it's been such a satisfying -- like as an artist, to be able to have that creative outlet, and then execute it the way you literally envisioned it in your head. And then, the cherry on top, the best part of it all, is that people actually connect to it. The fact that one-point-over-whatever billion views is a real number is insane to me. I still trip out on how that's a real number. Like, those are real views, and people have listened to this song over a billion times. That's crazy!

I know in many of your tracks, you have had some very notable features, like Bad Bunny, Farruko, Natti Natasha, and French Montana. Who has been your favorite person to work with?

Oh that's hard to choose. 'Coz the truth is, if I think about it and whatnot, I really can't choose -- because I feel like I've learned so much from each experience, and they're all so different, too.

Bad Bunny on "Mayores" was so refreshing, because he's also super young and new to the scene, especially at that time. We were both kinda popping off, I guess you could say, and working with somebody who is super humble -- he's actually kinda quiet, which is pretty sweet because you see this other side of him in his songs and when he's performing, but on a personal level, he's actually just super chill and quiet and such a sweetheart.

The same with Farruko. He's also super humble and super quiet, but the moment he starts rapping it's like this beast in him is just unleashed. His verse is definitely one of my favorite parts of "Zooted," because the way he writes the beat, and his flow is just so good. It is so good! And then working with French [Montana] too, man he's just awesome, period. He's also such a sweetheart. So I can't really choose just one.

The music video definitely looks like a party and must have been a lot of fun to shoot! Is there any kind of back story behind the music video?

Coming back to English music, for me, is just such a huge thing. It represents so much -- because the truth is that I left English music for a lot of reasons that were kind of beyond my control, and I kinda needed to find myself as an artist. I feel like I really found myself in my Spanish music. Now, coming back to English music with more sense of self as an artist and as a woman in the industry, it's so liberating, and it means more than I think people could imagine.

If you think about the song as a party song -- we're talking about getting lit and getting zooted, and people can be like, "What? There's no meaning to that." But it actually is bigger than that. The intro to the music video was really important to me. Shooting in it Inglewood, for instance, was one of my biggest priorities. Bringing French, bringing Farruko to Inglewood and kicking it off there, ust like a little nod to where I come from. In "Becky from the Block," for instance I basically make an oath to my fans, to myself, and to my family that I'm never going to change. The fact that I have now experienced the biggest success in my career in my Spanish music, to be able to come back to Inglewood and be in my hometown -- like, those are my cousins in the beginning of the music video. It's just super authentic. 

I noticed in the song that it seems to be mixing elements of both your previous American songs and your current Spanish songs. Is this combining of these two aspects of your career and culture what you're going for?

Exactly! That's why everybody was like, "Well, why do we need two features on the song?" And it's because it's my two worlds colliding, in the best way possible. Having French, who is a very successful American rapper, and then having someone like Farruko, who is also just as successful but in the Latin world... it's kinda like you said, it resembles a lot of just who I am.

Speaking of collabs and features, are there any that you can tell me about that are going to featured on the next album or is that surprise that fans will just have to wait and see?

Well, it's funny you say next album -- and then I think about it, and I've been signed since I was 14, right? And I haven't really released one album. I haven't released one actual full body of work that I can say, "This is me." And I think it's because of timing, and just a bunch of other things that, like I said, were beyond my control. I feel like moving forward, there's nobody I wouldn't collaborate with -- because, like I said, I've been so fortunate to have so many great experiences with so many artists.

I'm a real people person, and I love learning, and I love the creative process and learning from different artist because I feel like as an artist -- I would say that in order to write about life, you have to live it. As much as I am this pop star, whatever, socialite who's always sharing life on social media, there's also a part of me that is like an introvert, and a little socially awkward, and I only feel truly myself and comfortable around other artists. So, I wouldn't say that there's a specific person that I can hint to, but there's also no one I'm opposed to working with. I would love to work with many, many artists.

So going from, like you said, having no official full bodies of work to now working on two albums, one English and one Spanish, at the same time, what has that experience been like trying to work on both simultaneously?

I mean it is definitely really hard because -- I always explain it like the "Selena Factor," when her dad in the movie [1997's Selena biopic] says something like, "You're either too Mexican for the Americans or too American for the Mexicans. You can't be in the middle. It's exhausting!" And it's so true! It really is probably one of those things where I do get to be myself, but at the same time it's like I have to pick and choose. As an artist you can't overwhelm your audience with too many things, so you have to be very strategic, and I still feel like from the beginning of time I've been starting over -- like, I've started all over and scratched so many songs before, that now it feels like I'm finally getting to the good stuff.

I know in the past you’ve toured with so many notable musicians like Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, J Balvin, and so many more. If given the chance to tour with anyone, who would you love to tour with?

I would love to tour with Maluma. I love everything about Maluma. I love him as a brother, as a friend, but also as an artist. I admire him a lot. I also learned a lot from him as well so touring with him would be amazing. I actually got to share the stage with him in my hometown in Inglewood at The Forum. He invited me to come perform my song and that was just so sweet of him.

So he's definitely one! I would say Bruno Mars is also one of my favorite artists ever, and I don't project that out into the world a lot, but when it comes down to artists that I would love to collaborate with or tour with, he's at the top of my list. His songs are the songs I taught myself to play on the guitar. He's like -- I feel like he's our generation's version of James Brown. Nitty-gritty, classy, and so well-rounded in every way possible, from the way he moves to the music he writes. His performing is just on another level.

Let me see, one more... I'm actually going on tour with Demi Lovato again. I went on tour with Demi really early on in my career, and I technically wasn't even an opening act. I was like a buffer, 15-minute act in between the actual openers. And I remember being on the road and realizing, "Oh my God, I'm on tour with Demi Lovato." And now I'm going to be an official opener on Demi's tour. We're going to be in Brazil and stuff, and it's going to be awesome. I feel like I learned a lot from her then, so I think going on tour with her now is going to be amazing!

As a fellow Hispanic/Latinx young woman, I’m very happy to see someone who has done so much for their/our community. How does it feel it be recognized as one of Rolling Stone's 18 Teens Shaking Up Pop Culture in 2015, and one of Billboard's 21 Under 21 last year, and to represent the Hispanic and Latinx community in that way?

It's incredible! Because I get to be my truest, authentic self, and the fact that it's not just an accomplishment for me -- because the truth is I am one of a generation of so many Latinos who are changing the game and changing the world. I feel like it's a win for all of us, you know what I mean? That's one thing about our culture, is that we really do take so much pride in our unity and how we come together. I think it's like when one person is succeeding in something we back it up and we support it 100% and it's because when one is winning we're all winning.

I think that's something really amazing, that perspective that we have. Like, we really do love and are passionate people in every way possible. And so because that is so natural, just applying that to what I do on an everyday level with my musi,c or just the way I love or the way I am with my family, there's this common thread and it really comes back to our culture. I would feel like for me, it makes me very proud more than anything. It makes me so proud and I know it's not just my success. It's everyone. I wouldn't be able to do it without my family, without my fans, without the blood that runs through my veins. Like I said, a lot of who I am comes from the way I was brought up and the history that my family's last name carries. I'm very, very proud of that.

What can fans look forward to and expect to happen next?

"Zooted" is next! I'm so excited for 'Zooted," and there is more English music coming as well. I think it's going to be really cool to be able to play in both of these worlds. Like I said, they're both big parts of me. One half is super feisty, Latina, and then the other is super proud to be from Inglewood, so that combination is definitely a force to be reckoned with. So I'm just excited for the English and Spanish music that's going to be coming out after "Zooted."