Latin

Argentinian MC La Joaqui Discusses Freestyle Battles & Exploring New Sounds

La Joaqui
@kateclarkeph

La Joaqui

Despite lockdown, La Joaqui has been restless during 2020, launching her single “Gangster” and performing at major virtual festivals such as Cosquín Rock and #ArgentinaEnLaCasa.

La Joaqui (real name: Joaquinha Lerena) began her musical career at the age of 18, venturing into the world of rap, hip-hop, and freestyle. In 2014, she participated in the Argentinian edition of Red Bull’s “Batalla de Los Gallos.” She was one of the first women to qualify and faced iconic members of the local scene, such as Papo.

She later began to separate from the world of battles to focus on her career as an artist and songwriter. During 2017, she released "Perdón Mamá Por Mi Vida Loca,” which garnered over 2.9 million views on YouTube. In 2019, she made her debut as an actress in El Marginal 2 series, as the girlfriend of the lead role, "Diosito" Borges. She also released her first studio album, Harakiri, with songs like “Cuantas Veces” and “Rocho."

Before the pandemic and quarantine, La Joaqui became one of the first Argentinian artists to host a virtual concert across her social media. “This idea occurred to us because we wanted to carry out a show that we had put together and make use of this musical format,” she tells Billboard Argentina. In a livestream called "The White Room," she performed her biggest hits including the Cazzu-assisted "Ay Papi,” "Más Mala Yo,” and "Violenta,” to name a few.

In early 2020, La Joaqui opened one of Karol G’s concerts in Argentina with this show. “It was a special opportunity for us,” she says. “We wanted to present our new band and our musical vision after being inactive for so long.”

Learn more about La Joaqui below.


You have been trying different styles for a long time. Why is that important to you?

It’s true. We keep on experimenting. I think there is no genre to which I could commit fully. We like to experiment in the performances, too. I feel like they are a mixture of visuals, songs, dancing, and other factors that have to be well-coordinated. You have to know what you want to show.

You are in what is known today as "urban" music: reggaetón, trap, rap...without tagging you exclusively in any.

Exactly. To be honest, I would like to do more things in the style of grunge and a bit of rock and roll. What I want to do is to gradually merge the concepts and create something new.

What would that look like?

It would be like starting from scratch. I also want to try it because that includes going back to live music, being with the musicians, feeling more accompanied. I was never a fan of technology or digital sound, to be honest. I feel like a lot of connections were lost due to digital media, both in the music world and personally.

Regarding your passing through freestyle and battles, how do you see FMS, God-Level, Red Bull, and other competitions today?

I think current competitors are already entering competitions at incredible levels. Before, in the square, you would meet people who were learning and who perhaps had the same level as you, who went to practice and to enjoy. I remember people who helped me a lot during my freestyler days but I realized that I was not suitable for battles. I was a very sensitive person. Nowadays, I love to freestyle and battles, what's more, most of my songs start with an improvisation. If I hadn't done freestyle, I never would have realized that I wanted to make music.

How have you kept up a robust release schedule this year?

It is a difficult time for all of us but I have a team that with creativity and a lot of determination has managed to keep us moving.