“First Stream Latin” is a compilation of the best new Latin songs, albums and videos recommended by the Billboard Latin editors. Check out this week’s picks below.
Karol G, “Bichota” (Universal Music Latin)
Following in the vein of “Tusa” and “Ay DiOs Mio,” Karol G has found her stride with her brand of languorous reggaetón; sensual but not overtly sexual, empowering but also feminine. Her latest, “Bichota,” produced with longtime collaborator Ovy on the Drums, is a step up from the pleasing but less assertive “Ay DiOs Mio,” both in lyrics and hooks. From the title, which roughly translates to “Boss” and is often used as street slang referring to men, “Bichota” is less about “empowerment” in the traditional sense, than self-confidence and taking control. “I feel like a bichota, they all want to break me but don’t know how,” she purrs in the opening, immediately catchy refrain. Set to sparse keyboards, “Bichota” is successful by virtue of its simplicity. At a time when the word “empowerment” has been bandied around to support every video that features sexualized images of women, here’s one that celebrates body image and attitude without subverting to masculine needs or approval.
Rafa Pabón, 10:22 (Rimas Entertainment / On the Mic Music)
As he continues to mark his territory in the music industry, Rafa Pabón presents his new EP 10:22 via Rimas Entertainment and On the Mic Music. A studied musician and singer who attended Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pabón is known for his eclectic sound that incorporates a live band with his reggaeton, hip-hop, and tropical fusions. Home to eight original songs, produced by Latin Grammy-nominated producer and sound engineer Wiso Rivera, 10:22 marks Pabón’s second studio production, following his debut album Vida Respira in 2015. Collaborations on this set include Alex Rose, Gigolo y La Exce, and the star-studded merengue “A Güiro (Remix)” with Zion, Brray, Randy, Toño Rosario, Jon Z, and Kiko el Crazy. Stream and listen to 10:22 below.
Los Rivera Destino, “Sin Ti” (Sony Music Latin)
Thanks to clever songwriting and a tropical beat that will make it impossible not to get up and dance, Los Rivera Destino’s “Sin Ti” is a must-listen. This fun, upbeat track about missing someone or something, a contrast to their bolero-like 2019 collaboration with superstar Bad Bunny “Flor,” is the first single from their forthcoming album produced by Ismael Cancel. “The act of missing is visceral, whether it be a past lover, an old friend, a pet, or a home,” the band explains. “This year, we’ve all had major changes in our lives that make us look back and realize what we’ve taken for granted. Moments shared that we thought were unlimited, now remain alive in our memory. But we still need to have a sense of humor about these things to survive.” The animated video, inspired by Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out,” finds bandmembers Carlos Figueroa, Fernando Tarrazo and Antonio Sánchez as dogs who escape home. It’s then they realize how much they’ve missed their owner and how much their owner, a dog with a human body, missed them.
Micro TDH, “Ámate” (King TDH / Warner Music Latina)
Up-and-coming Venezuelan artist Micro TDH presents his latest single “Ámate,” encouraging all of his fans to love themselves first, before anything else. “I deserve better,” “I won’t go back to depression, I’ll cure my heart,” and “I can get over you,” are some of the lyrics that accompany the sincere and empowering track. In true Micro TDH fashion, “Ámate,” produced by Ovy on the Drums, is a soulful funk-infused urban bop. “Nobody knows the storms that we live in, so never judge someone without knowing them,” the artist expressed on Instagram. “We are all a reflection of our experiences, and in my experience, I understood the value of a word that became a movement. #AMATE so you can love others, do not lose faith.” In the music video, Micro joins the Accion Poetica movement, painting part of the optimistic lyrics across town.
Silvestre Dangond, “Las Locuras Mias” (Sony Music Latin)
Keeping Vallenato alive with his emblematic sound and vocals, Silvestre Dangond dropped “Las Locuras Mias” (My Crazy Thoughts). The captivating track, produced by Silvestre alongside Beto Urieles and Roland Valbuena, Jr., and featuring Lucas Dangond on the accordion, is an ode to that special someone who loves you unconditionally and accepts you just the way you are. “It’s been some time since I had sung and felt a Vallenato song that was meant for falling in love!” Dangond expressed. “What’s more, it reminds me of when I released ‘Mi Amor por Ella’ because it has a vintage sound that takes me back to the early days of my career.” “Las Locuras Mias” marks the title track of Dangond’s upcoming 14th studio album.
st. Pedro, “malapami” (Interscope Records)
For his third single under Interscope Records, st. Pedro continues his exploration of the toxicity that comes with relationships that have gone sour. The soulful, old-school R&B-infused track “Malapami,” which translates to “bad for me,” finds the up-and-coming artist, a leading force in Spanish R&B, fighting against his own obsession with a woman he knows will only throw him on a roller coaster of emotions, a ride he can’t seem to get off of. “At some point, we’ve all had a relationship we stay in even though we know it’s not healthy,” st. Pedro says about the song. “The other person becomes an addiction. It’s almost impossible to overcome until the breaking point. Then, everything explodes. I wrote ‘Malapami’ about the moment when you realize you can’t continue that relationship any longer. The only thread that connects you is sex.”
Darell, LVV The Real Rondon (Sony Music Latin)
Four years after dropping his debut album La Verdadera Vuelta, Darell presents his sophomore set titled LVV the Real Rondon. Home to 16 tracks, the album kicks off with “Un Barrio,” a mambo-infused trap song that tells the story of Darell’s upbringing. “From the hood, that’s where I’m from,” the lyrics go. Songs such as “Bandolero,” “LVV En Su Piel” and “Llorando” bring to the forefront a Latin trap and hip-hop-heavy production. In his Kiko El Crazy-assisted track “Dinero Facil,” Darell experiments with dembow melodies, and on “Billetes de 100” with Gerardo Ortiz, he doesn’t shy away from experimenting with artists of other genres. LVV the Real Rondon includes collaborations with Miky Woodz, Pablo Chill-E, Juanka, Ñengo Flow, KEVVO, De La Ghetto and Young Hollywood.