At 18 years old, Trueno is one of the greatest icons of the urban movement in Argentina. Basing his sound on freestyle, rap and hip-hop, his name gains recognition by the day.
In 2019, Trueno, whose name translates to “Thunder” in English, was crowned the youngest champion in the history of the Red Bull Batalla de Los Gallos Argentina competition, and came in first place in the second edition of FMS [Freestyle Master Series] Argentina. His single “Mamichula” became the most popular song in Argentina, reigning at the top for three weeks.
Trueno, who was born Mateo Palacios and is also known as “Mate,” began to dabble in music as he participated in rapping competitions. In 2017 he released “K.I.N.G.”, the first single published on his YouTube channel, and whose video clip features his father, rapper Pedro “Peligro” Palacios, as well as the Argentinian rapper Underdann. “I listened to a lot of reggaeton and a lot of rap with my old man […] I grew up knowing that I am that,” Trueno tells Billboard Argentina.
On June 27, 2019, Trueno participated in the sixth “Freestyle Session” by Argentinian producer Bizarrap. As of press time, the session holds the title of being the most-watched freestyle session in Spanish in history with more than 120 million views on Gonzalo Conde’s (Bizarrap) YouTube channel. Some time later, they met again for “Music Sessions #16,” a collaboration that has been viewed more than 94 million times.
In February, Trueno released a taster of his first studio album, the single “Atrevido.” The track was produced by Oniria of Neuen Arte, who’s famous for his work on singles like “Quavo” and “Trap N’ Export” by Modo Diablo.
A month later came “Azul y Oro,” which is a reference to Trueno’s La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, and its indelible connection with the Boca Juniors soccer team. The single was completely different from what Trueno’s audience was used to, as it incorporated Pedro Pasquale’s guitars as fundamental pieces of the song. “When I heard the basic track of ‘Azul Y Oro,” many things came to my mind, and it seems to me that the inspiration for the album’s color came from there,” he explains.
The release of the album Atrevido — which was fully produced by Taiu and Tatool — was scheduled for March 25, coinciding with Trueno’s birthday. However, due to quarantine and the impediments it generated during recording, the release was pushed to July 23. On that same day, the rapper unleashed “Mamichula,” a collaboration with Nicki Nicole and Bizarrap. The album also features the Argentine rapper Wos on “Sangria” — produced by Evlay — and Mexican rapper Alemán on “G.P.S.”
Check out the rest of the Q&A with Trueno below.
What has it been like to achieve such notoriety at a young age?
I never looked for [fame]. I never made music to say that I am the face of something, but I think that all I achieved was precisely because of that. Everything I do, I do so much for myself that people feel it is personal. I am not seeking approval from anyone.
If there is one thing that I have always known, is that this was going to happen to me at some point. If not music, it was going to be nothing else — I’ve carried it with me since I was born. My mother gave singing lessons at my house for as long as I can remember. I had music everywhere in my family.
What does “Mamichula” mean to you?
The song represents a lot of things that happened between Nicki [Nicole] and me, and between Nicki, Biza [Bizarrap] and me.
I feel Nicki and I live the same. I think we go through very similar situations and we reflect something similar, she [as a woman] and I [as a man]. She is someone that Argentina lacked. [Argentine rapper] Cazzu is the representation of the adult face in the country, and Nicki is the representative of the female youth. Somehow I needed to channel all the energy that was happening between the three of us, so I think that song is a good album closer.
What about the collab with Wos?
“Sangria” is the strongest song on the entire album. There are many hip-hop moments and other more sentimental moments on the album, but this collaboration with Wos has the strongest message of Atrevido.
You’ve only just released Atrevido, but are you thinking about new music already?
I can’t be relaxed if I have something in my head. I don’t feel comfortable. If I chill out, I have to start creating again. For example, we missed collaborating with [Argentine rapper] Duki — because of the quarantine, I could not record with him. But we have the best relationship and there is still something pending between the two of us.
We’re already thinking about the new record, in terms of singles and features. We’re working without pressure, though. It’s necessary to enjoy the work we did right, and that moment is now.