Argentine rapper and reggaetonera Chocolate Remix has unveiled a new EP titled Pajuerana, looking back fondly on the sounds and experiences of her upbringing and metabolizing nostalgic memories into relevant social critiques. Hailing from the province of Tucuman in Northwestern Argentina, and living in Buenos Aires for over 15 years, the record takes its name from a snobby pejorative for people of the interior; i.e. not of the capital. Harnessing stereotypes of gauchos and parties in town squares, the astute rapper embraces all her alleged detractors for incisive songs harkening to old school hip hop, classic reggeatón, and some thrilling jolts of funk carioca.
“I have a vivid memory of the first time I heard Technotronic’s ‘Pump Up The Jam’ and so many of those ‘90s synth-driven bangers,” she tells Remezcla. “It was so exuberant and overwhelming it became a part of who I am.” This synthetic ‘90s influence is most noticeable on lead single “¿Quién Sos?” — a mocking and irreverent dig at the moral and intellectual homogeny pervasive on social media today. “The song is about people that tell other people how they should behave and what is correct,” she adds. “Anyone feeling like they’re above the rest leaves behind any notion of equality.”
Chocolate Remix knows her way around acerbic lyricism, getting her SoundCloud start in 2013 and showcasing exhaustively honed skills on 2017’s Sátira LP. The album contained career-launching hits like feminist battle cry “Ni Una Menos,” horny, all-inclusive cumbiatón “Como Me Gusta A Mí,” and an uproarious queerification of Shabba Ranks on “Bien Bow.” While humor remains a favorite medium for the rapper, who cites Illya Kuriyaki as a core influence, her work is taken extremely seriously within Argentina’s ardent feminist movement and the fight for queer and trans visibility. This social commitment carried over into a collaborative EP titled Feminasty with Mendoza-based rapper and producer Fresa Kill, which was released earlier this year.
Pajuerana continues to showcase Chocolate Remix’s politicized inclinations, tapping Catalonian trans activist and musician Elektra Insogna for sensual hook-up jam, “Bailando En El Sillón.” Later, she delivers an impassioned cover of Gabriel o Pensador’s blistering 1997 declamation “Patria Que Me Pariu,” transforming a gem of Brazilian protest hip-hop into a timely baile funk anthem for reproductive rights.
“I have a sister who’s lived in Brazil since I was very young, so my connection to Brazilian culture is one of family,” she reflects. “Whenever she gave me a record, it meant so much to me. That’s why some old-school funk carioca shows up [on Pajuerana]. It’s why I decided to cover Gabriel o Pensador, who was the first Brazilian rapper I ever knew thanks to an album my sister gave me. The song calls out problems that are still common today; living in extreme poverty, teenage delinquency, and casual murder. It speaks about the challenges of accessing abortion and the consequences to which that can lead. Taking into consideration our current context, all the work of the marea verde, the debates, and [eventual legalization of abortion in Argentina], I thought including this song was very poignant.”
Pajuerana features the work of several producers, including long-time collaborator DT. Bilardo, Sneed & Larsen, and Colombian studio whiz EMG Beatz. Slowing down the BPMs toward the second half of the EP, meditative cuts “Esa Nena” and “Desde Que Te Fuiste” get their slow grinding queues from old school reggaetón. Meanwhile, boom-bap flavored “Que Se Joda” features back-up vocals from Chocolate’s DJ, Mora Destroya, closing out the record with a decisive middle finger aimed at the slut-shamers and moralists that keep these battles for personal freedom essential.
Listen to Chocolate Remix’s Pajuerana below.