Argentina is one of the promised lands of rock en español – a legendary status built on the backs of Soda Stereo, Charly García, and more. But over the past decade, a new wave of rap and trap has transformed the country’s presence on the world stage. You can spot this exciting shuffling of the board everywhere, from freestyle rappers turned crossover behemoths like Trueno and WOS, to South American trap monarch Duki, cumbia turra giant L-Gante, and even the seemingly unstoppable Bizarrap hit-factory. In a way, this movement has introduced a fresh musical and lyrical language into the Latin American pop canon, which is now being emulated far and wide, quickly coalescing into its own industry. You also may have noticed I only mentioned dudes.
When it comes to the realms of rap, trap, and reggaeton, the influence — and even existence — of women is often glossed over. And yet, the artists fighting for visibility often become the genre’s vanguard. Consider how Tomasa del Real and Ms Nina helped usher in a new age of digital perreo throughout the 2010s, while in recent years, Puerto Rican ingenues Young Miko, Villano Antillano, and RaiNao have injected Caribbean trap and reggaeton with incisive feminine energy. The story is very much the same in Argentina, where Cazzu and Nicki Nicole crashed the trap boy’s club, leaped into the reggaeton mainstream, and even hopped on this year’s corridos wave, collaborating with Christian Nodal and Peso Pluma, respectively. And they’re far from the only ones making waves.
“I think my music helps people feel free and even get a little nasty,” says ascendant perreo queen Six Sex, whose viral tagline “ni tu actual, ni tu ex” epitomizes the rowdy, raunchy energy flourishing in the Argentine underground. Though she’s been attending clandestine reggaeton parties since she was a tween, she found one of her biggest inspirations in the rave scene, which shaped her ethereal 2019 EP Fantasy and the mutant riddims of 2022’s Area 69. “Even though I don’t really care that much about genre, I respect certain aesthetics and codes,” she adds. “I’ve learned perreo is where I feel most comfortable.”
While so much of the music coming out of Argentina can be rhythmically traced to reggaeton and trap, those labels feel insufficient and outdated when trying to capture the scene’s zeitgeist. These female artists are experimenting and blurring sonic lines in cavalier fashion, like how Simona and Faraonika dip into house and hyperpop while wielding reggaeton-influenced cadences. The same goes for ODD MAMI’s fuzzy forays into indie rock and The Colorated’s guttural punk wails, though both are entrenched in fertile trap circles.
“A lot more girls these days feel like they can be themselves and not give a shit what anyone thinks,” reflects Six Sex, highlighting the 2019 legislation that requires a minimum of 30 percent female or gender-diverse acts in all Argentine concert and festival lineups. “I’m in great company, and I know that until a few years ago, it was a lonelier journey. I’m thankful for the peers who keep fighting to change things.”
To dive deeper into Argentina’s shape-shifting trap and perreo scene, check out some of the women defying genre labels and dreaming of a new waist-winding future.
Taichu is bound for superstardom, and exquisite collaborations with Nicki Nicole and Tiago PZK have all but made so a certainty. But the crossover game is only a fraction of why you need to keep your eyes fixated on her. Back in the Spring, Taichu’s excellent debut RAWR became the clearest premonition of where Argentina’s experimental trap-reggaeton-pop whirlpool is headed. The polished perreo of “PRESIÓN” alongside Álvaro Díaz, the hedonistic house of “GAS” with Argentine rap fiend Muerejoven, and glitchy Rusowsky vehicle “PAYDAY” should absolutely land Taichu on every end-of-year list.
Put some respect on Sara Hebe’s name. The accomplished rapper from Chubut Province has been crafting some of Argentina’s hardest bars for over a decade, bouncing between boom bap and reggaeton and linking with incandescent peers such as Ana Tijoux, Macha Kiddo, and Sasha Sathya. But it was her dazzling reinvention on 2022 LP Sucia Estrella that landed her on this list, thanks to explosive detours into drill, techno, and baile funk. Voracious and unflinching, Hebe is just the tip of the iceberg of Patagonia’s rich and increasingly visible talent pool, which also includes Rosalía-producer Tayhana and neo-soul chanteuse La Valenti.
Saramalacara is one of many artists defying categorization at every turn in this scene. While “Water,” her 2020 breakthrough single alongside Taichu, could be described as a blend of trap and screamo, her dizzying 2022 EP eclips3 weaves techno, hyperpop, and glitch. This mean-muggin sadgirl is one of the mastheads of Buenos Aires’ RIP GANG collective, and her deep-web meets Y2K trash aesthetics have found worthy confederates in the likes of Dillom, Rojuu, and Rusowsky.
Do you remember Coral Casino? The Buenos Aires duo’s 2016 Summer Romance EP was a sublime study in lo-fi reggaeton and R&B sultriness that helped pave the way for perreo narratives outside Caribbean contexts. Well, Lara Artesi, aka Lara91k, used the band’s momentum to launch her own ambitious project, melding atmospheric trap, soulful vocals, and a hefty dose of porteña bravado. Her 2022 full-length Como Antes perfectly captures her genre adventurousness, bouncing from lo-fi rock with Santiago Motorizado on the title track to the afrobeats-inflected vibes of Julieta Venegas-sampling, Duki-featuring “Eres Para Mí.”
There’s an uncanny quality to everything Faraonika does. From the warped, plastic surgery-inspired digital art that accompanies every new drop to her transition from the perreo sleeze of early singles “Web and “Beboteo” into industrial crunch on her forthcoming album with producer Coghlan. There was a time when Faraonika seemed poised for neo-perreo glory, but she wisely swerved into her own lane, now channeling ‘90s house divas and old-school hip-hop swagger. She’s making delightfully weird, unpredictably fun music, and we’re watching every move.
Another instance where raunchy dark room perreos are amplified by a wholehearted embrace of rave culture, Sassygirl is one of the best-kept secrets in Argentina. Her early alignment with the neo-perreo movement bore collaborations with all-star producers like Merca Bae, El PLVYBXY, DJ Sustancia, and Tayhana on her excellent debut LP Intima. But she has since broadened her throbbing sonic palette with RKT and techno, linking up with rap queen Sara Hebe and club producer Manu Calmet on subsequent releases.
If SIMONA’s casual bouncing between reggaeton and R&B made her difficult to categorize when she started buzzing in 2019, her thumping Sr. Chen-produced LP Esfera de Amor (2023) positively blew the lid off whatever box she might have been placed in. Originally from Mendoza and currently based in Barcelona, SIMONA is a sonic chameleon unafraid of perreo (“Lento” feat. Six Sex), hyperpop (“Pretty Collage” feat. Anyi), or percussive soul (“Shut Up” feat. Lee Eye). As a teenager, she played in a punk band with folk-pop star Luca Bocci, and today, she beckons people to writhe on crowded dance floors, so there’s no telling where the road will lead her next.
ODD MAMI could be considered a controversial entry in this list because rock is her main canvas. And yet, she is one of the core members of the insurrectionist RIP GANG collective, rapping over grungy guitars and crossing over freely with the likes of Saramalacara, Broke Carrey, and K4. The more traditional trap sound of her 2019 breakout single “Kaneda” is a distant view from the garagey no wave of her new Ultra EP. But her vertiginous balance of sharp bars and hard-rocking riffs have kept her compelling and popular across genre lines.
Perhaps the most chaotic entry in this deep dive, The Colorated will gladly bounce from the hardest trap you’ve ever heard into frothing punk and bone-rattling drum & bass. Her Spotify bio reads, “Me gusta gritar un poco,” which might be the understatement of the century as wild singles like “Perros,” “Miseria,” and “Dharma” alongside Sara Hebe are double stuffed with distortion and guttural screams.
The future is genre lawlessness, and O.L.I.V.I.A.’s heart-pounding hybrids of cloudtrap, drum & bass, and jersey club are a perfect barometer of where Argentina’s anarchic underground is headed. Her 2020 debut album 99% was built on a mix of lo-fi beats and booming hyperpop drums, while her 2022 EP Hex found an emboldened O.L.I.V.I.A. stepping into trap, perreo, and deconstructed club. Mashing niña-rata nihilism and quirky otaku references, this is music you can blast in a dingy punk club or queue up at the Dance Dance Revolution machine in the nearest arcade.