After teasing the track over the last few weeks, Cardi B and El Alfa finally revealed their much-hyped collab “Mi Mami” on Friday. Fans were disappointed to find that the two stars opted not to record a standard dembow track together, especially since El Alfa is largely considered the genre’s most faithful ambassador, even as other Dominican urbano artists have turned to reggaeton or Latin trap. Critics swarmed social media on Friday, voicing their frustration and what they perceived as a missed opportunity for the genre, which often struggles to secure mainstream recognition compared to more visible genres like reggaeton or Spanish-language pop.
Why would Cardi agree to do any song with El Alfa that's not a dembow. What a waste. So disappointed :/
— Aza Roso (@modafocal) November 2, 2018
El Alfa ft Cardi B shoulda been a dembow smh
— kev (@kevfromthe6ix) November 2, 2018
In response to the backlash, the Bronx-born rapper took to social media to share her thinking behind the decision. On Instagram Live, she criticized the lack of visibility Dominican artists have at major award ceremonies. “Next year, I want Dominican rappers nominated at the Billboards. I want them to be nominated at the Latin Grammys. I want them to be nominated at Premios Lo Nuestro. I don’t understand why we’re not there. We work hard. Our music is amazing…I just want my people to push forward…I want us to get to the top,” she said, name dropping her favorite dembowseros, including El Alfa, Shelow Shaq and La Insuperable.
“I know that when dembow goes mainstream, it’s going to change everything,” Cardi continued, arguing that the decision not to make a dembow was strategic, since the genre is less visible in the mainstream Spanish-language music industry. “It’s like, ‘Ok, let’s play the game they play and make reggaeton/trap and then we’ll hit them with dembow.’ I knew that people wanted a dembow with me and El Alfa. But [we decided to make] a song that’d take off and then when people find out, that’s when we’ll give them a dembow,” she said in Spanish.
Listen to the full video via MundoRD: