Iconográfica: La Mala Rodríguez, Renaissance Woman

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Iconográfica is a column that celebrates divas that not only bring it artistically on a regular basis but exude grrrl power in the process. It’s a pop culture exploration of Latin icons with original illustrations and animated gifs by Cristóbal Saez.

Twitter: @PopAesthete

In a world where the hip-hop scene is dominated by bling, swag, and brightly colored wigs, it’s hard to find an artist that can spit dope rhymes and maintain a level of genuineness. Thankfully, us Latinos can count on the driving force that is La Mala Rodríguez. The Andalucian beauty, born María Rodríguez Garrido, has been running the Spanish rap game since the tender age of 19 with style, class, and a whole lot of sass. Her voice has the ability to transform itself entirely, sometimes within a single song. Ranging from a flamenco-like wail worthy of a jaleo to fast and heavy rap verses to even screamo (which surprisingly sounds amazing), La Mala’s ease has allowed her to tackle all sorts of messages in her music.

Sure, there are tracks like “Toca Toca” that mainly deal with how low your ass can drop on the dance floor, but La Mala’s verses are usually tinged with politics, female empowerment, and simple yet effective life philosophies. In “Por Eso Mato,” my personal fave, the chorus speaks about reciprocity, karma, carpe diem, and her ability to “dejar bonito su caminar.” No, but seriously, this is life-changing stuff. Especially when she’s singing it a cappella (below).

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Starting with her debut album, Lujo Ibérico, La Mala has been dabbling with different genres and producers that emphasize her diverse sound. 2010’s Dirty Bailarina, her more pop-infused album, got her working with Focus, who produced beats for none other than Her Majesty herself, Beyoncé. “No Pidas Perdón,” the album’s first single, got La Mala her first Latin Grammy for Best Urban Song, further proving her badassery. With Bruja, her latest album, La Mala takes a step back from the pop world and connects with her hardcore rap roots. While still maintaining an amazingly good taste when it comes to sampling (see “El Gallo“), Mala’s sound is now venturing into the realms of reggae, dub, and funk. With a confident and mature sound reflected in songs like “La Rata,” La Mala Rodríguez marks her territory, yet again, in the hip-hop world.

Ojo con la Mala.

Watch the music video of La Mala Rodriguez’s “33” below:

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