Mabiland celebrated her birthday today (Dec. 6) with the release of her new EP Torque Vol.1. The Colombian rapper received a co-sign from one of her country’s biggest stars, Juanes, who features on the EP. Mexican alternative icon Julieta Venegas also appears in one of Mabiland’s songs.
Since the release of her debut album 1995 in 2018, Mabiland has emerged as an important Black and queer voice in Colombia. She hails from Quibdó, the capital of the Chocó region, which has a large Afro-Colombian population. As a rapper and soulful singer, she is helping bring Latin R&B to the forefront with elements of hip-hop.
Mabiland’s most powerful release was last year’s Niñxs Rotos album, where she rapped about the injustices faced by the Black community while celebrating her local Afro-Colombian scene. Her EP Torque Vol.1 represents her progression as an artist since that last album.
“The engine is one mind, body, soul and heart,” Mabiland said in a statement. “It’s useless for the music to work if you’re tuned into s**t. It’s useless to fill seats and for the public to applaud a ‘Rotx Girl’ because I’m no longer a girl. I have matured, and secondly, because I am no longer broken. Without a doubt this is my moment to tighten [the torque].”
Mabiland is fired-up in the music video for her new single “Quema.” In the alternative rap banger, she lets anyone that messes with her know that they’re playing with fire. The video also spotlights the beauty of her Afro-Colombian culture.
Both Juanes and Venegas’ features are most like voice notes on the album. The two singers refer to the rapper with affection as “Mabi.” In “El Parcero,” Juanes speaks his praises for Mabiland’s artistry and the boundaries that she’s pushing. In addition to calling her “la jefa,” Juanes says in Spanish, “It pleases me to see that a girl from Quibdó is making R&B, writing her lyrics, making her music while empowering people with her career and her music. To me, that’s power. It’s very inspiring.”
“Poetry” is a spoken word piece by Venegas. She wrote a poem about being in awe of the emotional depth in Mabiland’s music. “Like a breeze, like a flower, that sadness enriches your voice,” Venegas says in Spanish. Mexican singer Samantha Barrón also features on the EP in the song “Vengo.”
Watch the “Quema” music video below.