WHO SHE IS: A New Yorker of Dominican ascendancy, and the latest Diplo/Mad Decent protegé. Last time we checked, that record label jump-started the career of a little Grammy-and-Oscar-nominated artist known as M.I.A. (You know, the one who wanted to *bang* *bang* *bang* and take our money)
WHAT SHE DOES: Maluca blends your cousins’ bachata, merengue and mambo violento albums with your parents’ favorite gagá songs, and then adds a dose of electro and baile funk beats. Thus, she comes up with a concoction akin to “El Tigeraso,” a song that makes fun of those outrageous piropos dropped by the hustlers of that Dominican haven known as Washington Heights.
WHAT SHE SOUNDS LIKE: A Dominican-American M.IA. (dropping a bunch of “¡Ay fo!” like Maya drops Tamil phrases). A girlier, less serious (we mean this in a good way) Santigold. A socially detached Rita Indiana (there are no wink-wink nods to agricultural reform, blue-collar jobs, Cuban ice creams or yolas al revés in Maluca’s just-for-fun songs).
WHY WE’RE STILL NOT SURE ABOUT HER STAYING POWER: Since her public debut last year at SXSW, she’s only released one single, the aforementioned “Tigeraso.” We’ve heard live bootleg recordings of her other songs… and so far are only as enamored with the güira and batuque-heavy “Poser.”
WHY WE THINK SHE MIGHT HAVE A DECENT SHELF LIFE: She has the musical pseudo-exotic potential to trespass language and kitsch cultural barriers, Bonde-do-Rolê style. Plus, come on, she’s Diplo’s brown-girl-du-jour.