The hairless cats look tan. GQ called the international promotional campaign for rapper C. Tangana’s album Ídolo “the largest ever carried out for a Spanish artist,” so it’s possible that Antón Álvarez Alfaro’s team invested in some highlighter for the two felines that flank the reclining emcee in publicity shots. In the images, Tangana poses solo, his clothing deliciously askew against a cloudy backdrop that seems to be a million miles away from the turbulence of secession that grips Catalonia, far north of Tangana’s home in Madrid.

Styled by Alex Turrión. Photo by Javier Ruiz. Edited by Pineal Studio. Courtesy of Sony Music Spain

Barcelona’s Alizzz was the primary producer on Ídolo and on the day of its release, he announced on Twitter that the album “defines a very concrete moment in the culture of this country.” Ídolo‘s slick production and international notes hint that Spain’s reigning generation of musicians thoroughly understand their worth, but are looking beyond their country for career trajectory.

Feline cosmetics and really anything seems possible at this point, including the chance that Tangana will, like his hype team wishes, ascend to the next rung on the fame ladder with Ídolo. There have been omens that this may be the case. The centerpiece of the album is Tangana’s radio-friendly summer bop “Mala Mujer,” a bailable, vaguely reggaeton track that hits the same diversity of audio notes — flamenco piano riffs included — that have launched numerous international hits this year. Farruko and French Montana’s willingness to jump on the remix confirmed the industry’s faith in Tangana and his charismatic, slightly nasal flow.

Like in any good star turn, Alizzz — who shares production credits with El Guincho, livinlargeinvenus, Horror Vacui, and Danni Ble — focuses the spotlight directly on Tangana with Ídolo. There is not a single feature verse on the album, confounding current mores of crew love in hip-hop (We assume this sets the stage for a procession of celebrity remixes à la Farru and French).

Styled by Alex Turrión. Photo by Javier Ruiz. Edited by Pineal Studio. Courtesy of Sony Music Spain

The LP’s subject matter is familiar. Late-night smartphone fuckery, reflected in its FaceTime audio punctuation, is the thesis of “Demasiao Tarde.” The influence of Drake is a constant, hushed whisper throughout Ídolo’s tracklist (no surprise there; Puchito has always cited Champagne Papi as an influence – he even dropped a mixtape of covers all the way back in 2015, and last year’s release, from his Agorazein crew, explored similar territory).

“Intoxicao” is another R&B-rap musing, while“Espabilao” and “Caballo Ganador” (a Tangana social media alias) are trap-influenced nods to the hustle. The intimacy of leaving out the guest stars make for romantic vibes, sure to be appreciated by thirsty Tangana legions. “Pop Your Pussy” sounds like it should be a club jam, but the languorous beat makes it clear that the title command is geared towards a more private dance moment. It feels like an evolution for Puchito, who started out blending East and West Coast basslines on early tracks like “Bésame Mucho.” 

In his effusive Twitter dedication to album, framed in a open book that makes the words seem all the more ordained, Alizzz asserts that the eclectic Ídolo is not just an example of how Spanish artists are capable of riding international radio trends. The project, he says, is a breach the global mainstream now has to properly hear the best of his country’s urban music scene. Over the past few years, the country’s emergent talent, such as peer crew PXXR GVNG, has linked with massively influential Atlanta crews like 808 Mafia, a sign that Spain’s urbano exponents are poised for their global moment.

Here, as outside the voting booth, the future is as yet undetermined.

C.Tangana’s Ídolo is out now on Sony Music Spain.