Ever since claiming the crown as the king of Spanish remixes last year (see his brilliant reimagining of “Hotline Bling” and “My Love” for reference), Fuego has increasingly ventured toward American-style hip-hop while staunchly touting his Dominican roots. In fact, his latest full-length project Fireboy Forever 2 (released in January) became the most trap-leaning affair of Fuego’s career thus far. With the infectious Sango-produced “Se Me Nota” and a remix of “35 Pa Las 12” featuring J Balvin, the singer/MC has been thrust into the consciousness of those who have a taste for bachata- and mambo-tinged gutter beats.
So who better to call on than PXXR GVNG’s Steve Lean to continue the momentum? The duo has just unleashed “Como Kobe,” a disarmingly melodic but still hi hat-laden new loosie about living a baller’s life. On the track, Fuego alternates between a stilted, punchline-y flow (“Soy como Tony/Me gusta mucho el money”) and a more rapid-fire delivery that is typical of myriad trap offerings. He’s even making full use of ad-libs here, because who can resist a good “ey” or “skrrt skrrt”? Fuego makes it clear he’s “ganando como Kobe” with a Maserati, private jet, and a lady who’s eager to be his ride or die.
The Barcelona-based Lean has been crafting Atlanta-style bangers for the boys of PXXR GVNG for the past few years, unquestionably a key part of their wild success in their native Spain. Lean is also a member of Southside’s 808 Mafia production crew, which is responsible for a mind-blowing discography of 2010s trap hits, including contributions to Drake & Future’s What a Time to Be Alive. The cross-Atlantic connection between Lean and Atlanta’s thriving trap scene as well as Fuego’s continued dabbling in a Dominican-American hybrid style are further markers of a larger shift. Spanish-speaking artists are becoming more widely present in hip-hop (often without the use of a perreo beat), as the listening habits of both Latino listeners and mainstream hip-hop fans have changed.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Fuego is also aiming to continue his reign as the Spanish remix don this week. He’s just dropped a new visual for his Yo Gotti & Young Thug flip, “Rihanna.” The video for the track, which dropped in September, features Fuego on a mission to get his money back from a two-timing promoter. In the process, he enlists his own “Rihanna” (played by model Zashia Santiago) to entrap his debtor and even do the final deed of finishing the sucker off. Bitch better have my money, indeed.