Sexual agency is at the root of a neoperreo’s bellaqueo – it’s a feminist proclamation the reggaeton offshoot’s female artists lean heavily into, and an obvious reminder that, unlike the male gaze dominating much of its parent genre, they’re the ones in control here. But the ethos on Perreando por Fuera, Llorando por Dentro, the debut mixtape from Spain by-way-of Argentina’s Ms Nina, the messaging goes beyond sex positivity (but yes, it’s still got plenty of that) and into other feminist ethos that make for surprisingly well-rounded guidance – neoperreo life philosphy, basically.
On title alone, Ms Nina references emotional and mental health. Throughout, perreo – among other measures – is a tool for soul-soothing. On “Coqueta” she’s dancing hard enough to rip her pants, shrugging off the feels by “siempre culiando, nuna llorando,” and meanwhile fortifying her own self-esteem (“si me da igual si te caigo mal”). She follows with a more direct address on “Resaca,” confronting the confusion and frustration of an unexpected low: “Me levante triste otra vez/ Y yo no se por qué/ Si ya lo tengo todo/ Vaya estupidez.” But in cooking for herself, admiring her own body and, later on — again — perreando heavy, she’s alleviated.
Perreando is somewhat escapist, at first thought: a ‘let’s drink, party, and forget the bullshit’ kind of self-medicating. But Ms Nina employs her mixtape to flesh out what’s fueling the perreo, the degree of love and respect for oneself that’s necessary to be fully equipped to get the most of of twerking-as-liberation.
And undoubtedly, boundaries are critical: There’s few acts more night-ruining than the unwanted, relentless, and sometimes aggressive attention from a stranger while perreando sola or with friends. By presenting her culo with full, explicit consent on “Te Doy,” Ms Nina inadvertently highlights its ugly opposite: the unconsentual advance. She’s deliberately inviting partners — and without saying it directly, the listener understand that if she were not, there would be a problem. She maintains her grip on “Gata Fina,” a sex-positive track where she is utterly in control of her own pleasure: “Cambia de postura/ Me duela la espalda/ Y cuanda acabas, te vas pa tu casa.”
Misogyny is complex, and it’s not always so clear-cut: In heterosexual relationships, go-to insults ike the “crazy ex” are the kind of sexist tropes that are harder for men to understand as problematic, and a symptom of deeper issues. On the salsa-tinged “La Diabla,” rather than explain, there’s a reclaiming: “Siempre soy la mala/ de la novela/ Por eso el me dice qué yo soy una diabla.” (That line is appropriately sung by guest María Villar — now operating as her alter ego María Escarmiento – who sparked a social debate during her recent stint on Spanish reality singing competition Operación Triunfo after wanting to omit a line from a Mecano song that, depending on who’s singing it, could be considered homophobic.)
In between those choruses, Ms Nina points to the male fragility that’s often at the root of a misogynist defaming: This person is really just angry because she doesn’t consistently rapidly respond to his attempts at contact, because hello, she’s busy making her money (another source of emasculation for a misogynist male).
Returning to unabashed sexuality on “Ms Pinga,” this time Ms Nina seems to be smirking, reveling in the power her perreo over a partner, meanwhile endearingly referring to herself as a gordita, saying she’s about more than eating pizza and insuinating she wants to something else instead. (Cue the trumpeting of an elephant.)
Bay Area sad girl La Favi guests on “El Consejo” to dispatch in tandem with Ms Nina a warning to overconfident, entitled fuckbois who ever doubted they’d hit and surpass their goals. Sonically, it’s not a melancholy number, but instead an intimidating one: “No te debo nada a ti, que to lo que yo tengo ha sido gracias a mi,” La Favi reminds.
And among the things Ms Nina has is a pool – seriously, “La Piscina,” the mixtape’s slower-paced, final track, is about asking someone to come swim in her pool. But, considering the overt sexuality of neoperreo, it’s likely that in this almost-ballad she’s alluding to something else, whether it’s a metaphorical pool, or maybe simply that they’re not going to be doing much actual swimming.
The only thing Perreando por Fuera, Llorando por Dentro is lacking — if we’re considering it a full, well-rounded feminist perreo philiosophy – is the active inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community, something Ms Nina has been known for in the past. Still, the mixtape is a foundational work, an establishing of her ethos and what neoperreo means to her. We can only hope that at her next perreo party, Spanish artist King Jedet, with whom Nina collaborated two years ago on the super-fun and empowering “Reinas,” as well as other queer femme artists, are also extended invites.
Stream Perreando por Fuera, Llorando por Dentro here: