Years after the global mainstreaming of reggaeton, the pervasive – and frankly cringe-worthy – criticisms leveled against the genre as irredeemably misogynistic and homophobic have overstayed their welcome. While at times justified, these outdated generalizations overlook the vibrant diversity blossoming in the reggaeton underground, where women and queers are drastically rewriting their narratives within the greater urbano storyline. For an overwhelmingly successful example, look no further than the gleeful promiscuousness of Tomasa del Real’s “Ella Quiere Culiar” – the recent Deltatron and El Licenciado-produced single off her sophomore album TDR. The cornucopia of culo-shaking found on both the track and in its accompanying video expose these complaints as little more than petty naysaying rooted in antiquated taboos surrounding sexuality.
Describing TDR via press release, del Real envisions the album as, “A mix of the romantic and extreme perreo.” But that’s an understatement.
TDR is unflinching in its raunchiness, and may be initially perceived as gratuitously smutty. However, by the end of its 32-minute run, the Chilean queen of bellaqueo will have guided every body-rolling listener through a fully articulated statement on guilt-free sexual desire and consent. The pearl-clutching background moans on “Perrea Conmigo,” and the near-outraged tone of “Quiere Que Me Tape,” boldly remind the audience that women’s bodies and sexuality are never to be shrouded in shame again.
Nowhere is del Real as confidently in control of her body as on “Braty Puti,” which features guest vocals from Puerto Rican vixen Eli Fantasy and production from Mista Greenz and reggaeton high priest DJ Blass. “Si soy la más Puti, lo soy por que quiero,” she declares without so much as a hint of bashfulness – her sexuality not a costume worn for the benefit of male consumers, but a powerful weapon wielded to tremendously empowering effect.
Flashes of the reggaeton romántico del Real alludes to appear throughout the second half of TDR, particularly in Geeflowllc-produced tracks “Contigo” and “Tu Perdición,” – the latter featuring Chilean neoperreo upstart Fabien. While providing a palette cleanser for the album’s largely R-rated energy, the tracks also underscore del Real’s willingness to bring young blood into the fold. Features from Peruvian-American newcomer TECH GRL on “Ella Quiere Culiar” and Argentine producer DJ Sustancia on “Y Nos Vamos” add youthful effervescence to TDR, while winning collaborations with established powerhouses like Ceaese, Brun OG and DJ Blass reaffirm her status as a big leaguer in the making.
In the short year since the release of her explosive debut Bellaca del Año, Tomasa del Real has been hard at work touring the world and delivering high profile performances on enormous stages at Coachella, Lollapalooza Chile and EDC Mexico. But as neoperreo inches ever closer to the mainstream, its clear the movement remains a family-based affair. This new reggaeton order is perhaps best defined by the gargantuan “Los Dueños del Perreo,” which features a smattering of Cono Sur talent including Ceaese, Galanjah, Fabien and DJ Sustancia. More than a bop, the song is an outlandish flex. Neoperreo doesn’t belong to Tomasa del Real anymore; it belongs to all of us.
Listen to TDR here: