Alt.Latino's Favorites: The Songs Of 2017

"Lo Que Siento" by Cuco

"Lo Que Siento" is a crucial nexus of culture, language, identity and sound. Intersecting lines are found throughout this ethereal pop song filled with teen love bathed in heartbreak, oscillating in hybrid duality of Spanish and English and produced meticulously between drum machine-backed rhythms and melancholic trumpet-driven sounds. It's a pop song borrowing from the throes of R&B and Spanish baladas románticas.

Cuco — a 19-year-old self-funded independent artist hailing from Hawthorne, Calif. — holds two EPs with a combined 10 million plays. He, alongside friend and manager Doris Muñoz, is shifting dynamics of power in the music industry: Cuco writes, sings, produces, manages the sky-high user engagement of his social media accounts and tours sold-out dates across the country.

"Lo Que Siento" is more than a song — it's a space where listeners engage and identify, where the complexity of multilayered of the Latinx community is acknowledged. Cuco's output derails from a one-size-fits-all Latino identity, instead nurturing an essence of intersectionality and sound. He's like a star, moving through the galaxy at his own speed and direction.

"Ahora Me Llama" by Karol G feat. Bad Bunny

Karol G is in control of her sexual agency and identity in "Ahora Me Llama." A bass-heavy, unapologetic trap anthem to the power of femininity, soiled in hi-hats and heavy sub-bass, the song challenges hegemonic masculinity, singing about respect, love and sex-positive decisions. Karol G's debut album is appropriately titled Unstoppable, and echoes her experiences in creating her own world in a man's world.

In a male-dominated genre, Karol G firmly rattles trap music as space for thought and gender inclusivity. In the remix, the Colombian artist is joined by boricua bad boy and prodigious Latin trap king Bad Bunny. Both deliver a two-way transfer of energy celebrating a woman's decision to live under her own expectations. "Yo soy dueña de mi vida, a mí nadie me manda" ("I am the owner of my life, no one controls me") Karol G confidently states about the ownership, control and enjoyment of her life, femininity and sexuality.