Julyssa Lopez

The music comes fast and furious into Alt.Latino World Headquarters. The first half of 2019 saw just as much amazing new music as any other year; it feels as if the bar keeps raising not just every year, but every six months.

It's not enough to make list after list. The Turning the Tables project seeks to suggest alternatives to the traditional popular music canon, and to do more than that, too: to stimulate conversation about how hierarchies emerge and endure. This year, Turning the Tables considers how women and non-binary artists are shaping music in our moment, from the pop mainstream to the sinecures of jazz and contemporary classical music. Our list of the 200 Greatest Songs By Women+ offers a soundtrack to a new century. This series of essays takes on another task.

When Carla Reyna was starting out in Monterrey's rough-and-tumble world of underground hip-hop, she stuck out far more than she fit in. Barely 5'6", she was a diminutive, light-skinned and queer teenager plunging into a bawdy and heavily masculine scene. Still, she often had more bluster than emcees twice her size — so much, in fact, that after she performed the first song she ever wrote, a girl approached her, practically entranced. "Why did you only do one song?" she asked. Reyna explained it was the only one she had, and the girl instructed her: "Make more!"

Rarely does bifurcation sound so intertwined. El Origen, a collaborative EP released last month, is like looking at the Andes from two different angles at the exact same time. Rodrigo Gallardo and Nicola Cruz's visions exist on alternate, yet intrinsically connected, planes.