This week's Alt.Latino playlist is packed with percussive tracks, including rustic takes on reggaeton, classical flute juxtaposed with trap beats and romantic jingles livened with spoken word.
At the bottom of this page is the playlist, as part of a series of NPR Music's favorite Latin songs, updated weekly on Spotify. Listen and read through our weekly hot takes here.
Ms Nina feat. Tomasa del Real, "Y Dime"
Make no mistake: neoperreo is for the women. On "Y Dime," Argentinian Ms Nina and Chilean Tomasa del Real flex their power as DIY pioneers while celebrating the same sexual prowess often associated with classic reggaeton.
"Te agarro y te doy rakatá," Tomasa offers against a bachatón-inflected backbeat before the two clarify that this proposition doesn't include traditional feminine domestic bliss: "Se lo hago bacán, pero no cocino / Sabes por las uñas de tu gata fina."
Born quintessentially of the Internet, neoperreo fuses a digital, public sense of self that is unashamed and strives to be inclusive of all identities. Released on independent staple label Nacional Records, highlights the strides reggaeton is taking not only on YouTube and on the radio, but in the freakier, warehousier corners of the Internet. — Stefanie Fernández
Sky, J Balvin, Jhay Cortez, MadeinTYO, "Bajo Cero"
Songwriter-producer Sky (Alejandro Ramírez) arguably possesses the monopoly the world's most ubiquitous, stylized reggaeton production as J Balvin's right-hand since the La Familia days a decade ago. Last summer, he made his first foray into lead artist territory with his single "Karma" featuring Balvin and Ozuna, and now delivers ice-cold production and verse on "Bajo Cero," a sauntering trap tune with old friends Balvin and Jhay Cortez as well as an English verse from rapper MadeinTYO. A flute flutters in and out of the chorus that, with the help of the unspecified-high-stakes-bar-situation in the video, elevates Balvin's pining melody to Blade Runner levels of ambiance and cool-toned sound and color. — Stefanie Fernández
Frank Garcia Y Su Son Samario, "Pequeñas Poesías"
Frank Garcia was named after Frank Sinatra by his father. Like a character from a novel by fellow Colombian Gabriel García Márquez, Garcia in fact eventually fulfilled his destiny by becoming a singer in the idyllic beach town of Santa Marta. By 8 he was singing folkloric music, but when his beloved mother passed when Frank was 13, he turned inward and started putting his emotions on paper.
"Pequeñas Poesías" is the first single from his debut album as a leader after cutting his teeth as a musician in Colombia's competitive national music scene. The easy going texture of his voice is a perfect companion for the easygoing Afro Cuban (salsa) groove of this story of infatuation. An impressive first glimpse at a musician we're going to keep an eye on. — Felix Contreras
The film Roma continues to impress after it received 10 Academy Award nominations this week. To add to that juggernaut, the film's director, Alfonso Cuarón, has teamed up with some folks from the music world to create and album called Music Inspired By The Film Roma.
The complete album is to be released on Feb. 8 and we get a sneak preview with a single released by Beck called "Tarantula," a song that finds the vocalist surrounded by a lush string arrangement and a choir of voices on a track that hints at the loneliness displayed by the lead character in the film. Other artists featured on the upcoming album include an eclectic roster of artists ranging from Ibeyi to Patti Smith. — Felix Contreras
This playlist is updated weekly.