Infectious hits and charismatic delivery indicate strong potential from the Argentinian singer tipped for superstardom.
The male-dominated Latin rap and reggaeton scene has been ruled by the likes of Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Justin Quiles to name a few… until now. Nicki Nicole, Cazzu and María Becerra are among those paving the way for a new generation female stars in Argentina, breaking down macho barriers in their rapid ascent.
Becerra first caught global attention following her collaboration with J Balvin on Qué Más Pues. Today the 21-year-old is the most streamed artist from Argentina in the world.
Her first full release stands at 11 tracks and a select number of Latin stars also feature. They lend their talents and star appeal to the release, easing in the newcomer.
Some collaborations stick better than others. For instance, the opening song, the trap-style Animal ft. Cazzu has potential to grow but never develops beyond than the initial hook. That being said, the lyrics are deliciously unapologetic and dark: “Tiene un par de muertos en el cementerio” (“She has a couple of dead in the cemetery.” The unequivocal tone is clear: “Ella va de caza, es su instinto animal” (“She hunts, it’s her animal instinct”). Becerra calls the shots now.
Producer Big One is at the forefront of the release and he is name-checked in every song. Acaramelao is more experimental; piano and brass blend the sounds of R&B and salsa into a flirty love song. The video also shows the singer’s talent as a charismatic and captivating performer, even when just dancing alone on a set.
However, the collaboration with Venezuelan singer Danny Ocean on No Eres Tú Soy Yo plays it safe and relies too heavily on the repetitive tap of the reggaeton beat to carry it through.
Cazame ft. Tiago PZK is the standout hit (also reviewed in Picks of the Month). It’s slick, catchy and effortlessly sexy. Equally as strong is the upbeat break up banger Wow Wow (Ft. Becky G). “Una vez me desperté/ No estaba más a mi lado” (“One day I woke up and you weren’t by my side”), while this opening could spell the recipe for heartbreak, the witty follow up puts a halt to any self-pity: “Pensé: Qué suerte, por fin esta historia se ha acabado” (“I thought that’s lucky, this story is finally over.”)
Slower songs, such as Cerquita de Ti and Episodios, express the singer’s softer and more vulnerable side, showing her a versatile range over silky and melancholy melody lines.
Overall, this is a promising debut album and it’s leaps and bounds ahead of her debut EP 222. Animal propels María Becerra towards the big leagues, ready to challenge the status quo and take on the heavyweights of Latin music.
- SONGWRITING4/5 Pretty greatRefreshingly direct and often witty lyrics in many of the upbeat songs. Meanwhile the slower numbers, such as Episodios and Cerquita de Ti, feature some lovely melody writing.
- PRODUCTION3/5 DecentProducer Big One works towards honing Maria's urban pop style with some interesting touches.
- VIBES3/5 DecentAnimal showcases Becerra's versatility as an artist and her ability to write and perform a hit. It's a promising sign of things to come as the artist continues to develop her signature sound to stand out in the crowd.