@ The Spot, New York City
Don't Hate Her Cause She's a Dominican Princesa
Maluca, the Dominican mami rapera, has been MTV Iggy’s very own mythical unicorn — we’ve wanted to see her forever, but the one time we had the chance, she never appeared! We patiently waited all night during the CMJ festival and she totally stood the Santos Party House crowd up. Did she really exist, we wondered, or was she actually another virtual cyborg artist cooked up by the Mad Decent team?
So we were thrilled to finally see her do her thing, and it’s OFFICIAL! She is no hologram, and we are louca for Maluca. She owned the stage last Thursday at The Spot, a pop-up venue in downtown Manhattan. With her dance moves (In Living Color-style), her themes (her own princesa awesomeness) and her delivery (kind of drag queen-y), she repped Dominicana mujeres hard. Just when we’re getting tired of New York City, Maluca reminds us that above 125th St, it’s still banging.
Maluca jumped onstage in four-inch platform creeper boots, and the model-proportioned rapper and singer showed the crowd what she was about – attitude, goofiness, and most of all, crunching up some ghettotech. With the help of DJ Luther, a happy camper behind the decks, Maluca tore up some merengue, cumbia, and whatever tropical bass flavors you might wanna taste. But her truest influence was Bronx post-punk Latinas ESG, whose stripped down basslines and bossy attitude she brought from 1981 to 2011.
Maluca (full name Maluca Mala, real name Natalie Yepez) played tracks from her saboroso mixtape China Food, as well as a few others that were sadly unfamiliar to us. How could we have lived without hearing her call out “Poser POSER POSER!” to the “mofo who don’t wanna wife me”? Then she had the crowd rapping along to “Lola,” her latest single and a ghettotech cut that we have heartily approved. “Tigeraso,” her song about bad boy street swag, rocked live, but the subject matter – dissing guys left and right because they are all over you — kind of went over dudes’ heads. A live Twitter update, projected on a wall during the show, read, “Landed @TheSpot…vagina hunting.” Ai, papi.
Let’s talk style. Maluca took the stage in a look we’ll call Alexander Wang does Scandinavian Minnie Mouse. A double-bun like Princess Leia crowned her head, fringed with fake white bangs, to complement the series of buckles ringing her knee-high boots. Imagine that being hot, cause it was. She actually made us muse, while being pushed around by the dance-happy crowd, whether straw-colored bang extensions might be worth looking into. People ripping off her style is just part of daily life for this icona in the making – she wore Coke cans as hair rollers in her “Tigeraso” music video, and about a minute later, Lady Gaga happened to rock the same look in her vid for “Telephone.” Quelle coincidence.
And did we mention the choreography? Maluca vogued in synchronicity with her backup dancers, who were garbed in Freddy Krueger masks and size giant clothing. In “Hector” a song about ignoring the haters, and naturally invoking the forces of nature, she intoned “Luna…Sol…Tierra…FUEGOOOOOOOO!” and I definitely felt the winds change in the room. It might have had to do with the football huddle that Maluca made with her dancers in the middle of the number, casting spells and whatnot.
Just before leaving the stage, she shouted out her upcoming album Massive Pow Pow, which is I believe is what Dominican mommies threaten to do to their misbehaving kids, and promises to be a hit. When she was gone, Maluca had the crowd begging, “Uno mas! Uno mas!” But whatever, this Dominican princess was done.
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the great openers, from Brazilian Brooklynite Zuzuka Poderosa, whose baile beats and crazy lyrics had the crowd going crazy, to the Panama-repping, Californian rap duo Los Rakas and their dancehall vibes. For grooving, dancing, and hooking up – we heard the tropical soundtrack that night.
If you want more, check out our slideshow of the sabor-tastic evening!
Photo Credit: MTV Iggy/Michael Alexander