Our star of the year and Bronx native, Cardi B, consistently expresses her love for Dominican urban music on her social media platforms. Most recently the rapper, who happens to be partly of Dominican descent, collaborated with one of the island’s top artists, El Alfa.
Last Friday, the duo dropped both the song and video to their new Spanish track, “Mi Mami,” and their throngs of fans weighed in online with mixed feelings.
The artists teased the collaboration weeks ago and many were looking forward to hearing Cardi rap over a dembow track. Dembow is an upbeat style of music created in the Dominican Republic that incorporates dancehall, reggae, and hip-hop — it’s also the genre El Alfa dominates in.
When the aesthetically pleasing video dropped, however, dembow fans were surprised at the fact that the song was very slow-paced, and that El Alfa’s lyrics were quite mediocre.
Although the video reached 5.1 million views over the weekend, Alfa fans and dembow critics were disappointed: They felt he blew his chance for international stardom. Alfa’s comments received negative feedback. It was a different sentiment on Cardi’s comments, which was filled with positive comments.
The “Money” rapper, whose Invasion of Privacy debuted at No. 1 in August, took the conversation to Instagram Live where she explained in Spanish that she ultimately wants to see her people (Dominicans) do well. She said, as she has in the past, dembow has the potential to make it mainstream, and she wants that representation in awards shows like the Latin Billboard Awards, The Latin Grammys and Premios Lo Nuestro.
The new mom expressed a deep understanding of the lyrical ability most Dominican rappers have and said they’re just as talented as those coming from places like Puerto Rico and Colombia.
She also went on to explain the deciding factor in choosing the beat: “We thought: Let’s play the game the way it’s played. Let’s do it how they [international artists] do. We will get our foot in the door and then we will hit them with a dembow.”
Since there’s a lack of mainstream dembow exposure, the two believed dropping a song that could be considered strictly reggaetón or trap-like would be a great start.
Cardi is eager to see dembow artists like La Insuperable, Lirico en la Casa and Shelow Shaq receiving nominations without changing their beats.
She enthusiastically switched to English saying, “I feel l like dembow is good music, the rappers rap extremely well and I don’t understand why dembow is not as mainstream as trap-reggaetón.”
Her future dembow collab tease has many listeners excited for what’s to come and music critics calling her the new leader of the Dominican urban genre. Her vision is becoming reality: El Alfa became the first urban artist and Dominican resident to reach No. 1 on Youtube’s trending videos.