Ms Nina's Debut Mixtape Is An Album You Can Cry & Dance To
What is the one thing Ms Nina wants the world to glean from her debut mixtape, Perreando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro? "I want the world to know that this is one percent of what I can do," she says with conviction on the phone from Spain.
One of the key faces of neoperreo, a reggaeton sub genre that translates to "new dance" and embraces women and queerness as much as the infectious reggaeton inspired beats it produces, Ms Nina writes highly dancable songs with lyrics that are at times hilarous, at times sexy, at times both—"Avocado and oil to make this butt grow," she sings in "Traketeo"—and collabs with names like Tomasa del Real, who coined the term neoperreo in their joint single "Y Dime."
Now, the Argentina-born, Spain-based singer, who ruled Tumblr with her pop culture collages before she grabbed a mic, has released her debut mixtape, a collection of songs inspired by a universally relatable topic: heartbreak and unrequited love.
The mixtape is as bold and determined as she is. Musically, it hits you with dembow rhythms, plus traces of other Latin movements like salsa and electro. Lyrically, It's here to let you know that Ms Nina won't succumb to dispair. Still present are the sexually empowering lyrics she has sung in singles prior. "If you have a girlfriend, I don't know why you're calling/ Tell her to get in my bed" she sings in "Coqueta," the mixtape's second track. More than anything, however, Perreando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro? is about Ms Nina—a self-professed disorganized person—proving to herself that she could get something out there.
"This is [only] one percent of what I can do," she says. "Because I know I can do a lot of things and much better. I made this mixtape because I needed to do it personally, like setting a goal. Because I was a very disastrous, disorganized person, and I said, 'I'm going to do it.'"
Below, Ms Nina opens up further about her empowering (yet intentionally vulnerable) debut, neoperreo, working with Tomasa del Real, her Latin roots and more.
How did you get your start in music?
Through a friend, who encouraged me. She recorded a song that I did for fun and from there, any time I had, I recorded at my friend's house, in any studio, and little by little I started making songs and became encouraged to record them and release them.
What about neoperreo, specifically?
I started making music and I chose reggaeton because I could play with words, I could dance, I wanted my music to be fun, to have fun. I listen to every style of music, but music that makes you dance, Latin music, I thought, "I want to do something like that" and be able to write lyrics, that could be funny and something to dance to so I chose that style of music.
Who are your influences?
There are many people who influence me. I listen to all kinds of music, but who has influenced me in my lyrics? Tego Calderon, Ñejo, many people. I have a playlist of all the people who inspire me, many artists. A lot of cumbia from Argentina that I'd listem to because I am Argentina. Cumbia, salsa, I do not know, many artists inspire me.
How did you meet Tomasa del Real, and what does that relationship mean to you?
She's like another friend. I met her in Barcelona, she was a tatoo artist, and since then we see each other and stay in touch.
There are a lot of collabs going on in reggaeton, several amongst women. You've collabed a lot with other women in neoperreo. Is it a special vibe, collaborating with women?
For me, whether I collaborate with a woman or a guy, I do not find one more important that the other. I believe people do, in my mixtape two of my girl friends sing and if there was a guy who I would have sent a song to and liked it, I would've put it in mixtape. It's cool to have more girls in the genre of urban music, because before, 10 years ago they had not, but I do not watch music if it's a woman or a man. If I like the person and it gives me good vibes, I always do it.
You're from Argentina, but now Spain-based. What made you decide to make that move?
I've lived in Madrid and know there's a huge hip-hop influence there; do you think neoperreo is leaving its own mark on the city?
There's always been reggaeton here in Madrid that's been made by Latin people, but there's also a new movement in Madrid, the Madrileña movement that began in the '80s, but now with reggaeton and trap. The truth is that there are many good artists who paint, who make music, who party and greatly enrich the musical culture of young people in Madrid.
J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Karol G's brand of reggaeton is seeing global popularity. Do you think that's where neoperreo is going?
I think so, but it's still very underground. Yes there are many people who follow it and listen it and every time it's making the community bigger.
How do you define neoperreo?
Tomasa coined that word; it's more her thing than mine. How I would define it is, it's the internet's reggaeton. It's an evolution of reggaeton. Everyone is welcomed at the parties where it plays no matter how you dress, who you are, it's a very open community and I think that's why it's also here, a lot of people are following it because everybody feels comfortable and everyone is welcomed. It's music that unites online and of which all artists come out of, that's how I would define it from the outside.
It feels like a genre that's very empowering to women.
Sometimes I do care about what people say. There are days that I wake up and feel a little sad and I see a comment or whatever, and it f***s up my day. I think it's stupid because that person does not know me, but I never was like that. At first I was a very insecure girl, very shy. I have grown a lot and I have advanced a lot. I am more secure.
Before, I kept quiet about things. And now I tell you something bothers me, politely. I do not care about people's opinion of my music or when they say that my music is s*** music. To that I say, "If you don't like [it], close your eyes, plug your ears or change the video, period." But you can't argue with everyone online because if you are a public person and you post something, obviously people will have something to say and say what they want.
So public people have to know that there are good things, but people will also criticize you and tell you who you are, what you do, good things, bad things. But I think that when you start to feel confident, that helps you. I only care about the opinion of my parents and my family and my friends, of people on the street. It matters.
A song that I liked a lot on the mixtape is "Te Doy" because with confidence you say, "Here is my body, I give it to you," but you also say, "Wait, but I'm not your girlfriend." So don't think you have a right to my body. Why it is important for you to have songs about consent and boundaries?
Because I see it like that. If I want to be sexy, go to a nightclub, show my tits, that does not give you the right to touch me or do what you want. If I let you do it, do it, if I do not, you can not do it. These [are the beliefs] I carry inside and unwittingly write in my music, in my lyrics, I write things that everyone interprets in their own way.
[And] I was raised like that, my mother raised me so that I am free and respect others, that I am a woman and that I can say what I want as long as it does not offend anyone. So I am like that by nature. I always say what I want and I do what I want, as long as I do not bust any balls doing it. The thing about "Te Doy" is that it's funny, the lyrics do not have much depth, but it's funny to say, "I give you, I give you this ass with love, I give you my blessing".
... I also talk about music as a woman, I talk about love, lack of love, the boy I like, that the boy is not going to laugh at me, that I miss my ex, for example.
Is there a message you wanted to send with this mixtape?
Yes, the mixtape is called Perreando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro because it was like a boom I had this last year that I was in love with someone and it went wrong. I was sad, I went out and went out partying and the next day I was hungover and was feeling bad, as it happens to everyone. Go out partying, you're fine, you're drunk, "I miss my ex," then you go home and you're hungover the other day crying, "I'm crap, I'm the worst." Perreando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro is something along these lines.
What do you want the world to learn about you through Perreando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro?
I want the world to know that this is [only] one percent of what I can do, because I know I can do a lot of things and much better. I made this mixtape because I needed to do it personally, like setting a goal. Because I was a very disastrous, disorganized person, and I said, "I'm going to do it." Because I wanted to put a project out that people can dance to and enjoy, but I'm looking forward to getting more singles that I have.
I'm already starting the second mixtape, and I want it to be much better. I like that people see this project that I was working on for months with my manager, who helped me, all the producers who are in it, the people who helped me, the studio and everything, and that this is only a little bit of what they see of Ms Nina. I'm very happy.