meta-scriptUp Close & Personal: Duckwrth Talks Celebration Of 'SuperGood,' Respecting Black Artistry, "Insecure" & More | GRAMMY.com
Up Close & Personal: Duckwrth Talks Celebration Of 'SuperGood,' Respecting Black Artistry, "Insecure" & More

Duckwrth

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Up Close & Personal: Duckwrth Talks Celebration Of 'SuperGood,' Respecting Black Artistry, "Insecure" & More

We caught up with the South Los Angeles artist ahead of the August release of his debut studio album, 'SuperGood,' to talk new music, dream collaborations, celebrating Black music and artists, and more

GRAMMYs/Aug 5, 2020 - 12:09 am

Los Angeles-born left-field rapper/singer Duckwrth (born Jared Lee) has been making waves since he released his debut solo mixtape, I'M UUGLY, in 2016. Showcasing his expansive musical taste, playful lyrics and his mailable vocals and flow, the successful project led to a record deal with Republic Records, an opening spot for Anderson .Paak and a loyal, ever-growing fan base. An XTRA UGGLY Mixtape followed in 2017, with several tracks getting TV and film placement, including the ecstatic "MICHUUL.," which was featured on "Insecure" and "All American."

In May 2019, the "Bernal Heights" artist dropped THE FALLING MAN EP and now, this month, he'll be releasing his highly anticipated debut studio album, SuperGood. As he recently told us, the album has been a long time coming and now the timing is just right.

"I actually had the name for this album since 2013 and just the feeling of it, I've had it since 2013 but I never was in a right space with myself mentally and energy-wise to be able to present an album that felt like a celebration."

Related: GRAMMY Museum Launches Spotlight Saturdays Featuring Up-And-Coming Artists

GRAMMY.com continues their Up Close & Personal interview series (from home, via Zoom) with Duckwrth. Watch the full conversation above to hear him share more about SuperGood and its lead singles "Coming Closer" and "Find A Way," as well as his love of Issa Rae and "Insecure" and some of his dream collaborators (Rosalía is on the list!).

The "Crush" artist also talks about his vision for creating more Black animations (watch the music video for "Find A Way" below) and how the entertainment industry can better support Black artists.

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Read: Yvonne Orji On Her First-Ever HBO Comedy Special, Faith & Celebrating Black Joy

"I think musically, [what's needed] is just respect for Black artistry and being able to be placed in different places, like more Black artists in pop. That would be major. For me, I'm not heavy on pop, listening to pop all the time, but I do understand the importance of seeing a Lizzo in pop.

"That's important, and [so is] seeing more Black faces in pop music because that opens up the door for other artists to come after them and it becomes a norm. It doesn't have to be this conversation of, 'Oh, you can't put them there because they're Black.' It's that plus just circulating dollars in the Black community and helping them grow," Duckwrth added.

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Sacred Spaces: Rufus Wainwright, YUNGBLUD, Keb' Mo' And Others Reflect On The Independent Venues And Clubs That Changed Their Lives

4 Reasons Why Eminem's 'The Slim Shady LP' Is One Of The Most Influential Rap Records
Eminem

Photo: Sal Idriss/Redferns/GettyImages

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4 Reasons Why Eminem's 'The Slim Shady LP' Is One Of The Most Influential Rap Records

Eminem’s major label debut, 'The Slim Shady LP,' turns 25 on Feb. 23. The album left an indelible imprint on hip-hop, and introduced the man who would go on to be the biggest-selling artist of any genre in the ensuing decade.

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2024 - 03:44 pm

A quarter century has passed since the mainstream music world was first introduced to a bottle-blonde enfant terrible virtuoso who grabbed everyone’s attention and wouldn’t let go

But enough about Christina Aguilera.

Just kidding. Another artist also exploded into stardom in 1999 — one who would become a big enough pop star, despite not singing a note, that he would soon be feuding with Xtina. Eminem’s biting major label debut The Slim Shady LP turns 25 on Feb. 23. While it was Eminem's second release, the album was the first taste most rap fans got of the man who would go on to be the biggest-selling artist in any genre during the ensuing decade. It also left an indelible imprint on hip-hop.

The Slim Shady LP is a record of a rapper who was white (still a comparative novelty back in 1999), working class and thus seemingly from a different universe than many mainstream rappers in the "shiny suit era." And where many of those contemporaries were braggadocious, Eminem was the loser in his rhymes more often than he was the winner. In fact, he talked so much about his real-life childhood bully on the album that the bully ended up suing him.  

It was also a record that played with truth and identity in ways that would become much more difficult once Em became world famous. Did he mean the outrageous things he was saying? Where were the knowing winks, and where were they absent? The guessing games that the album forced listeners to play were thrilling — and made all the more intense by his use of three personas (Marshall Mathers the person; Eminem the battle rapper; and Slim Shady the unhinged alter ego) that bled into each other.

And, of course, there was the rhyming. Eminem created a dizzying array of complicated compound rhymes and assonances, even finding time to rhyme "orange" — twice. (If you’re playing at home, he paired "foreign tools" with "orange juice" and "ignoring skill" with "orange bill.")

While the above are reason enough to revisit this classic album, pinpointing The Slim Shady LP's influence is a more complicated task. Other records from that year — releases from Jay-Z, Nas, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, and even the Ruff Ryders compilation Ryde or Die Vol. 1 — have a more direct throughline to the state of mainstream rap music today. So much of SSLP, on the other hand, is tied into Eminem’s particular personality and position. This makes Slim Shady inimitable; there aren’t many mainstream rappers complaining about their precarious minimum wage job, as Em does on "If I Had." (By the time of his next LP, Em had gone triple-platinum and couldn’t complain about that again himself.)

But there are aspects of SSLP that went on to have a major impact. Here are a few of the most important ones.

It Made Space For Different Narratives In Hip-Hop

Before Kanye rapped about working at The Gap, Eminem rapped about working at a burger joint. The Slim Shady LP opened up space for different narratives in mainstream rap music. 

The Slim Shady LP didn't feature typical rags-to-riches stories, tales of living the high life or stories from the street. Instead, there were bizarre trailer-park narratives (in fact, Eminem was living in a trailer months after the record was released), admissions of suicidal ideation ("That’s why I write songs where I die at the end," he explained on "Cum on Everybody"), memories of a neglectful mother, and even a disturbing story-song about dumping the corpse of his baby’s mother, rapped to his actual child (who cameos on the song). 

Marshall Mathers’ life experience was specific, of course, but every rapper has a story of their own. The fact that this one found such a wide audience demonstrated that audiences would accept tales with unique perspectives. Soon enough, popular rappers would be everything from middle-class college dropouts to theater kids and teen drama TV stars.

The Album Explored The Double-Edged Sword Of The White Rapper

Even as late in the game as 1999, being a white rapper was still a comparative novelty. There’s a reason that Em felt compelled to diss pretty much every white rapper he could think of on "Just Don’t Give a F—," and threatened to rip out Vanilla Ice’s dreadlocks on "Role Model": he didn’t want to be thought of like those guys. 

"People don't have a problem with white rappers now because Eminem ended up being the greatest artist," Kanye West said in 2015. You can take the "greatest artist" designation however you like, but it’s very true that Eminem’s success meant a categorical change in the status of white rappers in the mainstream.

This turned out to be a mixed blessing. While the genre has not, as some feared, turned into a mostly-white phenomenon, America’s racial disparities are often played out in the way white rappers are treated. Sales aside, they have more room to maneuver artistically — playing with different genres while insulting rap a la Post Malone,  or even changing styles completely like Machine Gun Kelly — to commercial approbation. Black artists who attempt similar moves are frequently met with skepticism or disinterest (see André 3000’s New Blue Sun rollout, which was largely spent explaining why the album features no rapping). 

Sales are worth speaking about, too. As Eminem has repeatedly said in song, no small amount of his popularity comes from his race — from the fact that white audiences could finally buy music from a rapper who looked like them. This was, as he has also bemusedly noted, the exact opposite of how his whiteness worked for him before his fame, when it was a barrier to being taken seriously as a rapper. 

For better, worse, or somewhere in between, the sheer volume of white rappers who are currently in the mainstream is largely traceable to the world-beating success of The Slim Shady LP.

It Was Headed Towards An Odd Future

SSLP laid groundwork for the next generation of unconventional rappers, including Tyler, the Creator.

Tyler is a huge Eminem fan. He’s said that listening to Em’s SSLP follow-up The Marshall Mathers LP was "how I learned to rap." And he’s noted that Em’s Relapse was "one of the greatest albums to me." 

"I just wanted to rap like Eminem on my first two albums," he once told GQ. More than flow, the idea of shocking people, being alternately angry and vulnerable, and playing with audience reaction is reflected heavily on Tyler’s first two albums, Goblin and Wolf. That is the template The Slim Shady LP set up. While Tyler may have graduated out of that world and moved on to more mature things, it was following Em’s template that first gained him wide notice. 

Eminem Brought Heat To Cold Detroit

The only guest artist to spit a verse on The Slim Shady LP is Royce da 5’9". This set the template for the next few years of Eminem’s career: Detroit, and especially his pre-fame crew from that city, would be his focus. There was his duo with Royce, Bad Meets Evil, whose pre-SSLP single of "Nuttin’ to Do"/"Scary Movies" would get renewed attention once those same two rappers had a duet, smartly titled "Bad Meets Evil," appear on a triple-platinum album. And of course there was the group D12, five Detroit rappers including his best friend Proof, with whom Eminem would release a whole album at the height of his fame.

This was not the only mainstream rap attention Detroit received in the late 1990s. For one thing, legendary producer James "J Dilla" Yancey, was a native of the city. But Eminem’s explosion helped make way for rappers in the city, even ones he didn’t know personally, to get attention. 

The after-effects of the Eminem tsunami can still be seen. Just look at the rise of so-called "scam rap" over the past few years. Or the success of artists like Babyface Ray, Kash Doll, 42 Dugg, and Veeze. They may owe little to Em artistically, but they admit that he’s done great things for the city — even if they may wish he was a little less reclusive these days

Is Eminem's "Stan" Based On A True Story? 10 Facts You Didn't Know About The GRAMMY-Winning Rapper

GRAMMY Rewind: Lizzo Thanks Prince For His Influence After "About Damn Time" Wins Record Of The Year In 2023
Lizzo at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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GRAMMY Rewind: Lizzo Thanks Prince For His Influence After "About Damn Time" Wins Record Of The Year In 2023

Watch Lizzo describe how Prince’s empowering sound led her to “dedicate my life to positive music” during her Record Of The Year acceptance speech for “About Damn Time” at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2024 - 06:00 pm

Since the start of her career, four-time GRAMMY winner Lizzo has been making music that radiates positive energy. Her Record Of The Year win for "About Damn Time" at the 2023 GRAMMYs proved that being true to yourself and kind to one another always wins.

Travel back to revisit the moment Lizzo won her award in the coveted category in this episode of GRAMMY Rewind. 

"Um, huh?" Lizzo exclaimed at the start of her acceptance speech. "Let me tell you something. Me and Adele are having a good time, just enjoying ourselves and rooting for our friends. So, this is an amazing night. This is so unexpected."

Lizzo kicked off her GRAMMY acceptance speech by acknowledging Prince's influence on her sound. "When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music," she said. "This was at a time when positive music and feel-good music wasn't mainstream at that point and I felt very misunderstood. I felt on the outside looking in. But I stayed true to myself because I wanted to make the world a better place so I had to be that change."

As tracks like "Good as Hell" and "Truth Hurts" scaled the charts, she noticed more body positivity and self-love anthems from other artists. "I'm just so proud to be a part of it," she cheered.

Most importantly, Lizzo credited staying true to herself despite the pushback for her win. "I promise that you will attract people in your life who believe in you and support you," she said in front of a tearful audience that included Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in standing ovation, before giving a shout-out to her team, family, partner and producers on the record, Blake Slatkin and Ricky Reed

Watch the video above for Lizzo's complete acceptance speech for Record Of The Year at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind, and be sure to tune into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, airing live on the CBS Television Network (8-11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

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New Year's Songs: 16 Tracks To Give You A Fresh Start In 2024, From The Beatles To Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performs during night one of the Eras Tour in Kansas City in July 2023.

Photo: John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

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New Year's Songs: 16 Tracks To Give You A Fresh Start In 2024, From The Beatles To Taylor Swift

Whether you're looking to vibe with J Balvin or roar with Katy Perry, let these tracks welcome you to a prosperous and hopeful new year.

GRAMMYs/Dec 31, 2023 - 05:50 pm

The beginning of a new year often results in moments of reflection as well as anticipation about what lies ahead. And with the myriad of feelings that ensue upon New Year's Eve, music serves as a powerful source for both introspection and inspiration.

There are countless songs that give listeners a chance to reflect and resonate with the possibilities of what's yet to come. Whether it's the pulsingly hopeful beat of Jamie xx's "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)," the inspiring narrative of The Notorious B.I.G's "Juicy," or Elton John's pumped-up "I'm Still Standing," a good soundtrack is the perfect catalyst for starting a new year on the right note.

As you envision what the coming year has in store, enjoy this playlist from GRAMMY.com — curated not just to celebrate the moment the clock strikes 12, but to infuse the coming year with inspiration and cheer.

79.5 — "B.D.F.Q"

Inspired by singer Kate Mattison's experiences in Detroit, 79,5's "B.D.F.Q." is about perseverance in the face of a music industry marred by misogyny. Short for "B—, Don't F—ing Quit," "B.D.F.Q." amplifies a mood of independence and strength with the declaration, "They! Don't mean a thing/ Don't mean a thing, just do your thing!" While the message is timeless, "B.D.F.Q." will certainly amp you up for any challenges the new year presents.

The Beatles — "Here Comes The Sun"

Whether you spin the 1969 original or the reinvigorated 2019 mix, the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun,"  remains a classic symbol of continuation and hope. A track from the Fab Four's iconic Abbey Road album, this George Harrison composition is celebrated for its uplifting melody and serene lyrics that playfully describe a new dawn and brighter days ahead.

Elton John — "I'm Still Standing"

Elton John delivered an upbeat ode to durability and the ability to bounce back with "I'm Still Standing," a 1983 track that resonates 40 years on. Between its catchy melody and John's energetic performance (particularly in the beach-set music video), the song conveys a triumphant message about overcoming challenges and emerging stronger.

"Hamilton" — "My Shot"

Of the many dynamic numbers in Lin-Manuel Miranda's renowned musical "Hamilton," "My Shot" is arguably the most inspirational and universal. A powerfully charged manifesto that embodies ambition and determination — delivered with an electrifying blend of hip-hop and theatrical flair — "My Shot" celebrates seizing opportunities and making a mark. It's a welcome New Year's song choice for those compelled to channel their inner strength and embrace new challenges in the year ahead.

J Balvin — "6 AM" feat. Farruko

This vibrant reggaeton track from J Balvin's 2013 album La Familia encapsulates the spirit of spontaneity. Its infectious beat and catchy lyrics manifest as a celebration of lively nights and the adventures that unfold in the early after hours — hence, the 6 a.m. title. This one's for the night owls, who may see the sun rise at the turn of the new year.

Jamie xx — "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" feat. Young Thug, Popcaan

"I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" by Jamie xx is as upbeat and optimistic as hip-hop tracks come. Featuring Young Thug and Popcaan, the 2015 track melds elements of dance and reggae for an infectious ode to good times ahead — an enduring NYE sentiment.

Jimmy Chamberlin Complex — "Life Begins Again"

The title track of their 2005 album, "Life Begins Again"  is an intricate and evocative composition that blends elements of jazz and rock with a bit of emo sentiment. The track showcases Jimmy Chamberlin's exceptional drumming prowess while promising that life is cyclical — every day can be the first of your life with the right attitude.

John Lennon — "Just Like Starting Over"

With themes of rekindling love and starting anew, John Lennon's "[Just Like] Starting Over" is a fitting tribute to fresh starts and the enduring power of renewal in all aspects of life. And as the final single released while he was alive, it's a bittersweet testament to Lennon's enduring legacy.

Katy Perry — "Roar"

Katy Perry's "Roar," from her 2013 album Prism, is a proud declaration of self-empowerment and finding one's voice. An electrifying track with a booming chorus and spirited lyrics, it embodies the journey from silence to strength. Its message of embracing one's true self and speaking out makes it an inspiring celebration of new beginnings.

Lisa LeBlanc — "Pourquoi faire aujourd'hui"

For those looking to give themselves a little break as the new year begins, Lisa LeBlanc's "Pourquoi faire aujourd'hui" may be the song for you. A single from her 2021 album Chiac Disco, the energetic, disco-inspired French language track features playful lyrics about procrastination, with its titular line asking, "Why do today what you could do tomorrow?" — starting the year off in laid-back fashion. If tu ne parles pas Français, LeBlanc's catchy dance beats are fuel for a joyful New Year's Eve atmosphere.

Lizzo — "Good As Hell"

Like many of Lizzo's songs, "Good as Hell" captures a vibrant, empowering spirit. It celebrates self-care and resilience in the face of adversity, blending a lively rhythm with Lizzo's dynamic vocals. Its uplifting lyrics and infectious energy encourage a sense of confidence and self-appreciation — a powerful anthem of positivity any time of the year.

Nina Simone — "Feeling Good"

A timeless classic first made famous by Nina Simone, "Feeling Good" is a powerful anthem of rejuvenation and hope. Simone's jazz-infused rendition was released in 1965; its resolute delivery captures a spirit of personal transformation and empowerment, offering an enduring sentiment going into the new year: "It's a new dawn/ It's a new day/ It's a new life for me, ooh/ And I'm feeling good."

Notorious B.I.G. — "Juicy"

Although The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" is a personal account of the late rapper's rise to the top, the song encapsulates a spirit of triumph that can inspire anyone with a dream. From its bouncy beat to the iconic "If you don't know, now you know" hook, "Juicy" will have you reaching for the stars.

Otis Redding & Carla Thomas — "New Year's Resolution"

Memphis legends Otis Redding and Carla Thomas' aptly titled 1967 album King & Queen is notable for being the final studio release before Redding passed away that December. The album also spawned a NYE classic: "New Year's Resolution." With lyrics that explore the concept of ​​making resolutions and embracing change in the new year. While the song lacks Redding's trademark soulful wail, "New Year's Resolution" is temperate and contemplative — a reprieve from the let-it-all-out powerful Stax sound to ease your way into the new year.

Peter Cat Recording Co. — "Portrait of a Time"

Both modern and nostalgic, Peter Cat Recording Co.'s "Portrait of a Time" blends jazz, and indie rock for an eclectic and nostalgic, introspective jam. The song carries a reflective mood of contemplation and transition, with lyrics that encourage leaving "confusion and darkening clouds" in the past and hopping in the Lamborghini of life for a new wild ride.

Taylor Swift — "New Year's Day"

After all of the bold, empowered statements on Taylor Swift's 2017 album reputation, she closes the LP with a tender, piano-driven ballad that captures the quiet intimacy and hopeful sentiments of a new year. Aptly titled "New Year's Day," the song's reflective and heartfelt lyrics contemplate love and loyalty found in life's fleeting moments. Swift's delicate vocal delivery and the track's gentle melody evoke a sense of warmth and enduring connection, making it a poignant choice to embrace the new year with a sense of closeness.

TikTok's Musical Class Of 2023: 8 Artists Who Transformed Virality Into Stardom, From Tyla to FIFTY FIFTY

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Latin Music
(From left) Usted Señalemelo, Juanes, Peso Pluma, Karol G and Nicki Nicole

Photos: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy; Borja B. Hojas/Getty Images; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy; Patricia J. Garcinuno/WireImage; Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

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2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Latin Music

2023 was a transformative year for Latin music: Música mexicana expanded globally; urbano music continued its dominance and innovative sounds broke boundaries. Read on for five trends showcasing the breadth of Latin music's influence.

GRAMMYs/Dec 18, 2023 - 02:51 pm

2022 was the year of Rosalía’s Motomami and Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti — two groundbreaking albums that expanded both the artistic scope and mainstream appeal of Latin music. How do you top that?

As it turns out, 2023 had a number of surprises in store: the emergence of música mexicana on an international scale, but also the further globalization of Latin sounds and new developments in urbano music, which continues to gain in influence and sophistication. It was also a particularly prolific year — with hundreds of singles, EPs and albums expanding the scope of Latin across genres and formats.

Here are some of the notable trends that emerged during the past 12 months.

Finally, Música Mexicana Gets The Chance To Shine

Reggaetón and urbano were at the forefront of the Latin music tsunami that began to take hold of the entire planet a good three years ago. During that time, many insiders pondered if the huge field of so-called regional Mexican music would ever enjoy such levels of exposure. Turns out there was nothing regional about it.

Far from stagnating, the genre evolved with the rise of the sparse, melancholy sound known as sad sierreño, and the swagger of hip-hop informing the zeitgeist of young artists like Natanael Cano and Junior H.

2023 will be forever remembered as the year when música mexicana connected with the world at large, and it happened mostly through one song: "Ella Baila Sola," the collaboration between Jalisco singer Peso Pluma and Cali group Eslabón Armado — a tune whose spiraling groove is so buoyant and infectious, it transcends borders. The subversive duet of Bad Bunny and Grupo Frontera on mega-hit "un x100to" didn’t hurt either, and the movement gained strength with Peso Pluma’s excellent third LP, as well as the talents of young stars such as Fuerza Regida, Gabito Ballesteros and Yahritza y Su Esencia.

When It Comes To Latin Rock, Argentina Is Still At The Forefront

From Charly García and Luis Alberto Spinetta to Soda Stereo and Babasónicos, Argentina boasts a fierce tradition for generating legendary rock albums. Even though the South American nation has embraced the present with such urbano stars as Bizarrap, Duki and Nicki Nicole, there will always be a place of honor reserved for good old fashioned rock’n’roll in Argentina’s clubs and recording studios.

2023 was no exception. Hailing from the city of La Plata, Él Mató a un Policía Motorizado released Súper Terror. Their first full length album since 2017's La Síntesis O’Konor, the new LP includes atmospheric ballads like the gorgeous "Medalla de Oro." Another top contender is Tripolar, the third effort by Mendoza indie darlings Usted Señalemelo.

Also of note: Lo Más Cercano a Caer, the stunning debut by Nenagenix. Fronted by singer Martina Sampietro, the band has dreamed up a ferocious collection of songs with inspired touches of grunge and shoegaze.

Pop Stardom Is A Young Artist’s Game…

Popular music has always reflected the combustion and adrenaline of youth, but the immediacy of the digital era has heightened this fact. It seems that the transition from self-taught teens uploading their demos in TikTok to fully fledged stars performing at Coachella has become even more rapid.

Some of the most successful Latin artists climbing the 2023 charts have had only a couple of years to transition into pop icon status — and the vulnerability of their emotional state is often expressed in their music. From the reggaetón-fueled erotic narratives of 21 year-old Madrid rapper Quevedo ("PUNTO G") to the bachata-pop warmth of 19 year-old Mexican/American DannyLux ("MI HOGAR," with maye) and the confessional urbano narratives of 22-year-old Argentine vocalist Tiago PZK (the TINI duet "Me Enteré"), many young artists found the global platform where they could freely express their longings and dreams.

...But The Veterans Have Still Plenty To Say

Years of accolades have not dimmed the creative vision of veteran Latin artists. In the case of Juanes, a marital crisis during the pandemic inspired Vida Cotidiana — arguably the Colombian singer’s best album to date. Just listen to the gritty guitar textures of the majestic "Gris" and the spiraling Afro lines of "Cecilia," a sun-is-shining-again duet with Juan Luis Guerra. Vida Cotidiana is nominated for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album alongside Cabra's MARTÍNEZ, Leche De Tigre by Diamante Eléctrico, Natalia Lafourcade's De Todas Las Flores and EADDA9223 by Fito Paez.

At 46, Shakira finds herself at the top of her game, with major pop culture moments like her Bizarrap collaboration — the most epic revenge song of the year and a Latin GRAMMY winner— and the jagged edges of "TQG," her duet with KAROL G.

Having developed a tradition of recording solo excursions in Paris, Zoé frontman León Larregui explored his hazy psychedelic mystique on PRISMARAMA, the Mexican singer’s excellent — and first self-produced — third outing.

The Urbano Groove May Never Run Out Of Steam

You may think that global audiences would have tired of the ubiquitous reggaetón beat. But the music of Puerto Rico — just like traditional salsa in the ‘70s – has a gravitas that rewards longer attention spans. Fittingly for a genre known for its prolific work ethic, some of the biggest names in urbano released albums in 2023, and none of them disappoint.

One listen to the refined melody of "MÓNACO" — like a reggaetón take on a James Bond theme — is enough to realize that Bad Bunny’s creative streak hasn’t slowed down since he reimagined the Latin pop atlas with Un Verano Sin Ti. Known for his honeyed dance hits, Ozuna put out an EP (Afro) and an album (Cosmo), including the synth-pop magic of "Vocation," with producer David Guetta.

Last but not least, KAROL G’s MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO demonstrates on luminous tracks like "PROVENZA" and "CAIRO" that her work with fellow Colombian producer Ovy on the Drums is one of the defining artistic partnerships of the decade. MAÑANA is nominated for Best Música Urbana Album at the 2024 GRAMMYs alongside Rauw Alejandro's SATURNO and Tainy's DATA.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Hip-Hop