The final couple of weeks have marked a few of the most gigantic, game-changing moments in Trueno’s profession. First, the 20-year-old Argentinean rapper was singled out by Damon Albarn, who introduced him onstage on the Quilmes Rock in Buenos Aires earlier this month and had him freestyle to “Clint Eastwood” for 1000’s of individuals. “It was unbelievable,” he says on a latest Zoom name in Spanish. “I grew up listening to Gorillaz, and it means quite a bit to me to have the ability to showcase Argentinean rap at that degree.”
Then, final Friday, Trueno put out his new album, Bien o Mal, a mission that takes inspiration from old-school hip-hop from the U.S. whereas celebrating traditions from Argentina and Latin America. It’s additionally a deeply politically and socially engaged LP that outlines struggles occurring throughout the continent. Splitting the tracks between two sides, “The Dangerous” and “The Good,” Trueno raps about dictatorships, financial hardships, crime, and inequality throughout 14 songs, all whereas urging individuals to face up and rise collectively. “I wished embody these two sides to have this conceptual through-line between the dangerous first after which the great,” he says. “It’s the concept of protesting right into a celebration.”
Whereas the mission is strikingly mature for an artist so younger, it’s not altogether stunning coming from Trueno. He was born into Argentina’s hip-hop traditions; his father is the Uruguay-born rapper Pedro “Peligro” Palacios, a staple in Argentina’s rap and hardcore scene within the Nineties. Trueno honed his expertise in Buenos Aires’ freestyle battle circuit, refining his expertise and ultimately profitable the famed Pink Bull Batalla de los Gallos competitors in 2019, when he was simply 17. He went on to launch his first album, Atrevido, a yr later, and says the method of touring and attending to know new nations helped him evolve as an artist.
“I received to know so many extra locations. I went to locations in Europe which are 1000’s and 1000’s of kilometers from the place I’m from, and I realized I’m not simply from my neighborhood and Argentina,” he says. “We’re a group of Latin Individuals, and the realities we dwell in Argentina are generally much like the realties individuals in different nations dwell, in Brazil, in Venezuela, in Peru, and the remainder of America. I wished to represent that and join components of the continent.”
Interview has been translated and condensed for readability.
This album is stuffed with songs which are politically and socially motivated. What was the imaginative and prescient you had for it?
Over the previous few years, there’s been big private development that’s inevitable, for me and for my complete staff. I believe you’ll be able to see the distinction from the primary album. A number of issues occurred; we received to know a bunch of nations we’d by no means been to, we received to know a bunch of continents we’d by no means been to as nicely, and that’s the place the entire idea of discussing and defending our group got here from. My first album was actually about the place I’m from, and it’s an album made for Argentina. Right here, the imaginative and prescient was extra about extending the attitude from Argentina to the remainder of Latin America and the remainder of the world.
There’s a variety of influences on right here. There are lots of old-school hip hop references, in addition to conventional particulars. What have been your sonic inspirations?
Hip-hop is all the time the factor I’ll be grateful to and paying homage to and what runs via us. That essence is all the time going to be an enormous a part of something we do. And I’m all the time attempting to go somewhat extra past what we already know — so collaborating with new producers and new individuals, in addition to artists from right here, was essential. The plan was additionally attempting to include Latin American music and music from Argentina. That’s why we’re utilizing the voices of individuals like Victor Heredia and La Charo, that pattern for Gustavo Cerati, inspiration from Atahualpa Yupanqui. So it was about paying tribute to what’s formed us and made us who we’re.
I’m all the time with my producers. For this, we labored quite a bit with Brian Taylor, who’s an engineer and musician who was actually essential to the manufacturing of every part. We’re all the time open and attempting to collaborate with others, with extra and to be taught extra. The primary goal, after we did Atrevido, we wished to make it a extremely musical album, we wished to make it a mixture of natural and digital sounds. This album is believed out, with 80 % of it being musicians — there’s like the entire Argentinean scene in right here. From there, completely different sounds have been born on each music, and there’s layers and layers. There’s lots of people on every music.
There have been two generations of rappers in your loved ones, and you bought your begin doing freestyle battles in Argentina. How did that background inform your work?
Rap was by no means huge or acclaimed right here within the press or something like that. There have been a couple of appearances right here and there, like Illya Kuryaki and Dante Spinetta, and Sindicato Argentino was the primary group that gained a Latin Grammy for hip-hop right here in Argentina. However I believe what made the size of it greater was freestyle battles, which to me are a key a part of hip-hop and likewise a component that traditionally helps create peace and artwork as a counterpoint that goes past violence and helps discover resolutions via artwork whereas additionally having enjoyable right here. I believe because of battles in Argentina, that’s how the perfect a part of the city scene right here got here collectively.
You have got songs on right here which are nods to old-school hip-hop, like “Fuck El Police.” What did you wish to convey in that music and the way is it indicative of your writing course of?
Injustice dedicated by the police and abuses in marginalized areas are so essential, and it was such an essential factor to have had artists like Ice Dice and N.W.A. who raised their voices and had the braveness to speak about that. I believe communities felt that. My message on this music is about what’s occurring in Argentina and Latin America and the issues that occurred in dictatorships that we’re nonetheless struggling, with harmless individuals being killed. I really feel like in these conditions, the one weapon you actually have is your voice, and I wished to do this.
I write quite a bit. I construct the bases in my home and in studios. Generally we provide you with concepts there after which I am going off by myself and are available again. Freestyling can be a extremely essential component, too, although I believe this album is a bit more written out and thought-out in comparison with the final album that had extra improvisation.
You have got a ton of Argentine artists on right here, like Nathy Peluso and Duki, in addition to artists from different components of Latin America and the Caribbean, just like the reggaeton legend Randy.
Randy, he’s a legend in perreo. And it’s additionally DJ Fermin Daddy; we had this beat we’d put tango preparations on, they usually jumped on it and added this perreo component, so it actually achieved this concord between Puerto Rico and Argentina.
With options, I’m unbearable. I’m actually selective. I see each function as a form of jewel that solely suits one explicit artist, and if that artist doesn’t do it, then it gained’t match anybody else. I actually love working and studying with different artists, they every have their stream. After which there’s worldwide artists like Randy and a few that folks nonetheless don’t learn about. It’s about creating with another person and ensuring that particular person feels just like the music is theirs too..
You and your girlfriend, Nicki Nicole, have gone public together with your relationship, and also you’ve additionally labored on music collectively. She’s additionally socially energetic and has songs that revolve round feminism and girls’s empowerment. What does it imply to you to have somebody you’ll be able to join with on all these completely different ranges?
Earlier than something, I’m a fan of hers, of the best way she improvises and sings and raps, and the message she carries and the music she makes. I believe it’s unbelievable, past the love I’ve for her, however clearly it’s the utmost privilege to have the ability to have a associate who’s an artist and who I can share this with, who I can share concepts, ideas with, and that we are able to assist one another. Nicki, for me, is such a key artist, as a lot in music in Argentina as for ladies in music, and I believe she’s additionally an individual who’s doing the work to export the music to the U.S. and different components of the world. She’s been on Jimmy Fallon, at Coachella, and he or she’s all the time representing Argentina.
There’s been lots of buzz on social media about two secret collaborations which are a part of this album, however haven’t been launched. Proper now, on streaming, they present up as two greyed-out tracks with query marks across the featured artists. What are you able to inform us about who they’re with and what followers can anticipate?
All I can say is 2 moments that actually mission the place we’re going subsequent. The thought is to maintain taking Argentina to a worldwide degree.