Karol G, née Carolina Giraldo Navarro, is one of a handful of women artists trying to carve a lane in urban Latin music. Medellin’s own, Karol G spent years vying for creative autonomy in order to compete in the male-dominated industry of hip-hop.
“I was always being made to prove my worth and value, always needing to have something in exchange for what I wanted to accomplish,” says Karol G. “Everywhere I went, people would tell me that trap and reggaeton was for men, not women. I wasn’t being taken seriously, and I was often being told to do something else.”
Believing strongly in the authenticity of her message, which intends to center the feminine narrative and do away with the pigeonholing of women, Karol pressed forward: “I just want other women to be able to see themselves in the music. My message is very simple: I’m for women, I’m about women, and I want to help create lanes for more of us.”
Karol G, who cites Rihanna as her greatest inspiration, has worked with Latino heavy hitters such as Nicky Jam, De La Ghetto and Ozuna. While touring with “Despacito” singer Luis Fonsi earlier this year, she also collaborated with Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny on the single “Ahora Me Llama,” which has gained over 360 million views on YouTube.
“Trap music is commonly about sex and drugs and the nightlife, and not that those aren’t real stories,” says Karol about the song that catapulted her to No. 20 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. “But I want to be able to help raise women to a level where we can talk about the power we harness, who we are and how we’re moving in the world.”
In the spirit of onward movement and keeping the momentum going, Karol G today teases the official remix of “Ahora Me Llama,” featuring Quavo of Atlanta rap trio Migos. The single drops tomorrow (Oct. 6), but check out our exclusive sneak peek here:
"When the label called me to talk about the remix, I was very surprised to learn Quavo was going to add his verse,” says Karol G of how the collaboration came about. “Latin music is a focal point and priority in the Anglo market, not trap. So, I was very surprised, but also excited. I’m excited for the American mainstream to see who Karol G is and to see what I can bring.”
Karol G will now be touring with Kevin Roldan, with shows in the Dominican Republic, Peru and her native Colombia before finishing out the year with the European leg of her tour. Expect for the 25-year-old to also release her formal debut album, Unstoppable, via Universal before the end of October.
“I think the most important part about crossing over successfully is really just being able to demonstrate your artistry in its fullness. Urban music in the Spanish-language is a force to be reckoned with, there’s truly something for everyone in it. How amazing will it be to help break some of those barriers, to cross some of those borders and to bring the beauty of urban Latino to U.S. popular culture?”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.