As the Latin pop landscape continues to expand in both talent and genre, so does its outstanding quality in visuals. July was a banner month for releases by Hispanic and Lusophone artists: from Club Anuel to Rosalía’s satirical game show, here are ten of the month’s most standout Latin music videos.
Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Karol G, Ozuna, “China”
Featuring a star-studded cast of friends, Anuel AA strikes gold with “China” — an EDM-reggaeton rework of Shaggy’s 2000 cheaters’ anthem, “It Wasn’t Me.” Directed by Marlon Peña, the video tracks the five hitmakers through a chaotic multi-level (and multi-climate!) discotheque. While Daddy Yankee parties in a sweltering cabana room, Karol G plays Queen Frostine in her winter wonderland, which she shares with boyfriend Anuel. When asked to explain their bad behavior on a wild night out, they all exchange the same alibi: “Yo estaba en el disco perreando,” or, “I was dancing dirty at the club.” Fair enough!
Pabllo Vittar and Charli XCX, “Flash Pose”
Calling all fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Brazilian pop star Pabllo Vittar would smoke your favorite anglophone queens. “Flash Pose” is the Grammy nominee’s first-ever English language track; it’s also her second collab with Charli XCX, with whom she previously featured on the Pop 2 track, “I Got It.” In their latest clip, the two divas swap confident verses, as well as some print-worthy angles. “Get in my picture/Get in my frame,” Charli XCX croons as Vittar calls for participants to strike a pose. “Look good when I walk in the party!”
Residente and Bad Bunny, “Bellacoso”
After 12 days of protesting Puerto Rico’s now ex-governor, Residente and Bad Bunny released a jaunty reggaeton single titled “Bellacoso,” along with a video directed by Paris-based cinematographer Gregory Ohrel. Filmed on one of Puerto Rico’s many idyllic beaches, dancers of all shapes, colors and gender expressions flaunt their bodies (and armpit hair) in the sunshine; yet their moves serve as more than a backdrop to the MCs’ daring wordplay. The body-positive new visual is inextricable from an ongoing dialogue on the safety of women and gender-non-conforming people in Puerto Rico — incited by local feminist activists, who also helped kickstart the island’s #RickyRenuncia protests. “Bellacoso” is a heightened version of the word “bellaco” — which, in English, is analogous to “horny.” But when Residente sings, “Bellacoso pero sin acoso,” he tells Rolling Stone, “It’s about being horny without harassment — it’s consensual. If everybody wants to go all the way, whether you’re a twosome, threesome, or foursome, everybody has to consent.”
Ozuna and Anitta, “Muito Calor”
“Muito Calor,” which means “Very Hot,” is just the latest in Anitta’s marathon of all-star collaborations. Helmed by Ozuna’s director of choice, Venezuelan filmmaker Nuno Gomes, the new clip was shot on location in Brazil. Between slice-of-life shots from Rio de Janeiro, where people play soccer, dance on rooftops, and bask in the idyllic Guanabara Bay, Ozuna and Anitta ramp up the heat in a warehouse club nearby. Together the stars trade come-ons to a reggaeton groove — and take an all-too fleeting samba break.
Javiera Mena, “Mujer Contra Mujer”
The Latina queen of tortured queer romance, Chilean pop star Javiera Mena illustrates the emotional, lifelong process of coming out in “Mujer Contra Mujer,” or “Woman Against Woman.” In its breathtaking video, a lesbian couple braves the penetrating gazes of relatives, neighbors and strangers to be together in public — coming out again and again, over the course of many years. But by the video’s end, the pair is all smiles.
Becky G and Myke Towers, “Dollar”
Becky G may be one of urbano’s favorite co-stars, but she asserts herself as an ice-cold leading lady in “Dollar.” Swathed in pink faux fur, she sings: “I don’t pay my rent with words. They’re worthless!” Meanwhile, the gallant Myke Towers tempers Becky’s brattitude with sweetness: “If you charged per photo,” he sings, “even Donald Trump would ask for a loan.”
Rosalía, “F*cking Money Man”
If we’ve learned anything from Rosalía this year, it’s that she’s not afraid to take chances. In April, the brooding Spanish pop artiste teamed up with El Guincho and J Balvin to release their buoyant reggaeton cut, “Con Altura“; then in June she followed with “Aute Cuture,” a sassy work of femme fatale pop, and a Tarantino-inspired clip to match. Now in “Milionária,” the first of two new releases, the international pop heroine briskly sings not in Spanish, but in Catalan — the language native to her home of Barcelona. Playing a lucky contestant on a Catalan game show, she steps into a glass box full of flying cash, nimbly gropes her way past a tarantula for Euros, and spins a wheel of fortune — before she finds herself standing inside a ring of fire, sporting gold Moschino chains. “Let us get rid of the money,” she laments in Spanish, “bilious as a poison.”
El Alfa, Yandel and Myke Towers, “Dembow y Reggaeton”
Bad Bunny stans may recall El Alfa from X 100pre‘s bachata blockbuster, “La Romana”; but the Dominican artist gets just as hype in his latest single, “Dembow y Reggaeton.” Alfa brings the iconic Puerto Rican singer, Yandel along for the ride, and with a special nod to his 2003 hit, “Dembow”; and young gun Myke Towers drops bars like he’s been doing it for decades. Director Fernando Lugo pairs their playful rapport with an even kookier video, which follows the trio as they don goofy wigs and scandalize some elders, parents and aerobics instructors.
Jhay Cortez, “Easy”
In the follow-up to “No Me Conoces,” his smash hit with J Balvin and Bad Bunny, singer-songwriter Jhay Cortez takes his urbano cool to the suburbs. In the Fernando Lugo-directed video — we sense a theme here — Cortez crashes an all-American house party, where a stylish girl gang shows off their best perreo moves. True to the song’s title, and his unhurried flow, the 25-year-old Cortez is content to keep it low-key. By the video’s end, he skips the Uber routine and takes a midnight stroll home.
La Santa Cecilia, “Winning”
What is it to “win” these days on social media? In their scrappy indie rock track, “Winning,” Mexican-American band La Santa Cecilia roleplay a day in the life of an iPhone addict. (“Always stuck in purgatory/’Cause I’m addicted to your story,” sings lead singer Marisol Hernandez.) As a party rages on around her, Hernandez and friends are fixated on their cameraphones — but in a resourceful move, she sneaks a peek to check her lipstick. Dear listeners, plead La Santa Cecilia: quit your phone, start a band.