The follow-up to their serene 2018 collaboration, “Brillo,” Spanish flamenco-pop alchemist Rosalía and Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin meet once more — 30,000 feet in the air — in their jaunty new reggaeton single, “Con Altura,” or “With Height.” The song also features the vocal talents of fellow Spaniard, Canarian producer El Guincho, who assisted in the production of Rosalía’s 2018 album, El Mal Querer.
Hype Williams protégé Director X helmed the new visual — which sees Rosalía and Balvin’s raucous, transatlantic party aboard a private jet, piloted by the enigmatic El Guincho himself. In praise of fast living, whether on wheels or in the clouds, Rosalía sings: “Vivo rápido y no tengo cura/Iré joven para la sepultura,” which translates to “I live fast and don’t have a cure/I will go to the grave young.”
Fortified by a dembow riddim and shout outs to influential figures in salsa music — from the Puerto Rican icon Hectór Lavoe, to Celia Cruz and her historic 1968 rendition of “Guantanamera” — the undeniable Caribbean swing of “Con Altura” marks Rosalía’s first foray into pop urbano. It’s a modern take on the “de ida y vuelta,” or “round trip” as the artist has called it, in reference to Spanish flamenco songs inspired by Afro-Caribbean sounds; ever the champion of cross-cultural experimentation, Rosalía has ultimately described “Con Altura” as her personal homage to classic reggaeton.
“When I was younger I loved listening to reggaeton,” explains the singer in a press release. “It wasn’t until a few months ago in a studio in Miami [when] I started writing in this direction: I proposed to my co-writers that we work with a Dominican sample I found. Then Frank Dukes added his own sample, and El Guincho added percussion, and the record was born: a Barcelonan-American-Latin pop vibe. I didn’t hesitate to show the song to my friend Jose (J Balvin) and he loved the track and sent over such a fresh and raw verse.”
Rosalía and Balvin will appear at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, as part of a stellar wave of Latin acts such as Bad Bunny, Mon Laferte, Javiera Mena and Tomasa Del Real. Rosalía will also kick off her first North American headlining tour on April 17th in Los Angeles.