Where: New York, NY
The latest addition to the ever-expanding Mad Decent roster, 27-year-old Maluca (a.k.a. Natalie Yepez) was born and bred in New York City. While her strong fashion sense and genre-hopping ways may draw comparisons to M.I.A. and Santigold, this fiery dominicana uniquely encapsulates the duality of growing up Latina in the United States. Raised on a steady diet of mambo, bachata, and other Latin sounds, not to mention a healthy dose of ’90s hip-hop, freestyle, and downtown club music, Maluca and her music ignore traditional boundaries and drag Latin music out of the so-called “world music” doldrums. Although a bad case of stage fright kept her out of the spotlight for much of her life, a chance meeting with Diplo while performing karaoke eventually led to “El Tigeraso,” a speedy slice of electronic mambo that will soon be released as Maluca’s first official single.
Listen: "El Tigeraso"