Queen of Survival

By: Marcelo Báez

Back in 2008, Amandititita, a petite, funny, outspoken Mexican lyricist, released La Reina de la Anarcumbia, a long play full of witty, catchy cumbias. Sony signed her and “La Muy, Muy,” a song about a stuck-up girl, and “Metrosexual,” a critique of conceited men, became radio hits. Suddenly, kids in grade school knew her music and famous telenovela stars—the kind she made fun of in her music—confessed they, too, were fans.

Shortly after, Amandititita had a very public fallout with her label. Because she has a mouth on her, Sony agreed to release the “anarcumbia” queen from her contract, avoiding negative press in the process. A year later, La Descarada, her sophomore LP, was released through Kin Kon Records, and Amandititita was back with a vengeance. “Güera Televisa,” the first single, was a feminist anthem that gave the Mexican mass-media company a serious tongue lashing—but, at the same time, blacklisted her from any major exposure.

Four years later, the daughter of Rockdrigo, Mexico’s Bob Dylan of sorts, did not come out completely unscathed from her quarrel, but she survived. Mala Fama, released earlier this month, is Amandititita’s latest offering. Classism, drugs, politics, stardom and, um, love—it’s all game. “La Criada,” the first single, is a song about a Latina maid and her observations: “The matriarch is an elitist; thinks herself an artist because she paints fruits on canvases. She plays sports and drinks martinis while posing for her bodyguard in skimpy bikinis.” Humorous and irreverent lyrics are Amandititita’s forte, but although disguised as party music, she’s always subversive.

Musically, Mala Fama is still cumbia-based, but it does deviate: “Estrella de Pop” is an upbeat dance number with synth arpeggios and vocoders, while “No Me Hallo” and “Me Hiciste Mal” are more reggae than Mexican regional. The last two numbers, “Teatro Blanquita” and “Poli Amor,” go villera-style instead of Colombian cumbia.

The verdict? If you were already a fan, there’s no need to worry; Amandititita is still pissed, hilarious and sharp. If you knew nothing about her, Mala Fama is a solid introduction.

Marcelo Baéz is a writer, DJ, and musician based in NYC. When he's not producing "Rico Suave" parties, he releases music under P3CULIAR.