The mourning is over, and the fury is gone, but before turning the page for good, let’s leave a coda with the last reproaches; yes, expressed with softness and elegance. Two women join forces to settle accounts with their ex-partners, both celebrities.
Colombian Karol G (Medellin, 32 years old) and Shakira (Barranquilla, 46 years old) have launched today the widely publicized TQG, a collaboration that combines music (let’s not forget), gossip (the intimate scrutineers are already concluding with the lyrics in hand) and new ways of dealing with feminism (sorority among pop stars). TQG is the acronym for Te Quedé Grande, a slogan repeated by Shakira to Gerard Piqué in Session 53 of Bizarrap, the most listened-to song in the world last month (it was released on January 12).
This time the messages are not so explicit about the relationship between the singer and the soccer player, among other things, because two women deliver blowjobs: Karol G is also dispatching with her ex-partner, Anuel AA, one of the big sellers of reggaeton. “Tell your new baby that I don’t compete for men, / Tell her to stop pulling, that at least I had you pretty,” Shakira sings. In another part of the song, she says: “And now you want to come back, I thought so, liking my picture, / You look happy with your new life, but if she knew you were still looking for me.”
Just hours after Shakira won Premio Lo Nuestro for the best pop artist of the year, the song’s lyrics paint a bleak picture for them: the plea for a reconciliation that will not be accepted.
“What we lived is forgotten, that’s what’s got you fired up,” another part of the lyrics insists: “Now you want to come back, you can tell.” Musically, it is a soft and lilting reggaeton, far from the macho pieces of the genre. The two performers pass the baton to each other to offer a sensual and sophisticated performance. It is a song that will not be rejected even by the implacable haters of reggaeton.
TQG is included among the 17 songs of Karol G’s new work, Mañana será bonito, the fourth work since she started her recording career in 2017 with Unstoppable. This trajectory has made her the most popular reggaetonera in the world. The collaboration between the two Colombians had been years in the making. Karol G (real name Carolina Giraldo Navarro) has always been a Shakira fan and has grown up with her music (they are 14 years apart).
The hardcore sector of G’s followers spread three years ago that the artist for whom they drink the winds sent a song to Shakira to form a duet, and the interpreter of Loba did not bother to answer. Neither of the two has confirmed this episode. Things have changed significantly in the last few seasons, with Karol G launching in popularity and prestige.
But Karol G’s path has not been easy in a genre, reggaeton, especially dominated by men. On one occasion, the Colombian had told how her first contacts in the music industry were when she was only 18 years old: a top record executive summoned her to his office and did not stop making sexual advances. She left, slamming the door, and decided that her crusade, in addition to musical, would be feminist.
In October 2020, she released Bichota, a song that has become a movement. Bichoto is the word they use in Puerto Rico to refer to a drug lord. “I turned it around: Bichota, but to define a powerful, sexy, and brilliant woman,” she has explained. And since then, her followers have been called bichotas. Almost two years after this song came Rosalía with Motomami, whose meaning is similar to Bichota.
A week ago, The New York Times published an extensive report with the singer where it was assumed that a good part of the texts of Mañana será bonito reflected the aftermath of the breakup with the reggaetonero Anuel AA. “In the album, I tell personal things that I had inside. People will know a lot about my personal life because of these new songs,” he says in the interview. In addition to Shakira’s participation, there are more collaborations in the new work of Karol G.
Among them are two Spaniards. Quevedo sneaks into the album, in another example of his fast-paced career. The Canary Islander provides the counterpoint of his husky voice to G’s sweet tone in the ballad Pero tú. The Catalan Bad Gyal, also released, participates in Kármika, with a third musician in the piece, Sean Paul. Gucci Los paños is one of the most interesting songs on the album, a kind of ranchera full of reproaches: “I don’t know why you tell me to come back if it was you who sent everything to hell.”
In “Tus Gafitas,” she bets on pop in a message that abandons the reproach since she has found consolation: “I didn’t believe in love, but because of you, I believe again.” Ojos Ferrari, with Justin Quiles and Angel Dior, is the most experimental piece, a kind of jaleos of African rhythms. The rest, a dozen songs, moves in the melodic reggaeton.
As for Shakira, this is the fourth song where she airs the details of her breakup with Piqué: “Te Felicito,” “Monotonía,” “Sessions 53” with Bizarrap, and “TQG.” In addition, she will soon release a track with the Colombian Manuel Turizo that points to a similar theme. Some more pieces on the matter, and Shakira will complete a concept album about Piqué. Not bad for a central defender.