Bad Ass Good - La Mala Rodriguez

La Mala Rodriguez is one of the most successful Hispanic artists today. She has recorded with some of the world's most commercial Latino artists such as Nelly Furtado, Julieta Venegas and Romeo and yet whilst La Mala remains the only Spanish rapper to gain global fame, infiltrating radios and charts around the world, she has avoided the trap of sounding commercial or crass. Latinolife managed to get an exclusive interview with La Mala ahead of her UK debut concert

To be a successful female rapper is probably one of the hardest things to do in showbiz. To be a successful Latino female rapper is probably ten times as hard. This is precisely what makes La Mala Rodriguez so special and her achievement as the most recognized and internationally successful Spanish rapper in the world, all the more exceptional.
Latinolife: Which artists did you grow up listening to? Who did you most admire growing up?
La Mala Rodriguez: I grew up listening to an eclectic mix Camaron de la Isla, Silvio Rodriguez, Pink Floyd, Pat Metheny, Carlos Puebla, Leonard Cohen, Mercedes Sosa. I also loved to listen to the radio and in Cadiz you are able to pick up stations from the North of Africa and I loved doing that. When I was 12 years old, I started to listen to rap and R&B, especially from the west coast and the south of the US and also sould and old salsa from th 70s. Then later I got into Jazz. I love Miles Davis, Charlie Parker Charlie Minugs, Ella, Monk Conltane, all those dudes just kill me.
LL: You are the only Spanish rapper, male or female, who has been able to break the international market, why do you think that is?
MR: I don’t know I always like an obstacle to jump. When I started rapping in my neighbourhood I also liked to show people what I was capable, that was like my favourite sport, surpising people. The in other cities…I remember that I also asked to sing in the small festivals in Andalucia. I slep in the street, it kind of excited me. I had a string desire to show what I had and I suppose that now, it's the same desire that motivates me
LL: How do you see the state of Spanish Hiphop, which other do you rate/admire?
MR: I see a lot of people doing interesting stuff here, representating a big part of the population. In relation to other hiphop scenes I don’t see a big difference. The music is a reflection of the social and economic situation in this country, and hiphop everywhere represents its environment and the ideas that are in the air
LL: Your have collaborated with several major pop artists in the US such as Nelly Furtado, Julieta Venegas and Romeo. Would you consider doing a more pop album, or do you want to stay true to hip hop?
MR: I don’t believe that making a hit, or collaborating in a track that reaches more people has to take you away from real hiphop, that is inside of you.
LL: Do you feel the pressure of working with more electronic beats like they are in the US?
MR: I go in my own direction. There are some electronic beats that I like and I think some of those tunes are totally brutal, but my project is kind of on another path at the moment.
LL: Who has been the most influential figure in shaping your view of the world?
MR: My Tio (uncle) Paco. He brought me up alongside my mother and its was amazing inspiration to have someone around was was young and restless transmitting their vision and love through music.
LL: Your greatest fear?
MR: no se...caer en medio del oceano.
LL: The Living person you most admire and why?
MR: The people that are near me now, day to day, for many.
LL: Your most embarrassing moment?
MR:A while back I was cycling along the coast and I fell off quite dramatically infront of a restaurant full of was all a bit scandalous, I had blood all over my knees and was searing and some of the the people were applauding as I walked off swearing and walking the bycicle
LL: What is your most appalling habit?
Getting up early!
LL: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
MR: chocolate
LL: If you could go back in time, where would you go?
MR: Without a doubt, a Jazz club in New York in 1945 or in 1958
LL: What song would you like at your funeral?
MR: Naci en Alamo
LL: Tell us a secret.
When I was a child I loved to sing in the corridor of my house with my hairbrush as a microphone and I still do it somtimes when I rehearse

Mala Rodríguez - No Pidas Perdón