Mala Luna celebrated its third year in San Antonio at Nelson Wolff Stadium during the weekend of Oct. 27th and 28th. Nelson Wolff Stadium is the home of San Antonio’s minor league baseball team, The Missions. This past weekend it served as the home to mainstream hip hop, reggaeton, and pop sounds. While embodying the hip hop community, it also largely honored its LatinX roots and population. San Antonio is 63.2% Latin/Hispanic. Whether it was through the visual effects during Deorro’s set, Becky G’s Selena remix, Cardi B’s shout outs to her Latin [email protected] or in Nicky Jam’s set that was sang primarily in Spanish, this group of people could be satisfied with the representation and notes native to their culture.
Marissa Rose Mejia
San Antonio native Marissa Rose Mejia kicked off the Lone Star Stage at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27th. Performing covers of popular songs such as Drake’s “Nice for What” and Billie Eilish’s “bellyache” she energized and moved the crowd. The choreography and dance moves were impressive and Mejia had definitely mastered the hair flip. She would flip her hair while showcasing her dance skills by simultaneously shooting her arms out and crossing her legs and spinning. Without knowing that the bilingual artist was only 12 years old, the crowd was already intrigued and lured into her performance. There were a few moments where one could think that her voice could mature a bit. However, when she announced that she was a 12 year old artist and that her music could be found on Youtube those thoughts vanished.
Mejia has a wide vocal range spanning from a low alto setting to a mezzo-soprano range. Her tessitura seems to lie within the lower ranges, but her voice settles between bright and agile and powerful and rich. The show honored the LatinX with covers of a Bad Bunny song and “Mi Gente.” “Mi Gente” foreshadowed a special moment between Mejia and Puerto Rican rapper Nicky Jam later in the night. Additionally, she created her own special moments with the crowd when she encouraged them with shouts of, “Muevele, muevele, muevele,” and “Cantale conmigo.” In addition to her San Antonio background and her bilingual performance Mejia honored and celebrated San Antonio with her performance with the DJ for San Antonio’s basketball team the Spurs, DJ Quake.
With introductions such as, “This song is to all the people who don’t believe in you… F-ck ‘em,” “Ya ever go to
clubs or go out and feel like you don’t belong or fit in? That’s what I wrote this song about,” and “This is for all my girls who have dated some f-ck boys in the past,” Angel Cintron brought the heat and inspiration to The Beat Stage. The introductions served as acknowledgments and solidarity for important, sometimes daunting issues for people. Cintron’s representation and commentary was more substantive than the typical pop artist who simply calls for hands in the hair or commands the audience to make some noise if everything they do is for the money. Another native to San Antonio, the 19 year old pop singer, back up dancers, and DJ entertained the crowd.
She performed original songs such as, “Gang,” “Broken Mirror,” “See Inside,” and “Finesser” (which isn’t even out yet). Her voice possesses an enchanting lilt. She hit notes close to the Mariah Carey level and killed her choreography. Her backup dancers did not stay on stage the whole time. When they were present they definitely added to the performance. However, when Cintron stood alone on stage singing, she captivated the audience all by herself and her song. With numerous singles and an EP released in 2016, it will be interesting to see which direction Cintron continues in and how her full length album turns out.
2015 Tejano Idol contestant Gracelynnd Gomez graced The Beat Stage with her beautiful voice on Sunday, Oct. 28th. After ten minutes of a warm up with her DJ, the 16 year old San Antonio native opened with a cover of Jay Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail.” No matter how cliché, the fact that such a large, beautiful voice came out of such a petite person was outstanding. Gomez has a bombastic, full, round voice and wide range. “Holy Grail” was not the only Jay Z song she performed this day. She also performed “Drunk In Love,” after encouraging the crowd to participate by saying, “This next song… I know you know this next one. I’m not trying to sing it by myself. So, I need you to help.” Original songs that she shared were, “El Mero Mero,” “Self Destruct,” and “La Estrella Diamante.” “La Estrella Diamante”, a mix of bandera and cumbia combined with some hip hop beats, showcased Gomez’ wide range and beautiful voice perfectly. Produced by Ryan G Clef who also produces Angel Cintron’s album, Gomez is another artist to look out for.
at Mala Luna. The show was sexually charged and provocative. Between the dancers breaking it down when Becky introduced her on the road family to the crowd in addition to all of the dances set to her high energy, fun dance tracks, there was a lot of twerking. The bilingual artist began the show with “Zoomin’ Zoomin’” and a raucous, “What’s up, San Antonio?!” After “Dura” and “Mad Love,” she showed Wolff Stadium more love by saying that she wanted to, “Take a moment to say how thankful I am to be here. Every time I have to be here in Texas it’s like yesss. The food may be my favorite part, but the people are just so nice. Texas is one of my favorite places to play.” The affection towards Texas was encapsulated in the remix of Selena’s “Si Una Vez.”
Selena, not only a native to Texas, is known as the Queen of Tejano music. She broke down the barriers and laid down the foundation that all of the Latina artists that played at Mala Luna are building upon. The remix of the song pays homage to the predecessor, but by remixing the track it also demonstrates how the artists are spurring the evolution of the genre and taking it mainstream. Selena instilled hope into LatinX peoples that mainstream music is a place for them too. The LatinX line up is a visual representation of the growth of that hope and inspiration. Becky G comments on this evolution when she shares, “When I went to radio they said, ‘You can’t say that,’.” This transitioned into, “Me gusta un caballero. Que sea interesante,” which she sang acappella before the recorded track jumped in and she sang “Mayores,” a track featuring Bad Bunny. This provocative song consists of Becky stating what she wants in a lover. Becky told Bilboard magazine, “”Mayores” was also a coming-of-age moment. I think it was the moment when everyone was like, ‘Oh, wow, she can be sexy.’ The topic of the song felt very empowering. I feel so proud.”
“Mayores” is a huge departure from her first single “Shower,” which is a flirty, fun, innocent track about a young crush. Becky G ended with “Sin Pijama” – another racy track that translates to “Without Pajama.” Becky G would make an appearance later in the night though when headliner Nicky Jam took the stage.
Headliners: Nicky Jam & Cardi B
Nicky Jam brought both Becky G and Marissa Rose Mejia onstage at the conclusion of his show when he performed “X.” He did not limit his love to these ladies only. He brought “una princessa” on stage, men, women, and friends to dance to the song. His set was fun with palpable energy and lots of confetti. The banter in between songs was predominantly in Spanish, representative of his Puerto Rican roots and honoring the large LatinX population of San Antonio. He performed songs such as “Hasta El Amanecer,” “Bella y Sensual” “Te Bote,” and “El Amante.” There is a remix of “El Amante” featuring Bad Bunny. Most of the artists covered or performed songs that had features of the Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton rapper (Why wasn’t Bad Bunny on this line up?). Cardi B was no exception. Her #1 song “I Like It” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin was a righteous part of her performance that showcased her Latin roots. She opened though with “Get Up 10.”
With her Dominican roots, Cardi and her DJ showed the LatinX crowd lots of love. Multiple times her DJ said, “All
my Latinos make some noise!” Cardi showed her personality throughout the show, arriving 15 minutes late, taking a break in the middle of the set after saying, “Y’all too lit and I can’t catch my breath,” and sharing, “Y’all food good. It got me fartin’ all week.” Nicky Jam marveled at Becky G’s twerkin’ and racy dance moves during “X”. Provocation and the allusion to sex and the sexy Latina were recurring themes in the LatinX sets. Cardi demolished the sexy Latina tropes by oversharing this detail about her reaction to San Antonio’s food. Not only did she demolish this trope, she did it while looking fly and sexy as hell, furthering the idea that Cardi is her own special person, but also demonstrating that women and Latin women in particular can be themselves in whatever capacity and not hold themselves to any preconceived or set idea of what a LatinX person or female should be in order to be successful in the music industry. Her performance and her presence was perfect for Mala Luna.