THE BEST BILINGUAL SONGS OF 2023 (SO FAR)

Image

As the local music scene has developed significantly both in talent and attention, so too has its cultural diversity. 

Australia’s hip-hop renaissance welcomed an influx of overdue multiculturalism into the scene, leading to wider and more accurate representation of First Nations, African, Latin and Polynesian communities. Pioneered by artists like Sampa The Great and Baker Boy rapping in their native tongue and achieving international success, diaspora acts showcase their culture through their art more prominently than ever before.

Debuting in 2016, Melbourne based artist Dani Padrón is among such early innovators. Interchangeably singing and rapping in Spanish and English, Padrón says representing her Latin culture is not only about celebrating the traditions, values and stories. “I’m also showing the world the strength and resilience that has been instilled in me from my roots.”

When J Balvin was on tour in Australia last month, Padrón had the opportunity to link with one of the best selling Latin artists in the world. Both born in Medellín, the Colombian artists and their teams spent time backstage together, an experience about “learning, growing, and being inspired”, that she describes as “nothing short of a dream come true.” Reinvigorated from meeting the Grammy award winning singer, Dani Padrón’s mission statement remains clear.

“While music acts as a conduit for showcasing cultural diversity, it’s also a reminder for us to remember our roots.”

– Dani Padrón (2023).

While we’ve still got some time to go before the Jordan year is done, the overwhelming amount of diaspora talent demands to be recognised. Whether it’s only for a few bars or the entire runtime, here are the best bilingual songs of 2023 (so far). 

DOLORRES – BOSCO

Italian born artist DoloRRes made his year long hiatus worth the wait with his best release to date ‘BOSCO’. In the club-ready and drill infused offering by the Melbourne based multi-hyphenate, DoloRRes delivers an emotional and fast-paced performance primarily in Italian. Give this one listen, and you’ll have it stuck in your head for days.

MIKO MAL – ERLING HAALAND (ELET ADAB)

Under a new alias but with the same world class calibre, Miko Mal talks his ish in Arabic and English on ‘Erling Haaland (Elet Adab)’. Similar to his biggest release to date ‘Ya Rab’, the Melbourne rapper proves his steez is universal and embraces his Arab heritage over drill production. Even though this is only covering tracks from the first half of the year, expect to see ‘Erling Haaland (Elet Adab)’ in every Best Of list. 

DANI PADRON – ROMPEDISKOTEKAS

Whether it’s a hypnotic R&B track or fiery rap offering you’re looking for, Dani Padrón has you covered. And ‘ROMPEDISKOTEKAS’ is definitely the latter. Armed with an electric delivery and a universal message of empowerment and self-belief, Padrón’s first release of the year has kept our eyes and ears glued to her ever since. “The essence of the song lies in the belief that we don’t need external validation; if we believe in ourselves and our capabilities, we can achieve what we aspire to.”

TANBOYMIGUEL & CULTSHOTTA – COUNTIN’ ALL THIS CASH I CANT FEEL MY SOUL

It’s no secret Tanboymiguel and Cult Shotta are in a lane of their own. Prior to their recent single with Jackass star Bam Magera, which is easily one of the most bizarre collaborations this year, they linked up on the hyperpop and drill record ‘Countin’ All This Cash I Can’t Feel My Soul’. Even though the track dropped in December last year, the music video was released in April 2023 and it’s great, so it counts. HOW MANY TIMES DID I RUN FROM PIGS IN MY FRESH TNS?

CHERRY CHOLA – PRINCESS PUTA

From her Bratz inspired fantasy aesthetic to her reggaeton and neoperreo sonics, Cherry Chola is arguably the most exciting prospect on this list, and rightfully so. On her breakout track ‘Princess Puta’, the Melbourne-via-Venezuela artist intoxicates listeners with her Spanish bars and Hearteyes’ thumping production. If you’re looking for more, check out her latest project ✿★⁂ where she links with Jalmar on ‘Mini Chor’ (more on him later). 

KRISTELLE & TEMGAZI – SIYA VIA

As a decorated name in the South African House scene, DJ and producer Kristelle shows why on Amapiano cut ‘SIYA VIA’. Utilising heavy drum patterns and addictive synths, Kristelle taps in South African-Australian artist Temgazi to deliver a captivating performance in both English and Zulu. Arriving after her first track of 2023 ‘I-WAY’, this joint truly cemented Temgazi’s return to the scene and only added more fuel to the fire of her ongoing run.

JALMAR – MOROCCO

Since he burst onto the scene with ‘Mijo Rico’ in 2021, Jalmar has continued to pioneer Latin music in the Australian scene. While it wasn’t initially a conscious decision to represent his culture, the Melbourne talent has found pride and success from incorporating his heritage in . His single ‘Morocco’ shows him weaving in and out of Spanish and English in expert fashion over the brass instrumentation and Latin production by SwimGood. “Embrace your culture, lean into it, we don’t pick our culture, we are born with it.”

“Over time I realised the impact Latin music has on the world today and was more or less just grateful to be part of such a rich culture. I would be doing a disservice by not displaying it.”

– Jalmar (2023).

1300 – BRB

You can’t talk about bilingual rap in Australia without mentioning 1300. The Sydney based Korean-Australian group is made up of five members: rappers rako, goyo, and DALI HART, and producers Nerdie and Pokari Sweat. Their 2022 debut album Foreign Language gained national recognition for its carefully chaotic production and their urgently delivered bars. With their latest EP following a more pop and R&B direction, 1300 remain at the forefront of Australia’s best bilingual acts.

KAHUKX – HATE ME OR LOVE ME

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, there’s been no faster rising name in the Australian rap scene than KAHUKX. Emerging with the incredible ‘Due Time’ debut, the Sydney rapper raised his stocks even further when he tested his French for the first time on the mic for ‘MBAPPÉ’ alongside Day1. His debut project Nothing To Something has since been released, and ‘Hate Me Or Love Me’ finds the anonymous emcee sliding between languages as he raps about issues of trust and the trap.  

JUPITA, EISSA & ANUNNAKI- MENTIROSO

In today’s episode of ‘Australia makes the best R&B’, meet Melbourne based Latinx artist JUPiTA, formerly known as Ruby-Sofia. For fans of Kali Uchis and Rosalía, her track ‘Mentiroso’ featuring rapper Eissa and producer  Anunnaki is a mesmerising blend of Latin-infused R&B and hip-hop. The Chilean-Australian singer has dropped a handful of releases since, most recently offering her angelic vocals on Mali Jo$e’s ‘INNERwealth’. 

Share this post: