When Argentinian rapper/singer Nicki Nicole found herself in a Madrid studio with Spanish rapper Bad Gyal, the two simply couldn’t stop spitting verses.
“We were there until 5 am, we kept throwing bars,” she said. Their new song, “Enamórate” which translates as “Fall In Love,” is a bassy rush of a track that comes in under 2 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s deliberately short, designed to be intense and powerful, “When we finished the track it was over four minutes long, it had lots of verses,” said Nicki. “But we wanted to cut it down, keep it direct, and let it be a track that you could play and again.”
The 23-year-old trap from the Argentine city Rosario has taken the Americas and Spain by storm since releasing her debut album Recuerdos in 2019. In a short space of time, Nicki followed up with sophomore Parte de Mi in 2022, and earlier this year with her third effort, ALMA.
She’s known for her effortless ability to spit swag rap bars before switching to soulful, jazz-inspired vocal work. She cites Amy Winehouse among her first musical loves but reveals that it was Rosario’s freestyle rap battles that were her first foray into music.
She’s described ALMA as one of her most personal works – the title translates as soul. It was released after a breakup with Argentine trap star Trueno and deals with the bitterness of betrayal.
On the single “Se va 1 llegan 2,” (“One leaves, two arrive”) she grudgingly sings in Spanish, “There’s nothing more to talk about / you failed me / and karma will get you back.” The video for the track sees her already moved on, rapping between two sleeping men. “One leaves / two arrive,” she sings, smirkingly.
Other songs on ALMA further display her no-nonsense approach to heartbreak; single “8 AM” she teams up with queer Puerto Rican trapper Young Miko to entice new lovers and have fun.
Although there are moments where her facade breaks; “NO voy a llorar” features sped-up vocals layered over a jazzy instrumentation, “I try to shut out what my heart feels / I’m not going to cry when you leave,” she sings, not sounding totally convinced in her ability to do so.
But when we meet in November, Nicki is all smiles – she recently revealed her rumored relationship with Mexican breakout star Peso Pluma. We talk about new music, collaborations, and relationships – both professional and musical.
You’ve just released”‘Enamórate” with Bad Gyal. How was it working together?
I’m so proud to do a song with her. I’ve admired her for so many years! She’s not only one of my favorite artists, but she has a very distinctive style: her shows, clothes, music, everything! She’s a 360-artist, the type of artist I like.
She’s massive in South America, and you’re really big here in Spain. It’s a collab that really works for your fans across the globe! Would you do any more songs together?
Yes – I’ve loved getting to know her as a person. We’ve started a friendship that’s not only personal, but also musical. I’d love not to be limited to just one song, but keep making music together and eventually singing live together, that’s just magical.
You performed “Enamórate” on stage together before it was released. What was the reaction?
The people liked it so much like how we did it live, which was a shorter version of the song. In the studio we had so many bars, that it was way more extensive, but we felt the best way to release it was the truest to that live version.
You’ve done plenty of collaborations throughout your career: with Rauw Alejandro, Young Miko, Milo J… What do you take away from teaming up with others?
What I love about music is being able to collaborate with my favorite artists. I can release a side of me that’s much more versatile. With [Argentine Cumbia band] Los Angeles Azul, I wanted to do a cumbia track but felt like I lacked a real exponent of cumbia. I’m a versatile artist but I feel like sometimes I need someone who’s really from that genre. I sent them the track, and they re-recorded it with cumbia instruments.
[Smiles] Yeah. With Peso we worked on the remix of “Por Las Noches.” I learned not only from the song itself but also from the manner in which he sings. Something clicked. You learn not just about the genre of the music, but the culture of it.
Is there anyone in particular you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Feid! Actually, let’s say I’ve recently wanted to work with him, so I don’t sound like too much of a fan! I’ve also always listened to loads of Plan B, he is really good.
You are known as a rapper, but you also are a truly talented singer. When we spoke a few years ago, you said that you still prefer to rap than to sing – is this still true?
Absolutely, one hundred percent. I do it a lot in remixes of songs, when they invite me to a remix, I love to release the rap side of me. Yeah, I like singing and melody, but when it’s time to throw bars I love it.
Enamórate is out now. Nicki Nicole plays WiZink Center, Madrid on21 March 2024 and Sant Jordi Club, Barcelona on 22 March 2024.