Reggaeton legend Ivy Queen on working with Bad Bunny, Rauw Alejandro collab

Rosy Cordero
·4 min read

Tommy Chung

When Ivy Queen surprised audiences alongside Bad Bunny at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards in October, a whole new generation was properly introduced to reggaeton royalty.

To understand the significance of that moment, one needs to take a trip back to 1990’s Puerto Rico. This was the time and place where the Urbano Latino genre was born. Ivy, born Martha Ivelisse Pesante Rodríguez, would prove at 18 that women could spit lyrics on par with any man. Not only was she a lyricist, whose verses had the power to lure anyone onto the dance floor, the lyrics themselves were empowering, bold, and ballsy at a time when men were dominating airwaves with words that often denigrated women.

It’s significant that Ivy recorded the remix of “Yo Perreo Sola” with her compatriot Bad Bunny, as it shows off something she’s been doing since the beginning of her career — dancing and singing to her own beat.

Ahead of her Latin Grammy Awards performance Thursday night honoring Hector Lavoe, La Caballota spoke to EW exclusively about the album she’s been working on during the pandemic, collaborating with Bad Bunny, and more.

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ivy Queen! It’s about time you’re getting the recognition you deserve. How are you feeling?

IVY QUEEN: Amen! Amen! It’s about time! I am feeling so happy right now.

Social Media exploded on the night of the Billboard Music Awards. Everyone was celebrating your big return but the truth is, you never left.

Yeah, I don’t like hearing that because I’ve always been here. I’ve been pushing so hard, making music, and touring for my fans all over the world who always support me. It still amazes me that I am able to continue doing what I love. And I understand there’s a new and different consumer of Urban Latino music today. My loyal followers keep up-to-date with me but it’s thanks to Bad Bunny that now a whole new generation knows me. He put me on a global stage and I’ll be forever grateful to him for celebrating me and lifting me up the way he did. I’m still in shock over the whole thing!

How did that collaboration come together?

This was something that happened totally out of the blue. I got a call from my team one day saying, “Hey, we are leaving tomorrow to Los Angeles. You’re recording with Bad Bunny.” I froze for a second to gather my thoughts. I replied, “Que? What are you talking about?” because none of those words registered. I quickly snapped out of it and of course agreed. This guy is so dedicated to his craft and likes to keep what he has going very private—no cellphones! He’s the no. 1 guy right now and had no airs about him. He and his team went out of their way to treat me like gold. He’s top notch all the way and very smart. The respect I have for him has no words. He made space for me and gave me my flowers while I’m still alive to enjoy them. I’m still overwhelmed by it all.

It’s safe to assume you’d work with him again then?

No question. But I mean, who says no to Bad Bunny? [Laughs] Here’s this guy empowering women while dressed as a woman. That’s what I have been singing about all my career. Making space for women and celebrating what makes us unique, especially in a very male dominated industry. It’s a new day in the urban space and I’m so excited to be center stage again.

A little birdy said you and Rauw Alejandro will be collaborating on your new album. Dish!

[Silence] Hmnnn. I’m not sure who told you that scoop but it’s true! [Laughs] Why are you asking me then if you already know? [Laughs]

Is it important to you to give a hand to the new generation of reggaetoneros?

I think we’re giving each other a hand, in all honesty. He’s got a dope flow. I love R&B and that’s a spice that he brings that makes him unique. I can’t wait for everyone to hear our collaboration, it’s spicy! I’m trying to find another word that would do the song justice but that’s what keeps coming out. Maybe sexy, yeah. The song is really sexy and spicy! But that’s what you can expect when two Puerto Ricans get together and make music. Fire! We didn’t even post photos together so the news of our collaboration wouldn’t leak but here we are.

When will we get to listen to this album finally?

It’s going to be my masterpiece so I’m still working on the final touches. This is a very personal project so I keep going back and forth making sure that it’s perfect. Look, if I don’t feel 100 percent with something, it’s not going out. So it probably won’t be out before 2021.

The Latin Grammy Awards air Nov. 19 on Univision at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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