Like all the most popular urban musical artists in Colombia, Maluma isn’t the real name of the singer. Juan Luis Londoño Arias just isn’t very catchy or unique, so he created a stage name by combining the first syllables of his family members’ names (Marlli, Luis, and Manuela).
Maluma’s songs – at least the most popular ones – all revolve around one simple thing: sexy ladies, or ladies being sexy, or relationships (or perhaps just relations). Take for example “El Tiki,” all about dancing to the rhythm and getting closer to one another.
Or the major hit from last year, “Cuatro Babys,” the lyrics of which translate something like this:
I’m in love with four babies
They always give me what I want
They [expletive] when I say to
None of them find me guilty but
Two are married
There’s one who is single
The other’s half crazy and if I don’t call she gets desperate
Homeboy really serves up the Latin American machisto dream here, huh?
Then there’s his most recent hit, “Felices los Cuatro.” The title comes from a popular refrain which I, as half of a long-distance relationship, am told often. Amor de lejos, felices los cuatro – long distance love makes four people happy. (Life here really can be like a telenovela sometimes.)
I’m going to try to end this on a more positive, less heygirlhey note. Maluma has, on at least one occasion, used his platform to send a good message. In his 2016 video for his song “El Perdedor,” he shows the story of a man ignored and rejected by a beautiful blonde white woman because of his race before the culminating scene when her friends go at him, the police grab him and let her friends go, and they sneak in a dramatic kiss before the police pull them apart again and throw the cuffs on him. It ends with these words being flashed across the screen:
That neither race, religion, gender, nor economic status be an impediment for love. – Latinos United