There was only one thing that Mala Rodrguez He did not want it to appear in his memoirs: the word pandemic. It bothers me, I didn’t want to talk about the shit that happened this last year. It has affected us all, in my case I have relatives who work in hospitals. It was horrible, an afterlife move. At the end he came out, when in the last pages he explains that the quarantine forced Mala, the artist, to have to live with Mara Rodríguez Garrido, the 42-year-old woman and mother of three children.

How to be bad (Today’s Topics) is that dialogue between the two, a window through which to peer into a personality as fascinating as, until now, enigmatic and unknown. A secret passageway that leads to the intimate history of an icon who anticipated the wave of feminism, the fusion of flamenco with urban sounds and the connection with Latin America without having to wrap herself in any flag. A woman who undresses without complexes on Instagram (where more than 1.3 million people follow her) but who had never shown herself inside.

They are not conventional memories. Bad is not Woody Allen, he does not use these pages to explain the darkest points of his biography. Nor does he criticize anyone popular with names and surnames, that resource so chewed up by some stars to sell books. But she does achieve something more difficult (or, at least, unusual): telling who she is in privacy.

I’ve never been an opportunist or gossipy. When I talk about someone I prefer to say something good, from a sense of humor, he argues. After being pioneer of rap in spanish in the 90s, is one of the few artists in that scene that has not only managed to stay on top, but also connect with a new generation that, from hip hop and its margins, is revolutionizing youth culture.

Mala Rodríguez’s childhood photo, taken by her mother.

My path has been hard I have had few of feeling very lonely and wanting to send it all to hellI hope my story serves to inspire all those girls who follow me, he confesses during the interview, this Monday afternoon, in a bar in the Chueca neighborhood in Madrid, while multitudes of young people celebrate Gay Pride in the surrounding streets and The Spanish soccer team plays against Croatia.

Abstracted from that noise around her, sheltered in an inner universe that she has captured in reference albums such as Iberian luxury (2000) and Witch (2013), Mala tries to explain that constant contradiction that guides her thoughts and actions. That flow to the rhythm of the machine gun that he boasts in his rhymes is the same as reflected in the book, which reads like a mix between a Tarantino film, a catalog of haikus and an existential proposal based on the pillars of self-acceptance and he lives and let live.

My path has been hard, I have had few of feeling very lonely and wanting to send everything to hell

I am a person who lives with its contradictions. I am against abortion but abort; therefore, I will never force you to do what I say, he explains in one of the most controversial passages. Nor does he hide his honest views on the music industry. In these years when I begin to travel around the world, I have no doubt that I owe everything to the pirate (…). Before that, no one knew me outside of Spain, remember around 2005.

He confesses that for a long time he felt that he was always late for success. I was not Van Gogh’s Ear, I appeared just after, when records were no longer sold. He doesn’t remember when exactly, but he knows that changed. It began to be recognized in Spain (in 2019 it received the National Prize for Current Music from the Ministry of Culture) and to operate with massive numbers in several Latin American countries.

Mala Rodríguez, in adolescence, photographed by her mother.
Mala Rodríguez, in adolescence, photographed by her mother.

Now it is finally Mala’s time. It is already understood that crazy woman with unusual ideas, who was always looking for new things, who went on stage in a thong when no other artist dares. I feel like there has been a major change in society, that people are more tolerant and open, and that makes me very happy, because I see that other artists respect me and for my part I continue to find new ones who inspire me, he assures.

I owe everything to the pirate, before that, nobody knew me in Spain

However, she thinks there is less freedom to express herself in 2021 than when she started, more than two decades ago. Every time we are getting worse, we are a very cowardly society, which releases any nonsense from the anonymity of social networks but does not dare to say things to the face on the street. For his part, he adds, he thinks to continue giving his opinion on whatever comes to mind, without fear of being canceled. I love having controversial ideas, generate confusion and open discussions.

Along these lines, he says in the book: I do what I want to do. If I go with an important cleavage it is to show off my boobs with prideBecause for that, after three births and three lactations, I do with my body what I want. Being that I’m a bad feminist, like Madonna.

He has hives towards the orthodox, social conventions and what is supposed to be frowned upon. There is nothing worse than living repressed, seeking the acceptance of others before his own. Being different is a blessing. And it claims the right to make mistakes and evolve. A person who changes his mind is a person who is thinking, and I am that: someone who has not stopped riding in his car. I don’t want static people around me.

I love having controversial ideas, creating confusion, and opening discussions

After spending his adolescence in Seville listening to flamenco, his first train trip to Barcelona, ​​his beginnings in hip hop through graffiti, his encounter with the scene that was developing in Madrid and his first trips to Latin America, towards the end of the book. Mala is comfortable with those ideas of hers. There is Mara speaking to her fans about her perception of life, with a philosophical touch.

I know there are a lot of haters of self-help manuals, but somehow this one is. Don’t tell me that you don’t have money, that your father abuses you at night. There are no excuses: you will always have a public library near your home where you can find shelter. At the beginning of the book I talk about my grandmother, how she discovered literature; It is what I consider most important: knowing how to read and write.

There is one thing that Mala Rodríguez insists on: that vindication of her origin, of coming from below, from the margins. A person who starts his career at one point is not the same as another who starts 10 steps later. I think it’s great that this last one succeeds, but it is important that its privileges are known. That gives self-esteem to the one who came to the same place coming out behind.

Talk about the Black Lives Matter movement (In Spain they continue to kill gypsies and nobody says anything), from Me Too (It is important to normalize it and make it visible), tells of that run-over way of hers, always aware of simultaneous stimuli, delusional anecdotes of his career, such as when he gave a concert in the United States organized by some guys who were carrying weapons and they paid an outrageous amount. I guess they did it to launder money, take it easy.

It’s that I never get upset about anything, she says and looks into my eyes, laughing to herself after 1, 2, 3 … and up to 30 seconds in silence, keeping her gaze.

What is the reflection left by your memories?
That family love is the most important thing. I don’t give a damn about my career compared to that. It is with the only thing that I have cried writing these pages: to think that I could have been a better mother. But you know? Now I understand that I am lucky.

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