Argentine rapper and singer Paulo Londra became a bona fide hip-hop star before he was 20. While his 2017 debut video single, "Relax," garnered 35 million views over six months and won him a record contract, his subsequent entries on YouTube — especially "Nina Maldicion" (featuring Lenny Tavarez) — have garnered hundreds of millions of views. With his smooth, soulful, deliberately slow delivery — which can easily shift to hyperspeed and back without a hiccup — he offers up sultry, romantic, and/or positive lyrics against crisp beats and warm production layered with samples that create hooky, melodic backdrops. Londra's accessible sound is welcoming; his take on Latin trap adds a new dimension to the urban subgenre. He is also — like his inspiration Eminem — a seasoned battle rapper who can effortlessly cut his opponents on the mike, with a smile on his face the entire time.
Londra was born in Cordoba in 1998. His interest in hip-hop was piqued when his older sister brought home a copy of the film 8 Mile, starring Eminem. The Detroit rapper's struggles and rap battles became an inspiration to Londra; he wanted to be just like him and thought of himself as a boxer on-stage. At 14 he began participating in rap battles in the public squares, and he soon entered organized competitions such as the prestigious El Quinto Escalón, his country's most prestigious (and crowded) rap battleground contest, held in the Buenos Aires Caballito neighborhood Rivadavia Park. His impassioned performances were an instant hit and gained him tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, of followers on his social media accounts. He stepped up to trap at age 18 and quickly mastered its mechanics and subtleties, thanks to his attention to stars like Bad Bunny, Farruko, Anuel AA, and Bryant Myers.
In January of 2017, at age 19, he uploaded "Relax" to YouTube. The track stood out for two reasons: his signature seamless slow flow and his refusal to insert negative images — drinking, drugs, violence, disses, etc. — into his lyrics. The track took off and scored ten million views within its first month. By August, when he issued "Me Tiene Mal," the view count was more than 100 million. December's "Condenado Para el Millon" went to over 122 million. In 2018 he uploaded more tracks, including the smash "Nina Maldicion" featuring Puerto Rican rapper Lenny Tavarez; it has since garnered some 440 million views. He was praised by J Balvin, signed to Warner, and began working with Bad Bunny's production team in Miami. Given his success, he became a sought-after collaborator for artists ranging from Becky G ("Cuando Te Besé") to Piso 21 ("Te Amo"). He was one of the headliners at the Argentinian edition of Lollapalooza, but his concert was canceled due to inclement weather. While working on his debut long-player for Warner, Londra became the third Argentine artist to enter Billboard's Social 50 chart. Led by the platinum-selling hit singles "Adan y Eva" and "Tal Vez," he released the full-length Homerun in May 2019, reaching number two on the Argentinian charts. ~ Thom Jurek