MEXICO CITY (AP) — Natanael Cano likes King Kong so much that he has a tattoo of this huge primate on the back of his neck. He also wanted to capture this love in the title of his latest album, “NataKong,” released on Friday.
“I couldn’t have picked a better name,” Cano said in a recent video interview from Los Angeles.
The Mexican musician recently performed at two massive festivals in Mexico: Pa’l Norte in Monterrey and Ceremonia in the capital.
“Two festivalotes ‘back to back’ (consecutive)”, he said. “Super, it was amazing for us… It was too much.”
Listening live to Cano, who has songs with millions of views on YouTube such as “Estrellas” and “De a de veras” from “NataKong”, is actually like seeing two artists. On the one hand there is the rapper with trap songs, and on the other the young norteño admirer of corridos who has taken this genre to new ground with his “lying down corridos”, songs with explicit lyrics and traditional guitars.
For his next concerts, he says that he would like to have more trap, but he does not plan to leave the corridos.
“After this album I think I’m going to incorporate what the two (genres) are and do an experiment,” he said. But “the corrido is the corrido, it is the one that the public asks too much of me for and I think that we will never, never run out of that bush. The corner of the corrido will always be there”.
Cano began playing guitar and regional Mexican music on his own when he was about 9 years old. A short time later he learned that he was not alone in his family, because on his paternal side there are musicians that include his grandfather, his uncles and cousins.
“Until I was about 10 years old I began to know that side of me from my other family, because they lived in another city,” he said. “I was impressed when I found out about that, it was a great impact… It helped me a lot to write, to sing, to know what I wanted to do.”
The trap came to him later, through contact with rappers in the streets of Sonora, the northern state where he is from, and other northern states such as Nuevo León.
“El Charles (Ans), El Gera MX in its beginnings,” he said. “I send a greeting”.
Cano has been involved in the production of his songs from the beginning and describes it as the most difficult part of making music.
“I’ve always been into that part of the production. In the traps we are always at the moment of making the beats, in the corridos I only write a song with a guitar, I get a melody out of it, ”she said. “The production is the dog that there is for me, make the music, the instrumentals and then at the end I put my voice on it”.
Despite having only debuted in 2019, “NataKong” arrives after albums such as “Everything is different”, “Corridos lying down”, “Las 3 torres”, “Mi nuevo yo”, “A mis 20” and others. For the most recent, he had prominent guests such as Steve Aoki, with whom he recorded “NataAoki” at the DJ and producer’s house in Las Vegas.
“Steve Aoki was amazing to work with,” said Cano. “We recorded in his studio super comfortable, there was no way that a great song didn’t come out”.
He confirmed that, at his house, Aoki has various games such as a trampoline and other attractions. “He calls it Aoki’s Playhouse,” she said. Both plan to soon publish a video of that song that will be recorded in Las Vegas.
The production of “NataKong” brought Cano to the home of another major musician, Canadian rapper Drake, in Los Angeles. There he recorded “Toronto”, named after Canadian musicians with whom he lived during the process.
“I put it that way because I was at Drake’s house when I recorded it. A friend of his invited me,” said the Mexican musician. “I was introduced to Travis Scott’s producer, she was very magical the night and that’s when I recorded the song.”
Cano said he hopes to see Toronto and shoot a video there.
Another song on the album that has a city title is “Madrid”, a sensual corrido about a girl with whom he is in love.
“In the end we already had the whole song, just at the end I put that verse that says ‘to go to Madrid’, that was like that last thing that the cache”, he recalled. “That song… I love it and I know people are going to love it too. I hope I have time and everything to record the video in Madrid, which was the plan from the beginning,” added the singer, who also has yet to meet that city.
Cano invited the Mexican rapper Junior H for the song “Mochila”, which they composed between the two.
“It’s interesting,” Cano said. “He says that he no longer feels like going to study, not even because he bought a Versace backpack, he no longer has books, only pounds.”
With the release of the album, he also released the video for “Brillo”, one of the songs he performs solo. The video was filmed in the Dominican Republic, on Las Terrenas beach, which he described as “paradisiacal”.