Singer Talks Raphy Pina, ‘Nasty Singles’


Natti Natasha keeps bringing up the word “nasty.” It’s a word that sometimes has a negative connotation, but for Natti, “nasty” means being real. It means being unapologetic. And it means never letting go of what you want.

“I used to say that Nasty Natt was my alter ego. But why Nasty?” she tells Rolling Stone from her home in Miami. “Because she is raw, you know?”

Over the last year and a half, Natti has had no other choice but to be nasty. Last May, Raphy Pina, her romantic partner and business manager was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of illegal possession of firearms. Two days before his conviction, their baby turned one.

It was a difficult time for Natti, who says she could have sulked over the challenges she was facing. Instead, she decided to perfect her craft and music. “I said, ‘I’m going to do everything,’” she explains. “I mean, what better fuel than my daughter, who feeds me with love? What other fuel do you need to make amazing things happen?”

Now, she’s ready to show the result of all that hard work. On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, the Dominican singer is releasing her album Nasty Singles, a compilation of the songs she’s made over the last year and a half. She lets her voice soar over Mexican trumpets on the Joss Favela-penned “Ya No Te Extraño,” embraces her classic reggaeton style on “Kokorota,” and forgets about toxic exes on “Caption.” Overall, it’s Natti with “no filter.”

“Some experiences are things that probably happened to me in the past or are about about this moment, like ‘Tu Tattoo,’” she says. “Other songs that are simply based on experiences from other people but are real.”

From her home in Miami, Natti talks about her relationship with Pina, her collaborator Daddy Yankee’s decision to devote himself to Christianity, and why being a mom doesn’t make her any less sexy:

What has the process of making this album been like for you?
I’m so proud, especially after everything I’ve been going through the past year and a half. I’ve grown, I’ve had learning experiences, I’ve gained wisdom. Every single day, there’s a new experience to explore. I didn’t know what I was going to be able to do by myself. I feel like this is a huge accomplishment and I feel that each song is so personal. I’ve had to go into character for some songs, some other songs are super personal for me. I feel like when we focus on the extremely positive side of what someone can be, you always hype yourself up, so Nasty Singles is all of that.

You seem to capture different parts of your humanity in the music.
A different humanity with no filters because of all the experiences I’ve always had to endure. That really does turn off that filter and you’re very present and you accept everything around you. You just want to be yourself. You just want to express yourself the way you only can express it and that is what makes me Natti Natasha and that’s what makes Nasty Singles… nasty

You’ve been through your share of challenges this past year and a half. You come off so strong in these songs. How do you handle things?
Oh, it’s a roller coaster, all day, every day. But I’ve been focusing on the positive, I’ve been focusing on creating. I mainly focused, this year, on how I can be a better person. Who’s Nasty Natt? Who is she? She is this unapologetic girl.

I feel like with the six new songs people will be able to have a better chance to pay attention to what they’ve already listened to. Those 300 million streams I’ve had mean, for me, 300 million people who were waiting for Natti Natasha to come out stronger.

How are you balancing motherhood with pop stardom right now?
I have no clue how I juggle. I have a huge team that helps me do it. My partner, even with him being in there, he finds a way through emails to still keep working to call me and help me. We’ve become more of a team because we’ve been working on it. Maybe in other circumstances, other people wouldn’t be able to make it work.

And the fans, they feed me with love. The only thing I can give back is love. I feel like my fans have gone through all these situations with me. I feel like we have a connection a lot more special than before, and for me, that is very important. They’ve been cheering for me for a lot of years but right now, I feel like they know a lot more about me.

I’m stuck on something that you said earlier about your partner: You have to find a way to make things work for both of you and for the music. What has that been like for you and how involved was your partner in making this record?
Very involved. I mean, he finds the way through emails, he finds the way through the minutes that he has to communicate with the whole team that has been able to also help me with the vision. He helped me with the concept, with what I really wanted to express. Sometimes the most simple ideas can be the biggest ones. 

We’ve had such good communication that you would think that it would be the opposite but right now I put a lot more effort into making everything work out in a positive way because that’s what you have to concentrate on.

What are some of songs that capture the spirit of the project?
A record like “Ándale” is a very real song but very positive because it is setting you free. A song like “Caption” is about being free from that toxic person. A song like “Ya No Te Extraño,” which is a song that I have from two years ago, was produced by Wisin, Los Legendarios, by Daddy Yankee, Raphy Pina, and myself. “Ya No Te Extraño” is me saying “Why are you looking for me? Why do you want to be with me now? Now that I don’t feel anything?” It was about putting together Mexican rhythms with Puerto Rican reggaeton with a Dominican voice. It’s a freaking mix that you won’t find anywhere. 

Talk to me a little more about working with Joss Favela. Why was it so important to add a little touch of Mexico on the project?
I’ve always done this. I did a 2017 feature with Daddy Yankee that was very well-received. It was called “Buena Vida” and it was made for a telenovela. I also made “La Mejor Versión De Mí” also with Joss Favela, who was in México.  I’ve always had a connection with Joss and he also wrote “La Falta Que Me Haces,” which is an extremely personal song. I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to sing it because it has so much meaning to me. But I had always had a very good bond with Mexico and it has always been the No. 1 place that has supported me.

You mentioned that you have the last collaboration with Daddy Yankee before he retired. He said he’s now going to dedicate his life to Jesus. Have you talked to him about it? What’s that like for you as a collaborator?
I feel like it’s amazing that someone has that rush to express how they really feel. I feel like that’s what life’s about and he’s been such a hustler. He’s been such a hard worker. He has given so much happiness to people. Whenever a person has done all that, and even more if it’s something positive, I feel like that’s nasty real.

We talked about motherhood and pop stardom but I think there’s beauty in being sexy and a mom. You’re all-encompassing. What’s that process like for Natti?
I feel like I’ve always been me. I feel like maybe people don’t think ‘How is Natti Natasha a mom and she’s still being sexy?’ After I had my kid I felt like it had nothing to do with music. I am me and I’ve always been unapologetic. I’ve always been sexy. I’ve always been very sure of myself. I feel like I have nothing to prove.

When I work, I’m not thinking that I’m a mom. When I’m singing, I’m Natti Natasha. Music is music and music is just to enjoy. When you go to a club and you’re listening to any song you’re just enjoying the music, you’re not analyzing if Natti Natasha is a mom or not. What matters is how good that song is, how much you’re connecting with the lyrics of that song, that’s all that matters. I won’t be checking on Julia Roberts if she’s a prostitute in real life because she was in Pretty Woman


To wrap up, what was the biggest lesson you learned in 2023 and what are you looking forward to in 2024?
The biggest lesson in 2023 was, “Do it yourself.” I don’t know how to explain that. But do it yourself. Feel empowered, even when you feel nothing. Be big, be amazing. Be perrota, be nasty.

In 2024, I’m looking forward to collaborating with artists that I haven’t worked with. You never know, probably a Drake. You never know. Probably Jay Z. New artists, maybe doing some acting. I would love to experiment with other things. I want to go on a tour next year. I want to be able to sing it with the fans. I want to grow with my fans. I just want to do it all!

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