The Meaning Behind “QLONA” by Karol G and Peso Pluma

Latin music’s meteoric rise to chart domination happened with the ascent of streaming. Artists like Bad Bunny and J Balvin are household names, and the sounds of reggaetón now regularly appear on tracks by English-language pop stars.

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Columbian artist Karol G is now riding a Latin wave formerly dominated by men. With her fame, she’s given a voice to the female perspective, telling good, bad, and ugly stories about women. She fought for this space in music and had to break cultural and gender barriers on her way to becoming one of the most streamed women in music.  

On the streets of Colombia, she heard men singing about women, often in a demeaning way. Karol G struggled with attempts to fit in with the music scene while being honest with who she was as both an artist and person.

Determined to succeed, the gritty singer (born Carolina Giraldo Navarro) became a new force in Latin music. Her recent collaboration with Mexican singer and songwriter Peso Pluma went viral and topped the charts in several countries.

Their reggaetón hit is called “QLONA,” pronounced Culona, and features on Karol G’s latest mixtape, Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season).

Not Lost in Translation

Men have sung about women, and more specifically, women’s bodies, for decades. And the obsession isn’t limited to Latin or urban music. Two examples come to mind: Sir Mix-A-Lot speaking his truth on “Baby Got Back” and Freddie Mercury’s understanding of what made the world go around on “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

Meanwhile, Karol G has taken “back” back. Culona is Spanish for “big ass” or “big-bottomed,” and on “QLONA,” she sings about desire and sex with Peso Pluma.

I saw you yesterday
That beautiful face
Damn, what a mamacita
You’re teasing me
Even though it’s not intentional
I already asked about you
And more than a month ago
You broke up with that fool

Billboard translated the steamy lyrics from Karol G’s hit, and the message is as clear as Sir Mix-A-Lot’s preferred booty type.  

What crazy desire I have
To kiss you
I saw you in a photo and imagined you
Without clothes
I’d be lying if I’m not crazy
To see you
With those jeans,
You have a big booty


According to Billboard, Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season) became the second Spanish-language album by a female artist to reach the top three on the magazine’s pop chart.

Interscope Records planned for a deluxe edition of Karol G’s fourth studio album, Mañana Será Bonito, but the singer viewed the project differently. She pictured the new collection as a cassette with an A-side and a B-side.

She told Apple Music, “I feel more free, self-confident, and empowered. I want to show my force and the grandiosity of what I have accomplished with so much sacrifice and work.” She described Bichota Season as her evolution.

“Bichota” appeared on Karol G’s 2021 album KG0516. It’s derived from the Puerto Rican slang for a high-ranking drug dealer. The word became a synonym for empowerment, daring, and strong. Similarly, the way “pimp” is colloquially used as an adjective.

Karol G’s empowerment narrative parallels her music career. Through unrelenting determination, she fought to make women more than the object of men’s songs. Karol G is the subject.

Mañana Será Bonito

The album title translates to “Tomorrow will be beautiful.” She explained to Rolling Stone that it became a mantra when “nothing felt great.” So, she repeated the phrase Mañana Será Bonito to help her through a general feeling of disconnection.

Rising success didn’t cure the malaise either. Folk singer Noah Kahan recently spoke to The New Yorker about a similar feeling. How can you have a hit record, play in front of thousands of screaming fans, and still feel bad when you go home? He seeks regular therapy to work through it.

Latin Music Dominance and Spotify

Karol G is another Latin artist whose success happened on Spotify. The world’s most popular streaming platform indeed accumulates unflattering headlines with its pitiful royalty rates for artists and songwriters. Still, it’s also responsible for breaking previously unknown artists and genres.

On its release day, Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season) reached 18.7 million streams, breaking a record previously held by Rosalía’s Motomani. Karol G’s own Mañana Será Bonito is the only album that beats those two.

Her music wasn’t moving fast enough in South America, so she relocated to New York. Karol G broke through with her Bad Bunny collaboration “Ahora Me Llama.” Spotify’s RISE program helped the “QLONA” singer soar. For all the negative press, the speedy global reach of Spotify is unprecedented.

Conventional thinking predicted streaming would ruin the music business model, but the opposite has happened. It’s imperfect, and this isn’t a defense of the platform’s royalty structure, but who knows how many Latin artists wouldn’t have charted in America without it? Spanish-language pop continues its permanent breakthrough.

Karol G said tomorrow will be beautiful. For her and other Latin artists, so is today.

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Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images

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