Paulo Londra Talks Being Inspired by Eminem to Battle Rap In Argentina


Paulo Londra started free styling in Córdoba, an Argentine city better known for  cuarteto -- upbeat music that originated in dance halls -- than trap. Now he's making a name for himself in the genre and preparing to drop his debut album Homerun on May 23. 

From: Córdoba, Argentina
Age: 21
Label: Warner Music Latina

Free Flow
Paulo Londra moved to Córdoba from the smaller city of Corrientes when he was 13 and, inspired by Eminem and the film 8 Mile, quickly fell in with a group of friends who would gather in plazas to battle rap. “Since I was so little, I had to convince my parents to let me go,” says Londra. “Speaking never came easy to me. Rhyming through music was far more natural.”

Rated PG
In January 2017, Londra posted his first video, for his song “Relax,” on YouTube. Four more followed, which caught the attention of Colombian entrepreneur Kristo Salazar, who was impressed that Londra never swore in his lyrics. That year, Salazar signed on as Londra’s manager and flew him to Medellín to hone his sound with reggaetón producer Ovy on the Drums. In February 2018, Londra signed with Salazar and Ovy’s label, Big Ligas, and, a month later, landed a feature on Colombia Warner act Piso 21’s single “Te Amo.”

New Ballgame 
In August 2018, another Londra feature, on Becky G’s “Cuando Te Besé,” was a breakout moment for the rising rapper. It hit No. 1 on the Argentina Hot 100 and marked his debut on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart (reaching No. 30 in February). Its success led Londra to a major-label deal with Warner Music Latin last November. The following month, he dropped “Adán y Eva,” which, with “Tal Vez,” released in April, will appear on his debut album, Homerun, out May 23. “I have to hit it out of the park,” he says, explaining the title.

Model Citizen
Londra says that his family taught him responsibility at an early age, which is why he plans to continue rapping without cursing, especially as he more prominently represents Argentina’s urban music scene. “[My lyrics] made me stand out in rap battles,” he says. “I tried to leave aggressiveness to the side and win with other things, be it sound or fluidity. Some people criticized me, but I liked to do things differently.”

This article originally appeared in the May 25 issue of Billboard.