Venezuelan Reggaeton Star Alfonso La Cruz Is Having a Hot Boy Summer
This is SOUND ADVICE, a weekly destination for playlists curated by Interview’s friends, enemies, and lovers. Over the past few weeks, we’ve gathered playlists by Daniel Fisher, a.k.a. Physical Therapy, Ethel Cain, and Mike Sabath. After a few days of back-and-forth WhatsApp messages, the up-and-coming Venezuelan reggaeton star Alfonso La Cruz found time to call us from Madrid, the city he’s called home for nearly a decade. Clips of his music video for “Quitate La Ropa”—”take your clothes off,” in English—took over Gay Twitter™ in recent weeks, shaking the foundation of a genre historically dominated by hetero guys singing to women over dembow bears. But La Cruz has brought a bit of gay spice to reggaeton; the video for the single features a diverse group of men, clad only in baggy jeans, their briefs peeking out, gyrating their hips and engaging in some boxing each other homoerotically. “Now boys can sing to boys,” he told us. “It’s that simple.” For this week’s installment of SOUND ADVICE, La Cruz answered our probing questionnaire and and built a hot boy playlist to get us through the dog days of summer.
ERNESTO MACIAS: What city are you in?
ALFONSO LA CRUZ: Madrid.
MACIAS: What’s your zodiac sign?
LA CRUZ: Scorpio.
MACIAS: Your video for “Quitate La Ropa” generated a lot of traction on TikTok, especially in the LGBTQ community. How do you feel about this worldwide reaction to your video?
LA CRUZ: Wow. It has been an incredible process, really. When I realized that many people accepted the video clip with great affection and the song—many people identified. It has been something that we did not expect. We had pretty high expectations, but honestly, when we saw what woke up, we were like, “wow!” It was imaginable but we didn’t count on it.
MACIAS And this song, “Quítate la Ropa,” is on your upcoming album?
LA CRUZ: No, “Quitate La Ropa” is a single and we have several singles scheduled for the coming months, but by 2024 we do have a complete album. We are already discussing the issue of video clips—the themes, the number of songs. Making an album is very personal and beautiful and I really want to start working on it.
MACIAS: I grew up with reggaeton and these types of songs, but always listened to them from the point of view of a man singing to a woman. So, your song spoke to me, and that desire for another man felt very good. Did you have any kind of fear about releasing it into the world?
LA CRUZ: Yes, the truth is that when I started working on the project I thought a lot about, “Will the public accept it?” We are very used to listening to urban music: boy singing to the girl, girl singing to the boy. I remembered when Ivy Queen came out back in the day. I don’t know if you remember who Ivy Queen is, she initiated that movement where girls openly sang their feelings to men. Now we’re in this new era of urban music, Villano Antillano, Joe Mico. I said, “Well, now is the perfect time to get into the market.” Girls sing to girls, now boys can sing to boys. It’s that simple.
MACIAS: Where do you like to dance?
LA CRUZ: En el party.
MACIAS: What’s on your bedroom playlist??
LA CRUZ: I like chill reggaeton. The lo fi reggaetones, the slow ones. An example is “París” by Ingratax. [La Cruz sings] “Me imaginaba tú y yo en París.”
MACIAS: Bluetooth or wired headphones?
LA CRUZ: Bluetooth, 100%. Because mostly when I have my headphones on, I’m doing some activity. So, the wire’s a no.
MACIAS: What was your first concert ever?
LA CRUZ: Beyoncé, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Incredible, it was in Caracas, Venezuela.
MACIAS: What song makes you cry?
LA CRUZ: “Una Palabra” by Carlos Varela, a Cuban singer. The song is very special to me. It reminds me a lot of my family.
MACIAS: Who’s your favorite artist that hardly anyone knows at the moment?
LA CRUZ: I like this artist a lot, his name is Omar Courtz. I’m very excited for him to see this.
MACIAS: Do you play any instruments?
LA CRUZ: Piano and guitar.
MACIAS: What’s your favorite club or disco?
LA CRUZ: Well, I love a place in Madrid called Baranoa. The bar plays Latin music. It feels like Miami and I love it. And Lakama bar too, which is more like a cafe.
MACIAS: Who is the queen of pop?
LA CRUZ: The queen of pop for me is Beyoncé, without a doubt.
MACIAS: What’s your favorite song cover?
LA CRUZ: I love a cover I did of “Medallo,” Blessd’s song with Justin Quiles and Leny Tavarez.
MACIAS: What song are you currently obsessed with?
LA CRUZ: I really like the one by Myke Towers, “LALA,” which is worldwide. But I’ve liked the song for three months since the album came out. Really, everyone is listening to it right now.
MACIAS: What song makes you feel sexy?
LA CRUZ: Sexy… There is one that I love from Rauw called “2/Catorce.” It makes me feel very sexy.
MACIAS: When you’re pumping at the gym, what are you listening to?
LA CRUZ: I really like listening to Young Miko, because she does a lot of trap and trap kind of gives me that vibe of hitting the weights, I don’t know.
MACIAS: Do you have any favorite TikTok sounds right now?
LA CRUZ: Right now it’s “Quítate la Ropa” [Laughs].
This interview was originally conducted in Spanish.