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Shakira & Bizarrap, 'BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53'

Shakira's himbo era is over. In her new collaboration with Argentine producer Bizarrap, she takes direct aim at her ex, futbol star Gerard Piqué. Although forlorn breakup songs are the backbone of Shakira's rise to stardom in the '90s, she trades the acoustic guitar and heartbroken lyricism for full-on disses over Bizarrap's EDM backdrop. "Una loba como yo no está pa' novatos (a she-wolf like me is not for rookies)," she sings, presumably referencing her 10-year age difference over the father of her children. "Una loba como yo no está pa' tipos como tú (a she-wolf like me is not for guys like you)."

Even if the house vibe she's going for doesn't pack the same punch as the electro-pop campiness of "She Wolf" or the Latin fusion goldmine of "Hips Don't Lie," this feels like a hard relaunch, one where Shakira's on the hunt for a new, more relevant sound to reclaim her place in pop music. She takes a leap of faith by tackling Bizarrap's club beats, an unexpected pairing that could've just as easily flopped for trying too hard to make a statement, and which ultimately begs the question of whether it's empowering or embarrassing to publicly drag an ex.

But Shakira emerges mostly triumphant in her breakup pettiness, managing to name-drop both Piqué and his rumored new girlfriend in her witty wordplay. Her career might've taken a backseat to her relationship in the past, but her mic drop in Bizarrap's hitmaking YouTube series suggests she's ready to make up for lost time. She says so herself: "Las mujeres ya no lloran / Las mujeres facturan (Women don't cry anymore / women cash in)."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Isabella Gomez Sarmiento is a production assistant with Weekend Edition.