Becky G: L.A.’s homegrown, go-to Latin pop star

A woman poses on a spiral staircase
Becky G, photographed at New York’s Civilian Hotel.
(Amy Lombard / For The Times)

Becky G remembers several things about February’s Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium: the swarm of football fans that descended upon her hometown of Inglewood; the halftime show headlined by Dr. Dre; and how badly her friends were jonesing to celebrate the Rams victory at an upscale club in Hollywood.

“I’m very passionate about having grown up in L.A.,” says Becky, pausing to flash an elaborate “Los Angeles” tattoo on her forearm — “but metaphorically speaking, Hollywood is like the upside-down. Nobody dances, it’s all about who’s at whose table. I’d rather throw a carne asada at my house!”

Outside the club, a bouncer actually turned her away for a lack of Hollywood credentials, but the Latinos working the valet stand were star-struck, as were the cooks and dishwashers, who came scrambling out of the kitchen to meet her. “That’s what being Latin-famous is,” Becky says.


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Even in Los Angeles, where Hispanic communities constitute half of the city’s population, Latinos are often rendered invisible in the parallel universe outside their enclaves, and those who “make it out” are presumed to exist for the service of wealthier (and whiter) people. Yet 10 years into her music career, the Latin Grammy-nominated pop star has harnessed her power by making it back in.

When I speak with Becky over Zoom, she’s getting glammed up backstage at the Wizink Center in Madrid before her appearance at the Spanish music festival Distrito Urbano. The 25-year-old has just learned of her four Latin Grammys nominations: urban song for “Mamiii,” her joint single with Karol G; and song of the year, record of the year and urban fusion/performance for “Pa’ Mis Muchachas,” or “For My Girls,” the sassy trap hit that heralded Christina Aguilera’s long-awaited return to Latin music, and also featured Argentine MCs Nicki Nicole and Nathy Peluso.

“I want to take a second to recognize just how beautiful it is for me, personally, to experience these moments of success with other women,” Becky says. “It gets lonely here!”

A woman in a floral red dress at an awards show
Becky G at the 22nd Latin Grammy Awards in 2021.
(Eric Jamison / Invision/AP)

Unlike the average solo star, Becky finds strength and inspiration in being a team player. It’s a quality that has become essential to her strategy as an artist wedged between Anglo and Latin markets; from Bad Bunny to Snoop Dogg, Becky’s collaborators can usually count on her to bring both the street-savvy and pop sparkle needed to perfect their party anthems.

“[Becky G] has helped me a lot, and she’s taught me a lot too,” Colombian singer Karol G told The Times in 2021. After years of being pitted against each other — not to mention sharing the same last initial — Karol G[iraldo] and Becky G[omez] triumphed over a media-manufactured feud with “Mamiii,” which reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Becky’s highest-charting hit. The Gs’ camaraderie hit a crescendo when they performed the song at this year’s Coachella, as their moms cheered them on from the front.


“I’ll never forget walking onto a red carpet in Miami for an awards show,” Becky says. “A journalist said, ‘Oh, there’s another G here. How does that make you feel?’ Insinuating that [Karol G] was trying to take [my] place. I was just like, ‘We need more Gs, actually!’”

Perhaps Becky’s drive to share her successes stems from being the eldest of four siblings in her Mexican American family and a breadwinner before she even finished elementary school. After an economic crisis forced her family out of their Moreno Valley home and into her grandparents’ garage, Becky took up work as a commercial voice actor and grew her following by singing covers of R&B songs on YouTube. At the age of 14 she signed to RCA and scored her first two hits: her 2013 throwback to J.Lo, “Becky From the Block,” followed by 2014’s “Shower,” an English-language bubblegum ditty originally written for Katy Perry.

“I was always on a mission as a kid,” she says. “It was out of a need for survival. I wasn’t doing this because it was fun. And I wasn’t doing it just for me. I was doing it for my family and my community.”

Breaking into the U.S. mainstream seemed like a fast-track to independence for a young Becky, until it started to feel like the wheels were spinning off-track. After releasing her 2013 EP, “Play It Again,” progress on Becky’s debut album was inexplicably stalled. She began to find a sense of belonging in collaborating with fellow Latinos like Pitbull and the Mexican DJ trio 3BallMTY, with whom she first performed at Coachella in 2013.

“Spanish music gave me the drive to find my own voice as a young woman in this industry,” she says, identifying herself as a “200-percent kid,” or, someone pressured to authentically embody both Hispanic and Anglo American cultures. “I think somebody in the psychology realm should investigate the impact on us 200-percent kids who go between cultures, trying to assimilate to both sides.”

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Much like her idol, Selena Quintanilla, Becky did not grow up speaking fluent Spanish; apart from casual conversation with her grandparents, who hail from Jalisco, Becky expanded her Spanish vocabulary as an adult. She hired her cousin Cristina as a traveling Spanish tutor, who helped prepare Becky on the road as she made appearances across Latin America and Spain.

It was also while passing the last six years with her Argentine boyfriend, FC Dallas soccer player Sebastian Lletget, that Becky’s Spanish accent transformed into a well-traveled mélange of dialects. Her honeyed soprano assumes the form of the rhythms she sings along to, whether it’s with her “honorary tío” Snoop Dogg and Banda MS in their regional Mexican-trap song, “Qué Maldición,” or the reggaetón groove of “La Loto” with Tini and Anitta.

“When I started, it was considered an artist’s downfall if they were jumping between genres, because then there’s no identity to latch on to,” Becky says.

“In the beginning, I wanted to be a rapper like Tupac but who could also sing songs on my guitar like Taylor Swift. And I could do it in English, Spanish or Spanglish because, you know, I’m pocha,” she adds, making light fun of her own waxing and waning fluency in Spanish. “But [people] were like, ‘How do you go from Tupac to Taylor Swift?’ Only Becky would.”

With her 2019 debut album, “Mala Santa,” Becky shed her reputation as the Latina girl-next-door with a collection of sexy pop-reggaeton collaborations, including “Sin Pijama,” her tag-team with Dominican MC Natti Natasha, and “Mayores,” her duet with then-nascent SoundCloud rapper-turned-global superstar Bad Bunny.

On her 2022 album, “Esquemas,” which translates to “Schemes,” Becky brandishes her individuality with the hard-won adaptability of a girl from Inglewood. She makes like Uma Thurman on “Kill Bill,” cutting her naysayers down with razor-sharp verses in Spanish; but she leans back into her good girl steeze in the Elena Rose-assisted doo-wop number “Flashback” and on the disco-pop number “Bailé Con Mi Ex,” which topped the Billboard Latin Airplay chart.

“This record is by far the most involved I’ve ever been melodically, lyrically, sonically,” she says. “I listened to every single song a cappella because I wanted to make sure that every vocal note represented me and the artist that I’ve become.”

Becky G’s ascent in the music industry has motivated her to executive produce at least two scripted series, including one inspired by her mother, Alejandra: “I say every meeting, ‘No more stories about us without us,’” Becky says. She’s also founded her own vegan-friendly makeup brand, Tresluce Beauty — and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of recording more English-language music.

“Latinos must play so many different positions,” Becky says. “Without each of us playing our part, we will not get our voices heard. If we don’t use our platforms, if we don’t show our support for each other, how do we make it? We have to be championing one another.”