C. Tangana: The Spanish Music Sensation Transforming an Entire Industry

The Madrid-based artist has become one of the greatest influences in the Spanish music scene

Archivado en: C.Tangana  •   Rosalia  •  

C. Tangana, also known as Pucho, Crema, El Madrileño, or simply Antón Álvarez –his real name–, has become a major player in the Spanish music scene. Starting out in underground rap, he’s now recognized for his strong artistic vision, keen insight into the music industry, and ability to anticipate trends. In his single «Yelo,» he even acknowledges his impact, claiming to have ‘changed the industry of an entire country.’

The reach of Pucho’s music has extended far beyond Spain’s borders. His ‘Sin Cantar ni Afinar’ tour, which included stops in various Latin American countries such as Buenos Aires, Colombia, and Mexico, as well as in the United Kingdom, demonstrated his international appeal and that of his entire team.

The Beginning

To understand how Pucho got his start in the rap scene –by the way, Pucho is a nickname his mother gave him when he was young, also used for his father and grandfather– it’s important to know his early days. 

Antón was born in Madrid on July 16, 1990, and went to San Viator school in Madrid, Spain. During his high school years, he began to explore freestyle rap. Using the stage name Crema, he soon began recording his first demos, which gained attention within the underground music scene. This is when he started connecting with other up-and-coming artists from Madrid.

First Steps & First Album

One of the main factors that shaped C. Tangana’s early rap career was his hometown, Madrid. Whether it’s for better or for worse, where we grow up influences who we become –our personality, lifestyle, how we see the world, and how we interact with those around us. Antón Álvarez has always been clear about this: “my neighborhood is my people, I’ve always known that,” as he mentions in «Fuera del Barrio,» a song from Agorazein.  

In a 2019 interview, ‘Pucho’ talked about how “the beginnings for me are rooted in the Madrid scene. That underground scene in Madrid that no one really acknowledged but we listened to: Hermanos Herméticos, Perros Callejeros… For me, that’s where it all started, that’s where I found my path.” Understanding the significance of Madrid in both Tangana’s artistic journey and personal life, with numerous references to the city in his songs, one can better understand the reason behind the title and nickname of ‘El Madrileño’ in his latest stage. 

Between 2005 and 2008, Crema released several demo tapes through the record label ‘Es Tao ChunGo,’ which he shared on MySpace. These demos, like «ElesCrema,» «Madrid Files,» or «Desde la Octava Ventana del Bloque,» gained him recognition on the social media platform. They set the stage for Agorazein, his first album, and the only physical release of Crema’s work that we have.

Later on, this album became the namesake for the rap collective he joined, alongside Fabianni, Sticky M.A., I-Ace, and Jerv.agz. Agorazein, which translates to ‘being in the square’ or ‘hanging out’ in Greek, ended up being the collective’s name thanks to C. Tangana’s persistence.

Solo Artist

In 2011, they released their first collaborative album, «KIND OF RED.» Just a couple of months later, the artist dropped another album titled Agorazein presenta a C. Tangana, all tracks were written, performed, and produced by Antón himself.

In addition to these collaborative efforts with Agorazein, C. Tangana released another album called Siempre. Later on, as a solo artist, he released several singles, mixtapes, and EPs, including «LOVE’S,» «Trouble + Presidente,» «Alligators,» «10/15,» «Lo Hace conmigo,» «Los chikos de Madriz,» «Llámame más tarde,» and «Antes de morirme.» The last two singles featured Rosalía.

Music & Money

After taking these initial steps, C. Tangana, who was already well-known in a wider rap scene, landed the most lucrative contract in Spain’s music industry by signing with Sony, a record label he still collaborates with today. This partnership led to the release of Ídolo, his first album in this new phase of his music career.

A year after releasing Ídolo, C. Tangana brings forth «Avida Dollars,» an album that solidifies – if it wasn’t already – his career and musical prowess. Evolving from his early demos, the rapper delves into new sounds, exploring the world of trap. Through the lyrics of the ten songs on this album – now eleven as of today, with the addition of «Estrecho/Alvarado» last May 2023, produced by pablopablo – he explicitly expresses themes of luxury, money, and success, reflecting experiences he was living firsthand.

The standout track is undoubtedly «Llorando en la limo» (Crying in the Limo). The title alone speaks volumes. The music video, lyrics, and C. Tangana’s demeanor in this song perfectly encapsulate this new aspect of the artist’s persona.

With his album Ídolo, he scored his first Number 1 in Spain, outperforming international artists like Ozuna. His single «Mala Mujer» went double platinum and topped various official Spotify playlists. Other tracks like «De Pie,» «Tiempo,» or «No te pegas» also made it into the national top 100. The previously mentioned single, «Llorando en la limo,» reached the 16th position on the Global Top 100.

The Transition to ‘El Madrileño’

C. Tangana described his latest album, El Madrileño, as ‘a thousand-page travel novel’ during an interview with CNN. On February 26, 2021, he decided to take a completely different direction in his music career. He wanted to create something unique, moving away from the usual sound and drawing inspiration from old music and folk roots. He explained that El Madrileño represents a more organic approach to music, a departure from the canned sound he had been producing.

This album, besides being highly acclaimed and influential, was also a commercial success. It topped the charts in 2021, becoming the best-selling album in both digital and physical formats, including CDs and vinyl records.

Carin Leon, Spanish rapper C. Tangana and Mexican singer Adriel Favela perform on stage at Wizink Center in Madrid. Mariano Regidor / Getty Images.

The significance of C. Tangana’s work in El Madrileño lies in several aspects. Firstly, it’s the mix of different music styles found in the album, ranging from hip-hop to flamenco, with touches of pop and Latin rhythms. This diverse blend has resulted in numerous, varied, and acclaimed collaborations with artists such as La Húngara, Andrés Calamaro, Jorge Drexler, and Toquinho, among others.

Certainly, the biggest success of El Madrileño was its ability to break barriers, explore new horizons, and collaborate with exceptional musicians and artists. By embracing diverse cultural influences and ambitiously creating something completely different from his previous work, C. Tangana ventured into uncharted territory, aiming to surpass the success he had previously achieved.

Original article by Paula Díaz in Spanish for LOS40.