The meaning of Rosalía's Saoko pays homage to classic reggaeton

Yasmine Leung February 4, 2022
The meaning of Rosalía's Saoko pays homage to classic reggaeton

Rosalía’s new song, Saoko, dropped on 4 February 2022 but fans are unsure what the meaning of the title is, so we’re here to explain it.

Rosalía has unveiled the second song from her upcoming album, Motomami, titled Saoko. It follows the release of Motomami’s lead single, La Fama, featuring The Weeknd.

The Spanish singer joins a girl biker gang in the Valentin Petit-directed music video, which was reportedly shot in Kyiv. The Podilskyi Bridge looks very similar to the one in the video.

We may all be jamming out to Saoko, but what does the name actually mean?

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Meaning of Saoko revealed

As per Urban Dictionary, saoko – which can also be spelt as saoco – is Puerto Rican slang “meaning doing something outstanding like making a hit record”

Forum users explain that in salsa music, it refers to the “swing quality” or “grooviness” of the song. Similarly, Billboard states that it’s Puerto Rican slang for having outstanding rhythm or lots of flavour.

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Saoko was inspired by classic reggaetón

If you’ve seen a song titled Saoko before, it’s because Daddy Yankee and Wisin collaborated on 2004’s Saoco. They’re both leading artists in the genre, with Yankee often regarded as the king of reggaetón.

In fact, Rosalía has sampled the 18-year-old track with “Saoco, papi, saoco”. It comes as no surprise since the genre is well-loved by the singer and has been a constant inspiration whilst creating Motomami.

“Naming my next track ‘Saoko’ and sampling Yankee and Wisin for me is the most direct homage I can make to classic reggaeton”, she says.

The lyrics revolve around transformation, as well as celebrating oneself through the different phases of change. She sings: “Yo soy muy mía, yo me transformo, Una mariposa, yo me transformo” meaning “I am very mine, I transform, a butterfly, I transform”.

She continues with: “Si ere’ la pámpara, nada te pue’ parar, y ya”, which translates to “If you are the hottest thing, nothing can stop you, and that’s it”, implying that one should unapologetically be themselves.

Another hit for Rosalía

There’s a lot of pressure for Motomami to be delivered since it will follow her 2018 breakout album, El Mal Querer, but judging from Saoko’s reception, that won’t be a problem.

It may only be a two-minute song, but fans are praising the catchy hook and outstanding production. The unexpected piano break, however, has been criticised for “stopping any progression from happening” and taking “away from the song being a banger from beginning to end, but it’s a good break for a short song.”

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Yasmine Leung is a full-time writer at GRV Media. Having entered the company as a freelancer in 2020 during her BA (Hons) Anthropology and Media degree at Goldsmiths, University Of London, the first-class graduate works across the company's several sites, including HITC, Reality Titbit, The Focus, and Forever Geek. Her content ranges from social media trends and K-Pop news, to interviews with TikTok stars, such as Brody Wellmaker. She is, however, most glad her knowledge of the Kardashians has finally come in handy for GRV’s Audience team. You'll also find her scrolling on Instagram searching for the latest celeb updates for her next piece.