“Hentai” by Rosalía

As implied by the title of this song, with hentai being an adult-oriented subgenre of Japanese anime which contains sexualized imagery, the lyrics are in fact sexual in nature. Presumably so is Motomami in whole, considering that Rosalía is depicted as being nude on the cover art. And the wording of this particular piece has proven so suggestive that even Pharrell Williams, who produced it on top of being credited as a co-writer, was shocked by its lyrical content once translated into English.

But that said, young female singers appearing nude in cover art is more or less an industry standard these days. And the lyrics of this piece, despite undeniably being about sex, aren’t anything we haven’t come across before. In fact in reality, besides for the vocalist utilizing the word “f***ing” in the first chorus, in terms of sexual references this song is entirely metaphorical in approach. 

However, such metaphors are the types that even a slightly media-savvy child should be able to pick up on. For instance, the main analogy used features the vocalist desiring to “ride” the addressee “like (her) bike”. Then we are treated to other colorful, albeit very easy to interpret euphemisms like Rosalía ‘loving his gun’ and ‘wanting to eat him now’.

But there is also, believe it or not, a religious element to this song, as the vocalist proclaims that ‘God is first’ in her life. But in terms of her more-earthly existence, obviously what Rosalía enjoys more than anything else is a good, solid bonking. And this is especially true as far as her relationship with the addressee goes, who is depicted as sort of a playa. However, he is a playa that “puts (her) ahead” of his other romantic interests.

Song’s Title ( “Hentai”)

Going back to the title, it is featured in the outro. Here, the vocalist puts forth a desire to “make” the addressee a “hentai”. And based on a reference made in the first chorus, it seems that what she wants is to make an explicit s-x tape with him.

Lyrics of ROSALIA's "HENTAI"

Facts about “Hentai”

The music video to this track was directed by one Mitch Ryan. It was shot in Ukraine, which is very interesting. And why? This is because with this song being released in March of 2022, there is serious turmoil in Ukraine. The country is actually concurrently caught up in a well-publicized war with neighboring Russia.

16th March, 2022 is the actual official date of release of “Hentai”.

As noted Pharrell Williams is one of the producers of this song. So are the following songwriters:

  • Sir Dylan
  • Noah Goldstein
  • Michael Uzowuru

Rosalía herself also contributed writing to “Hentai”.  

And the lot of them are also amongst its co-writers, accomplishing that task in conjunction with the following:

  • Jacob Sherman
  • Larry Gold
  • David Rodriguez
  • Chad Hugo (who is Pharrell’s Neptunes’ teammate)

This track is from Motomami, Rosalía’s third studio album, as backed by Columbia Records.

Around the same time as the release of this track, Rosalía made history by being the first musician to grace the stage of Saturday Night Live by performing her songs completely in Spanish.

Rosalía has suggested that in addition to being sexual, this song is also intended to be humorous.

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