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Rolling Stone: Musicians on Musicians: Madonna & Maluma

Welcome to Rolling Stone’s 2021 Musicians on Musicians package, the annual franchise where two great artists come together for a free, open conversation about life and music. Each story in this year’s series will appear in our November 2021 print issue, hitting stands on November 2nd - with four special covers, including this one. We’ll be rolling out all 10 stories this week and next, so check back often.


The moment Madonna and Maluma get to Brooklyn’s Caribbean Social Club in Williamsburg, they ignite a frenzy. Both arrive around 8 p.m. on a swampy August night at the 48-year-old neighborhood gem lovingly known as Toñita’s, Madonna fresh from her 63rd birthday celebration in Italy’s southern region of Puglia and Maluma before rehearsals for his Papi Juancho tour. Throngs of neighbors, regulars, and fans crowd along Grand Street, drinks in hand. They blast music - including several Madonna hits - and try to get a glimpse of the stars through the doors of the club. Inside, Madonna (who chose the venue) and Maluma kick off a five-hour photo shoot while blaring Wizkid over the sound system. An older woman watches with delight and taps her giant gold rings against a domino table; she’s none other than Toñita herself, the club owner, who has been asked to be in a few photos.

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PS I don't know why, in this Rolling Stone chat she had with Maluma, she urged him to pay more attention to his clothing and presentation. Hasn't she noticed, for at least the last 2 years, he's been changing his hairstyles, hair colour, and clothes about twice a month?! Just like Lady Gaga, he has learned the value of that from Madonna's career, whether he realises it or not. The difference is Madonna did it more instinctively, whereas Lady Gaga and co. do it as a conscious career strategy.


Maluma seems like a nice kind of person actually, which is refreshing. Medellin is the best thing he's done, by far. His own songs are very samey and unremarkable but I haven't seen anyone accusing him of a dearth of talent, unlike Madonna who is regularly accused of lacking talent even though she co-wrote Medellin and arguably showed everybody that Maluma could do something interesting and not just churn out the clichéd 'painting by numbers' tracks he usually does.

It's ironic that he captures so much interest from the media and screaming audiences even though he's barely had a hit outside his native country and the ones closely related to it culturally, yet Madonna hardly ever gets that kind of enthusiasm now. I do think her creativity has declined drastically but she's still more original than Maluma, musically-speaking, and her back catalogue ought to speak for itself but doesn't inspire the respect from the media and the public that it once did.

Rabbit Bunny

This will be Madonna's best cover yet! I can't wait!

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