What Does 'Tusa' By KAROL G And Nicki Minaj Really Mean?

Karol G teased her song "Tusa" on Instagram on November 6, 2019, with the word "Mañana" (meaning "tomorrow"), and the world went crazy. According to Genius, the song went viral "in a matter of hours." Apparently, people were pretty excited for the first collaboration between the Columbian singer and Nicki Minaj.

The hit song is now thought of as a women's empowerment anthem, yet, it was initially written by two men. Columbian songwriter Keityn worked with producer and frequent Karol G collaborator Ovy On The Drums to write the song, which they called "La Canción (The Song)." Ovy played the track for Karol G, and nothing much happened — until she contacted him a few months later asking to record it. She added a rap, and recommended the title "Tusa" instead. Keityn didn't like that, telling Billboard he "simply used it because it rhymed." But Karol G told him to trust her, so he did.

Karol G shared the track with Minaj, who loved it immediately, sending back her verse within seven hours, per Billboard. The song became a huge hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, winning the ASCAP Latin Music Award Song of the Year, and garnering two Latin Grammy nominations. The shiny video for it has over 1 billion views on YouTube.

So, what is the song really about, if not (exactly) empowerment? Keep reading to find out.

Behind Karol G and Nicki Minaj's "Tusa"

Besides the fact that Bad Bunny and J Balvin also released a song called "La Canción" beforehand, Karol liked the name "Tusa" better. It's certainly catchier, and more specific. According to Billboard, "Tusa" is a Columbian slang word for heartache, mixed with a bit of spite, which lots of people feel after a breakup.

In the song, Karol G sings in Spanish, and in the third person, about a woman who insists she is over a recent breakup. She acts all tough, going out with other men, "Que porque un hombre le pagó mal (because a guy did her wrong)." But her tough exterior vanishes whenever she hears their song, and instead, she cries and tries to get back together with her ex. Clearly, her going out and having fun hasn't helped her get over this bad guy.

With Nicki Minaj's rap, the character takes a better turn. Minaj speaks in the first person, saying she "cried for nothing, and now I'm a bad girl." She was initially focused on her "J.O.," meaning her job, and realized that the dude was "an epic fail." Now she's with other men and knows that she's too good for the man who wronged her. You go, girl! But Karol G then returns to remind us that when their song is played, she again starts crying. Perhaps it's better to think of Minaj's rap as the empowering part.