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Criminal (Natti Natasha and Ozuna song)

"Criminal" is a Spanish-language song by Dominican singer Natti Natasha and Puerto Rican singer Ozuna, released by Pina Records on 18 August 2017. Written by the two singers, Jhay Cortez, Rafael Pina, Vicente Saavedra and its producer Haze, it is a reggaeton song with drum programming and forceful bass patterns indebted to the dancehall genre. The accompanying music video was directed by Nuno Gómes at an abandoned women's prison in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. It portrays Ozuna as a prison director falling in love with a prisoner played by Natasha, and received over 1 billion views on YouTube within five months of its release and was the most watched music video by a female artist in 2017.

"Criminal"
Natti Natasha - Criminal.png
Single by Natti Natasha and Ozuna
LanguageSpanish
Released18 August 2017 (2017-08-18)
Format
GenreReggaeton
Length3:52
LabelPina
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Haze
Natti Natasha singles chronology
"Otra Cosa"
(2016)
"Criminal"
(2017)
"Amantes de una Noche"
(2018)
Ozuna singles chronology
"Se Preparo"
(2017)
"Criminal"
(2017)
"Egoísta"
(2017)
Music video
"Criminal" on YouTube

The track was well received by music critics who found it catchy and praised it for giving reggaeton dance floor appeal. It received a number of award nominations, winning Best Collaboration at the 2018 Soberano Awards. "Criminal" became a crossover success and helped relaunch Natasha's music career, becoming her first top five single on the US Hot Latin Songs chart since 2012's "Dutty Love" and first chart-topper in Spain where it spent three consecutive weeks at number one. It also topped the charts in El Salvador, Paraguay and Peru, and reached the top 10 in 11 other Latin American countries.

Contents

Background and compositionEdit

"Criminal" was written by Natasha, Ozuna, Jhay Cortez, Rafael Pina, Vicente Saavedra and its producer Haze.[1] Pina, Natasha's manager, sent Ozuna the song asking if it would be their third time lucky after two previous failed collaboration attempts; Ozuna called it a "home run".[2] After experiencing a breakthrough in mainstream success, Ozuna wanted the same for Natasha. "Elevating Latinos is my responsibility. No one believed in collaborating with women, [...] it was unheard of, it didn't exist," he said.[3] Pina recalled, "After several months of trying to bring up the song, there was always a situation that would have discouraged anybody but, unlike me, I never got up with a 'no' in my head and continued without anything or anyone stopping me."[2] Both Natasha and Ozuna were taken to a prison before recording the song.[4]

According to Los 40's Alberto Palao Murcia, "Criminal" is "one hundred percent reggaeton",[2] while Marjua Esteves of Billboard writes that it is "not your everyday fast-pumping reggaeton record, but a criminally slow-grinding jam".[5] The song has drum programming and forceful bass patterns indebted to the dancehall genre.[6]

Music videoEdit

 
Ozuna approaching Natasha in an electric chair for a kiss in the music video.

The accompanying music video was directed by Venezuelan director Nuno Gómes. It was filmed at a deactivated women's prison in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico in April 2017 and inspired by the music video for Lady Gaga's "Telephone".[7][8] A storm hit Vega Alta a day before the video shoot, resulting in trucks getting stuck in mud and the video wardrobe getting wet. Gómes called it the worst filming day of his career.[7] Filming took nearly 20 hours.[2] Fashion designer Nelson Tavárez chose bold ensembles for Natasha's wardrobe to portray her character as empowered and confident.[9]

Natasha plays a prisoner trying to attract the attention of Ozuna, the prison director.[8] The clip starts with Natasha being escorted to the prison where Ozuna awaits. They are shown in several locations inside the prison with Natasha performing sensual dances for Ozuna. The video reaches a climax with Natasha sitting in an electric chair and Ozuna approaching her for a kiss. Both are struck by electricity, but are shown together amid police alarms in the final scene.[10]

The video led YouTube's weekly chart for two consecutive weeks in November 2017, ending Luis Fonsi's 35-week run at number one with "Despacito".[11][12][13] It surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube within five months of its 18 August 2017 release and was the most watched music video by a female artist in 2017.[7][14] "Criminal" is one of the 50 most viewed videos and eight most viewed Spanish-language videos on YouTube,[15][16] having received over 1.8 billion views.[17] It is also both Natasha and Ozuna's most watched music video on the platform.[17][18] Natasha said YouTube provided her with "the opportunity to reach other parts of the world, when before we depended on a label for that. It's definitely an achievement not only for me, but for Latina women. Before we did not have that reach."[11] Billboard included "Criminal" at number 11 in its list of Top 25 Sexiest Latin Music Videos.[19]

Critical receptionEdit

"Criminal" was well received by music critics upon release. Writing for Billboard, Leila Cobo described the song as "sexy without being vulgar" and said its "immediate catchiness" made it "a YouTube sensation".[20] Maxim's Brandon Friederich found it "contagious" and wrote, "Even if you're a non-Spanish speaker, just try resisting the urge to sing the 'muy criminal'-laden chorus".[21] Alberto Palao Murcia from Los 40 deemed it a "catchy tune" and commented, "I timidly gave the track a play expecting a more Latin rhythm that does not even reach the dance floor, but, to my surprise, the second chorus was already sung 'Criminal, Cri-Criminal..."[2] Similarly, Tommy Calle of Hoy called it "an urban anthem that has managed to turn on the dance floor".[22] Billboard placed "Criminal" at number 17 in its list of Top 20 Best Latin Songs of 2017.[5]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Organization Award/work Result Ref.
2018 Soberano Awards Collaboration of the Year Won [23]
MTV Millenial Awards Nominated [24]
2019 BMI Latin Awards Award Winning Song Won [25]
Heat Latin Music Awards Collaboration of the Year Pending [26]

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[76] Platinum 50,000 
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[77] 4× Platinum 160,000^
United States (RIAA)[78] 15× Platinum (Latin) 900,000 

^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "ACE Repertory". American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Murcia, Alberto Palao (18 January 2018). "Criminal: El videoclip de las mil millones de reproducciones que quizá aún no conocías". Los 40 (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  3. ^ Cepeda, Eduardo (18 April 2019). "How Ozuna Became YouTube's Most-Watched Artist of 2018 - And Why He's Drawing More Attention Now". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Natti Natasha revela detalles de Ozuna en 'Criminal' (Video)". Onda Cero (in Spanish). 13 November 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Top 20 Best Latin Songs of 2017: Billboard Staff Picks". Billboard. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  6. ^ Leight, Elias (3 August 2018). "Why Isn't Jamaican Dancehall Bigger in the U.S.?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Assunção, Muri (21 May 2018). "Ozuna and Natti Natasha's Go-To Music Video Director, Nuno Gomes, On His Viral Visuals". Billboard. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Ver video: Criminal ft. Ozuna (Official Video). Artista: Natti". VidaPrimo (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 April 2019.
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  76. ^ "Italian single certifications – Natti Natasha & Ozuna – Criminal" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 23 April 2019. Select "2018" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Criminal" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  77. ^ "Natti Natasha / Ozuna – Criminal". Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  78. ^ "American single certifications – Natti Natasha, Ozuna – Criminal". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 7 June 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click Type, then select Latin, then click SEARCH.