This song is a collaboration between Colombian singer J Balvin and French DJ and producer Willy William. The track is a fusion of Afro-beat, reggaeton, Latin pop and electronic. William came up with the initial version of the tune (it was originally titled "Voodoo Song"). Once Balvin heard William's original, he liked it so much that he asked if he could jump on and add additional vocals.
Balvin told E! News: "Mi Gente' is a song that embodies a special moment in music, a new sound of a Latino culture on the rise and being embraced globally. By erasing barriers of races, colors, continents, genres or languages, we can achieve the whole world moving their head to the same beat. We hope 'Mi Gente' can provide that beat."
William told Billboard magazine: "I make music for the world, and I'm happy that I produced and performed on a song with such a meaningful title. We call it 'Mi Gente' ['My People'] because it is for everybody, no matter what language you speak. It is a collaboration between a French [William] and Colombian [Balvin] artist. It's global."
Willy Willams worked on the song with J. Balvin in Miami one night in March 2017. The French producer's Spanish is limited so the Colombian star helped him pen his verse.
J. Balvin was inspired to write the lyrics after hearing Donald Trump's comments about building a wall on the Mexican border. This prompted the singer to pen an anthem that sought to bring people together rather than dividing them. "I was like, 'OK, let's do a song to unite the people,'" he tolds MTV News. "I don't want no discrimination; I just want to send a message. I did 'Mi Gente' for my people around the world. The lyrics are so strong, besides the beat. This music is for the world. We don't discriminate nobody. It's a lot."
The third line of the first verse: "Mi música no discrimina a nadie" translates as "My music doesn't discriminate against anyone."
Beyoncé jumped on a remix
, donating her royalties to hurricane and earthquake relief charities to aid victims of recent disasters in "Puerto Rico, Mexico and the other affected Caribbean islands."
Bey croons the third verse on her own in English, but the rest of what she sings on the song is mostly in Spanish. The lyrics Beyoncé sings in the first verse translate as:
"With mine, everyone moves, I have the party in my genes, I am the queen of the children, My people do not stop, nobody here wants to go, If the rhythm is in your head, Now let go and move your feet, I love it when the bass sounds, We started to level up."
Beyoncé has form for singing in Spanish. In 2007, she released Irreemplazable, an EP comprising Spanish, English and Spanglish re-recordings of songs from her 2006 album B'Day.
Beyoncé gives a shout out to the victims of several recent natural disasters on her English verse, singing: "Lift up your people. From Texas to Puerto Rico. Dem islands to Mexico."
The video for the remix features clips of different people dancing to the song. Among the celebrities that contribute cameos are Cristiano Ronaldo, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Diplo and David Guetta.
Beyoncé's daughter Blue Ivy's love for this song persuaded the superstar to agree to the collaboration. She even included her little girl's vocals - a shout out to Blue, whose name is translated to "Azul" in Spanish. "Azul, are you with me?", Beyonce calls out to which the five-year-old answers, "Oh, yes I am."
This picked up the award for Best Latin Video at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.
Balvin joined Jennifer Lopez at the 2020 Super Bowl to perform part of this song during her halftime set.