This is the first single by the Colombian pop-rock singer-songwriter Shakira, from her seventh studio album, Sale el Sol (English: The Sun Comes Out). The song was released on September 1, 2010.
The song is a remake of El Cata's merengue smash hit "Loca Con Su Tiguere." Two versions were recorded of the song - an English one featuring vocals from British rapper Dizzee Rascal and a Spanish version featuring El Cata.
Merengue is a type of music and dance from Dominican Republic, which is popular all over Latin America. It is named after the meringue, a sweet made from whipped egg whites and sugar though it is unclear as to why the music adopted the name of the dessert.
Dizzee Rascal admitted on the BBC Newbeat program that this song is proof of his willingness to experiment. Said the rapper: "I know it sounds a bit mad now, but you'll see it and see what's going on. It's me doing something different man, on a merengue tip."
Rascal added that recording the song went smoothly, despite it being a last-minute idea. He said: "Nice girl to work with - it was easy. It was one of those ones off the cuff, 'Oh do you want to work with Shakira, she's in town?... Yeah!'"
The song's music video was filmed in Barcelona - as far as we know no meringues were involved.
Rascal told Billboard magazine that he only joined Shakira in her studio for about an hour to work on the song, but that he was "honored" to contribute to it. "She's a bit of a trendsetter - she does loads of different things on a major scale," he said. "You'd expect her to use an American rapper [for the song], but she chose me. It meant a lot."
While "Loca" is Dizzee Rascal's first stab at Latin music, he told Billboard that he would have no problem working more closely with the genre in the future. "I'd like to be in that Spanish market. I got into the whole reggaeton thing when it came out, so I always wanted to get around to something like that," he said.
The song's music video was shot in Barcelona using a handheld camera and shows Shakira, her crew and Dizzee Rascal capturing the true spirit of being 'loca' in the streets of the Spanish city. The Colombian songstress got herself in hot water during the shoot after she was filmed dancing in a public fountain with locals and riding a motorcycle without a helmet. "Barcelona is one of my favorite cities and has become a second home to me," said Shakira. "The video is just about having fun and being real in this amazing place with real people."
The song reached #1 in several European countries including Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Despite the contribution of Dizzee Rascal, it surprisingly failed to chart in the UK, probably because of low promotion given to the song on TV and music stations. However, in the US it did better, becoming Rascal's first song to reach the Hot 100.
A New York federal judge found that the Spanish-language version of the song indirectly borrowed from a 1998 track by Dominican singer Ramon "Arias" Vazquez. Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that as the original version recorded by El Cata (referred to in court papers simply as "Bello") was copied from Arias Vasquez's original song, Shakira's Latin label was also guilty of a copyright infringement.
"There is no dispute that Shakira's version of the song was based on Bello's version," the judge wrote. "Accordingly, I find that since Bello had copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira's version of the song also indirectly copied Arias."
Judge Hellerstein made a dramatic change from his previous ruling in August 2015 after Sony offered proof that a cassette tape on which Arias had allegedly recorded the original song was not from 1998, as was claimed, and was fake. The judge tossed out the copyright infringement lawsuit stating, "Here was a basic issue of fraud in the trial."
The Colombian-born singer was feeling nostalgic about merengue, a genre she grew up listening to in Barranquilla, which led her to record "Loca." Similarly, the rest of the album was borne out of Shakira's instincts during production. "It was quite interesting and fun to do these kind of things that were sort of impulses in the middle of the creative process. It wasn't planned at all. I was just following my instincts and whatever my instincts would tell me, that's what I would do."