Karol G was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1991, and grew up in the city all throughout the 90s — knowing full well the effect narcoterrorism had on her country. The “Cairo” singer has been vocal about the issue in the past, working to erase the still-present “stereotypes” about drugs and cartels in Colombia. While she asserts “that era is done,” she still revealed a very surprising connection between her family and Medellín drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

While Karol G’s GQ México cover caused all kinds of (reasonable) controversy, the interview is still great — and gives extra insight into the singer’s challenging come-up. For one, it describes how she convinced Nicky Jam to let her sing onstage with him at a Medellín lounge in 2013. As luck would have it, iconic producer Ovy On The Drums was in the audience, and their encounter that night would lead to countless chart-topping hits. And while Karol G worked hard to find success, her family also struggled for years — which is exactly where Escobar comes in.

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This is Karol G’s family’s interesting connection to drug lord Pablo Escobar

Karol G told GQ that growing up in Medellín in the 90s was a “strange time,” no doubt relating to the effects of Pablo Escobar’s “reign” as the cartel boss there. Still, Escobar actually helped her family when they needed it the most. The singer’s mother Marta Navarro worked as a waitress in Medellín before Karol G was born, and once served Escobar at the restaurant. The singer described how the drug lord left her mother a substantial tip before going home that night. So big in fact, that it “changed her family’s life” and “helped them off the ground.”

While that story might be heartwarming, it was definitely not all roses and butterflies. In that same statement, the “Provenza” star also said that her uncle was killed around that time for being on the street after curfew. Still, once Karol G was born, she mostly remembers “singing all over the city” alongside her father, who also worked in music. Watch them here:

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Karol G often shows her love for her hometown of Medellín and its history

Through her hometown’s complicated history, Karol G is known to show her pride for Medellín wherever she goes. She told El Colombiano back in December 2021 that she loves her nickname “La Niña de Medellín,” and that she is “very much from Medallo.” She continued, “I talk about Medellín everywhere, I feel very proud of it.”

She also explained to the outlet that she saw her concerts at Medellín’s Atanasio Girardot stadium like “a test.” Why? Because Medellín is “her home,” and she wanted “the experience to be more beautiful than any other place.”

Back in April 2022, the singer also made a surprise appearance at the Medellín neighborhood Provenza. She arrived in her car, and held a free concert for countless fans. Watch the moment here:

Even more, the singer visited San Vicente Infants Hospital in Medellín, Colombia this past December 2022, where she took photos with everyone— and surely made everyone’s day (or year!). That same month, she famously appeared at a nightclub in Provenza to dance with all her fans from Medellín. After they had a night the singer later described as very “chimba,” Karol G famously picked up the 9 million peso tab for all her fans. A queen.