El Alfa

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About El Alfa

To stay healthy, reggaetón needs periodic injections of energy from the streets. And nobody has brought that attitude or authenticity more ferociously than the Dominican dembow star El Alfa. Born Emanuel Herrera Batista in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic, in 1990, El Alfa started seriously pursuing music at age 17. He paid his dues, performing at teen parties and clubs—and in the actual streets—before releasing his first singles at age 20. It wasn’t easy going: Dembow received almost no airplay in the Dominican Republic for years, but El Alfa stuck with the hard-driving genre nevertheless, building a fervent following thanks to his gritty rhymes and rapid-fire, syncopated raps. (That staccato flow has led some to question whether he’s man or machine; he himself has split the difference, releasing El Hombre in 2018 and El Androide in 2020.) A constellation of urbano stars took notice, including tastemakers like Anuel AA, and soon heavy hitters including J Balvin, Farruko, and Bad Bunny started calling on El Alfa to supply that stuttering, anarchic energy to their tracks. He duetted with Cardi B on the narcotic “Mi Mami” in 2018 and scored a major hit with the insistent anthem “Coronao Now” with Lil Pump in 2020; although he’s toned down some of the violence (you’ll hear fewer gunshots in his later hits), El Alfa never lets up on the intensity.

Haina, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
December 18, 1990
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