Reggaetón Essentials

Reggaetón Essentials

Reggaetón’s evolution is an unlikely success story. Though today the genre enjoys the spotlight on the global charts and at top-tier festivals, the once-forbidden rhythm earned notoriety in ‘90s-era Puerto Rico for its hedonistic approach. Emerging after Panamanian reggae en Español, and locked in by the skeletal rhythms of Jamaican dembow, genre-defying producers like The Noise, Playero, and DJ Nelson turned the Caribbean style into a dance-floor movement that has been resonating ever since. Vocalist Ivy Queen, influenced by the New York school of hip-hop, started repping female empowerment, and by the turn of the millennium, Daddy Yankee took a more maximalist path that furthered its expansion. By the second coming of reggaetón in the mid-‘10s, Colombian artists J Balvin and Maluma added gloss and sophistication to the urbano format, as did Puerto Rico’s Ozuna and Luis Fonsi—the latter of whom went on to change its course forever with a slinky banger called “Despacito.”

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