Reggaeton (a.k.a reggaetón, reguetón and other many variants) is now one of the most listened genres of the world, which has whose explosive expansion is part of the overall boom in Latin music, led by stellar artists such as Bad Bunny, Karol G, Peso Pluma and many others. However, it wasn’t always like that.
Reggaeton was born as an underground phenomenon in the slums of Puerto Rico and Panamá during the late 1980s. An uplifting and powerful style evolved from dancehall and influenced by other rhythms, such as hip hop, Caribbean and electronic music.
It’s real furor emerged in the decade of the 00s, with songs that became fashionable overnight thanks to its founding fathers and mothers, iconic figures like Daddy Yankee (he’s not called daddy for nothing, right?), Héctor el Father, Ivy Queen, Tego Calderón. But there’s also less known pioneers whose participation in the popularization of reggaeton was vital, like Dj PLayero and Dj Nelson, who produced ‘riddims’ (the first reggaeton tracks’, combining dancehall and hip hop.
In fact, something you may not know is that the rapid spread of the genre created a Boricua underground culture that was severely persecuted with a heavy campaign against reggaeton, including Puerto Rican police confiscating cassette tapes under “penal obscenity” code. However, thanks to bootleg recordings and word of mouth, the genre’s popularity greatly increased, getting even discovered by the international public.
These are just some of the hits that consolidated the foundations of reggaeton, which would later become one of the most powerful and widespread genres in the world.
This iconic track released by Hector, Tito, Don Omar and Glory became an anthem of reggaeton and greatly contributed to popularize the genre.
The one and only. The legendary reggaeton anthem was released by Daddy Yankee as a part of his album ‘Barrio Fino’. By the way, Glory (a.k.a Gata Ganster) sings the chorus (although she isn’t credited). ‘Gasolina’ rapidly became a massive chart-topping hit worldwide, becoming the first reggaeton song to be nominated for the Latin Grammys for Record of the Year.
This uplifting hit established Don Omar as one of the prominent figures spreading the genre. Who hasn’t sung ‘Dile’ in the club, even though there’s been 20 years since its release?
Ivy Queen a.k.a the Queen of Reggaeton was also one of its pioneers, releasing this empowering anthem which became a breakthrough for her, showcasing a fierce and confident style.
This track is one of Tego Calderón’s most popular songs, featuring his unique flow and distinctive lyrical style.
‘Rakata’ is undoubtedly one of our party anthems that Wisin & Yandel gave us, which also became a massive hit at the time, greatly known by its energetic and catchy lyrics.
Reggaeton has always been a genre where men have been given more recognition, but artists like Lorna stepped forward to teach us how to serve as perreo queens. Her iconic song ‘Papi Chulo’ succeeded worldwide.
‘Atreve te te te’ by the Puerto Rican iconic band Calle 13 became popular for its uplifting chorus and reggaeton flow.
This amazing junte fused reggaeton with hip-hop and became a hit on the charts, showcasing the genre’s crossover appeal.
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