Emilia LOS40

Reggaetoneras, with an ‘R’ for Revolution: Female Artists Transforming the Genre

This year, it's them who shine brighter than ever on the charts, breaking molds and defying stereotypes in urban music

Archivado en: Anitta  •   Becky G  •   Emilia Mernes  •   J Balvin  •   Karol G  •   María Becerra  •   Natti Natasha  •   Rosalia  •   TINI  •   Villano Antillano  •   Wisin y Yandel  •   Young Miko  •  

Many things have changed in music and society since reggaeton began to solidify as a musical genre in the early 2000s, originating directly from the suburbs of Panama and Puerto Rico. Urban icons like Daddy Yankee, Hector el Father, Nando Boom, Tego Calderón, or Don Omar were pioneers in a scene that emerged as a blend of hip-hop, electronic, and Caribbean rhythms, predominantly composed of male artists.

However, some of the pioneering women initiated a movement by contributing their unique style with an empowering attitude, as is the case with Ivy Queen, considered the eternal goddess of reggaeton. The Puerto Rican singer, rapper, and songwriter began her career as part of an exclusively male artist collective, The Noise, in the 1990s, achieving fame with her own label, with which she also released her first Gold and Platinum records with Diva (2003), Flashback (2005), and Sentimiento (2007).

Other artists like Glory (who, by the way, does backing vocals in «Gasolina»), Lorna, the author of the iconic «Papi Chulo,» and influential duos like La Factoría, formed by Panamanians Demphra and Joycee, made significant contributions to reggaeton at a time when the genre’s narrative mostly reduced the role of women to the song’s subject, often accompanied by sexualization, which has become one of the central criticisms of the genre.

However, following in the footsteps of their predecessors over the past few decades, during this National Heritage Month, we also wanted to pay tribute to those artists who have changed the way music is made in a genre where incorporating the female perspective has been quite a challenge.

The New Era of Reggaeton: From «Sin Pijama» to «TQG»

The urban genre combines numerous elements to create explosive hits that tap into intense emotions. Our reggaetoneras have perfectly translated something as previously neglected as women’s desire into true hits, like the iconic «Sin Pijama» by Becky G and Natti Natasha (somewhat like the Rosetta Stone of the new wave in the scene for us). Becky is undoubtedly a trailblazer and one of the first artists to explore this sentiment and style in «Mayores,» alongside Bad Bunny.

Becky G and Natti Natasha at Coachella
Natti Natasha (R) performs with Becky G at the Coachella Stage during the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Coachella

Another artist who has marked an era and is the recognized current queen of reggaeton is Karol G. She has demonstrated an explosive evolution within the genre. With absolute skill and versatility in delving into her own introspection, Carolina has conveyed the power and intensity of endless love in songs like «OCEAN,» self-love and empowerment in «BICHOTA,» and the pain and satisfaction of revenge in «TQG» with Shakira, also venturing into regional Mexican music with «Mi Ex Tenía Razón.»

Karol G US Tour
Karol G performs at Levi’s Stadium on August 14, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. Steve Jennings / Getty Images

The explosion of the Argentine scene, with catalysts like El Quinto Escalón, has also brought a series of female artists with overwhelming power and potential. María Becerra, who has received up to four Latin Grammy nominations, is one of the undisputed young stars who have come to change everything. Many of her collaborations could be attributed to pioneering and setting the standard for the artists who followed, as is the case with the viral hits «Qué Más Pues» with J Balvin or «Miénteme» with TINI. Precisely, the triple T is one of the most listened-to Argentine singers, on her way to reaching twenty million listeners worldwide, and her style has propelled her to the top.

María Becerra
Maria Becerra performs on stage at Palacio Vistalegre on October 09, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Aldara Zarraoa/Redferns)

Anitta, the third most-listened-to Latin artist in the world, has also become one of the leading figures in reggaeton, exploring and contributing her own touch from the Brazilian funk with songs like «Funk Rave.» This style has already been reproduced by other top-level artists like Emilia and Ludmilla in «No_Se_Ve.mp3,» as well as by Karol G and Maluma joining the remix of DJ Dennis’s hit «Tá Ok.» It promises to be one of the new foundations of urban music genre. Speaking of fusions, only Rosalía has managed to combine a style with a strength, history, and essence as unique as flamenco with reggaeton. Her «Con Altura» with Balvin and «Besos Mojados» with Wisin and Yandel have also made her one of the leading voices in the urban genre, serving as one of the driving forces behind her internationalization.

Anitta performs live prior the UEFA Champions League final match between Manchester City FC and FC Internazionale at Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey on June 10, 2023. (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Rreggaeton is also becoming a platform for representation thanks to LGBTQ+ artists like Young Miko and Villano Antillano. These two artists, raised in the Puerto Rican scene, bring forth an explosive and innovative style. La Villana left us all in awe with her iconic BZRP Music Sessions Vol 51, which has accumulated over 230 million views in just over a year. With a groundbreaking and unique style, this young talent has also dazzled with other hits like «Ride Or Die» with Sevdaliza, «Vendetta,» and her recent track «Cuero.» As for Miko, she has established herself as one of the genre’s big superstars, singing about other women in songs that have climbed high on the charts, such as «Lisa,» «Classy 101,» «Chulo PT.2,» and «Wiggy,» among others. The Puerto Rican artist recently granted one of her most personal interviews to Originales LOS40 Urban, where we can get to know her better.

Young Miko
Young Miko performs onstage during the 2023 Latin American Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mindy Small/Getty Images

In conclusion, female artists within the urban genre have managed to transform the musical panorama, not only with their hits but also by the way they narrate the content of their songs, conveying both desire and anger, heartbreak, and empowerment. They are our reggaetoneras!