Search

Reggaeton


A typical reggaeton dance
Reggaeton is a relatively new genre of dance music that has become popular in Puerto Rico over the last decade. The name is derived from the reggae music of Jamaica which influenced reggaeton's dance beat. Reggaeton was also heavily infuenced by other Puerto Rican music genres and by urban hip-hop music craze in the United States.

The variety of musical influences on the development of reggaeton led one observer (James Farber of the NY Daily News) to call it a "cultural polyglot".

As is the case with hip-hop music in the United States, reggaeton appeals primarily to youths. In Puerto Rico, youths were inspired to create reggaeton, after hearing Panamanian artists performing raps in Spanish styled after Jamaican dance-hall raps, adding native bomba and salsa, rhythms. The result can be heard in this example: Reggaeton Mix 1 by the Florida based band, BariMix.

Reggaeton is closely associated with the "underground" movement of urban youth and is sometimes also referred to in Spanish as "perreo", meaning "doggie"; a term describing a common reggaeton dance move that evokes a sexual position.

The reggaeton genre has also become popular in other Caribbean islands and neighboring nations, including the Dominican Republic, Perú, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Nicaragua. More recently, it has surfaced in the United States, particularly in those urban areas with large concentrations of Puerto Ricans or other Hispanics, such as New York and Miami.


Puerto Rican reggaeton rapper, Tego Calderón
The explosion in reggaeton's popularity in Latino urban centers have prompted some to speculate that the genre will soon eclipse salsa, merengue and other pop music among Puerto Rican and other Hispanic youth. In part, this might be due to lyrics on isues and subjects of interest to those audiences: urban crime, sex and racism; issues which have similarly made hip-hop music so popular.

Currently, the leading exponents of reggaeton include Tego Calderón, Queen Ivy, Don Chezina and Daddy Yankee, but the explosive growth in the genre's popularity promises to bring many new artists to the dance halls and discotheques and thereby, to the forefront of the urban youth culture.