Puerto Ricans are a people of pride. Whether it’s our bandera – hanging from our car mirror, tattooed on our arm or plastered on any piece of clothing – or a typical “Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas” chant, those are indications you’ve spotted a Puerto Rican. After hundreds of years of colonialism under Spain and then the U.S., our pride is what has kept our culture alive. It’s an act of resistance passed down through each generation, and there’s probably no better way to witness it than through our música.
Whether boleros that transport abuela and abuelo back to la isla, salsa hits played at every family house party or hip-hop tracks that have even non-Puerto Ricans chantin’ “Boricua, morena,” these songs capture the beautiful pride and self-love of the people of “La Isla del Encanto.”
1. When you want to remind people of all the magic that has come out of our tiny isla, you play Charlie Cruz’s “Grita Conmigo.”
From barrier-breakers like Roberto Clemente and Rita Moreno to our vast championships in boxing, baseball and beauty pageants to creating one of the greatest Latino music genres of all time – salsa – Puerto Ricans are bad af, and Cruz will tell you all about la “isla tan pequeñita y con tanta historia” in this song.
2. If Frankie Ruiz’s “Puerto Rico” isn’t bumping from the speakers at least once, you’re not really at a Boricua house party.
Frankie Ruiz is the king of salsa romántica, and his greatest love song might have just been this endearing canción for his tierra.
3. Want to watch someone sing their heart and soul at the top of their lungs? Find a Puerto Rican and play “Preciosa.”
Written by Rafael Hernández Marín but popularly sung by Marc Anthony, “Preciosa” epitomizes the love, nostalgia and longing for freedom Puerto Ricans have for their island.
4. We have to let everyone we meet know that we’re Puerto Rican, and Taino’s “Yo Soy Boricua Pa’ Que Tu Lo Sepas” makes this very clear.
This ’90s hit breaks down just how real the orgullo is.
5. We LOVE our flag, so much so that we make songs about it. One of our favorites: “Que Bonita Bandera” by Florencio Morales Ramos.
Catch Boricuas singing the song’s chorus at a Puerto Rican parade near you.
6. For people feeling nostalgic about their time living or vacationing on the island in their youth, Aventura’s “Mi Puerto Rico” will resonate.
Little-known fact: Aventura’s lead singer, megastar Romeo Santos, is half-Dominican and half-Puerto Rican, and he got the whole band to write a song about Puerto Rico. In it, the bachatero sings about his childhood memories on the island, from waking up to the sound of roosters crowing and partying with family.
7. Puerto Ricans may be prideful, but we’re not self-centered. Like Hector Lavoe demonstrates in “Mi Gente,” we’re all about the people.
Lavoe invites puertorriqueños, Latinos and everyone of the African diaspora to sing in unity in this Bori party fave.
8. But we’re still mad proud, especially those of us who don’t live on the island. Evidence: “100 percent” by the Bronx’s own Big Pun.
There’s probably no song that can get a Puerto Rican, particularly a Nuyorican, more hype than this hip-hop classic. It’s straight-up diaspora magic.
9. Want to know “how we do it down in Puerto Rico?” Watch Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” music video.
Sure, we’re ALL tired of the song, but Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee gave us the latest Boricua hit and we’ll be dancing to it till we’re grey-haired and wrinkled.