Entertainment

The Evolution Of Reggaeton In The 2010s: From ‘Despacito’ To ‘Te Bote’, This Is How Latinx Music Turned Into A Global Phenomenon

Reggaeton has infected the whole world with dembow, signaling a whole era of Latinx representation in mainstream culture. The infectious Latin Caribbean’s particular take on dancehall reggae has become a global movement that artists from all over the world want a part in. During this decade reggaeton has galloped into the Anglo-world, its flow has been Americanized, Europeanized, watered-down, dressed-up and recomposed to fit a thousand new contexts. So let’s look back on the last ten years to see how the genre has changed and what has become of the rhythm we all love. 

The decade started with a heavy EDM influence, case in point, Juan Magan’s 2011 album ‘Bailando Por Ahi’ or Don Omar’s hit, ‘Hasta que salga el Sol’.

The rhythm made inroads into the more frequently foursquare sound of EDM. The early 2010s were an EDM boom, a movement that established pulsating, treble-soaked electronic dance as not only the dominant form of crowd-pleasing live music, but the contemporary lingua franca for all of pop, and the default mode of the Top 40 back in the day. So it’s no surprise that reggaeton took in some of that influence to produce ‘Electrolatino’, music. The vivacious melodic reggaeton mixed with hard-hitting electronic beats saw its highest moment in 2015 with Bomba Estereo’s ‘Fiesta’ —the song even brought Will Smith out of a decade-long music hiatus when he reached out to the band to lend his voice for a remix.

Fast forward to 2017 and Daddy Yankee is featured on Luis Fonsi’s chart-busting hit, Despacito, making way for another reggaeton revolution.

By2018, the song’s unprecedented commercial success had even garnered Fonsi Guinness World Records recognition: it spent 16 weeks at No. 1 in the Billboard charts (a feat only topped by Old Town Road). It became the most-streamed song worldwide and was the first YouTube video to hit five billion views. And that was only the beginning.

Reggaeton’s latest commercial iterations rely heavily on trap and pop, harnessed by chart-topping artists like J Balvin, Ozuna and Arcangel.

 It’s upped the dancehall quotient at times, and dialled it down, incorporated more or less of its fundamental rhythm, dembow, and even spawned surprise mutations, like when Bad Bunny’s Tenemos Que Hablar folded in touches of pop-punk.

Halfway through the 2010s, Latin Trap, began to gain notoriety. 

instagram @badbunnypr

The less dominant wing of Spanish-language hip hip began to surge as a response to developments in American rap, it embraced the slow-rolling rhythms and gooey vocal delivery of Southern hip-hop. 

Now a variety of artists associated with the movement are riding high.

instagram @chrisjeday

Five of the Top 30 music videos on YouTube’s chart of 2017 involved artists associated with Latin trap – Bad Bunny, Chris Jeday, Karol G. Bad Bunny, the sound’s best-known proponent, also appeared three times in the Top 25 of Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart on the same year. “It goes beyond trap: the music we call ‘Latin urban’ is now diversifying into many different forms,” Horacio Rodriguez, VP of Marketing for Universal Music Latino, said to Rolling Stone magazine. “It’s popping in the streets right now with zero radio airplay. It’s a counter-culture of young kids listening to this music.”

Older stars stampeded to endorse the latest style, boosting its mainstream exposure. 

instagram @jbalvin

The Colombian superstar J Balvin’s Energia album contained songs like “35 Pa Las 12,” a booming, American-rap-radio-ready collaboration with the Dominican singer/rapper Fuego. Farruko’s record dropped around the same time was titled TrapXFicante. Maluma, a supple pop-reggaeton heartthrob, anchored the hook of the Trap Capos single “Cuatro Babys,” which skyrocketed him to fame. 

Bad Bunny, the undisputed champion of Latin trap, sings and raps with an unhurried, conversational tone.

The video to San Benito’s hit “Soy Peor” now has 703 million views. He can do a song with Drake, he can do a song with Travis scott, he’s the guy who’s taken ‘Latin Trap’ mainstream. His music is a rich tapestry of trap, reggaeton and bachata. He can feature Ricky Martin on a self-love anthem, and with Solo de Mi, Bad Bunny fortified the song’s affecting lyrics with a message of solidarity with domestic abuse survivors in its music video. Most notably, though, his work is praised for its unabashed emotional vulnerability and, paired with Bad Bunny’s meticulous manicures and eccentric, neon-hued fashion sense, he’s presented male reggaetoneros in a different light altogether. 

Reggaeton and Urbano are, in some corners, also running parallel to the #MeToo movement.

Artists like Natti Natasha, Karol G and Becky G are flipping the genre’s overt male-narrated sexuality to the female POV, reclaiming agency with each beat.

The various styles that encompass música urbana —hip-hop, reggaetón, dembow, and champeta, to name a few— have reached a critical mass in the Americas.

Música urbana is American music. The loosely defined term encapsulates Spanish-language “urban” music with roots in the culture of descendants of enslaved peoples across North, South, and Central America. Toward the end of the decade, the genre became a worldwide sound, an art recognized by some of pop’s biggest stars. From Drake, to Beyonce and Cardi B, all have acknowledged the power and the audience of ‘urbano’. 

Language is no longer a barrier for its mainstream consumption. 

Any discussion of música urbana in 2019 inevitably begins with it’s biggest stars, the holy trinity atop the YouTube charts: J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna. They were the three most-streamed artists in the world on YouTube in 2018. Which goes to show that the myth that Spanish language as a barrier to mainstream consumption has also been obliterated —according to a report from the music consumption company BuzzAngle, last year “Latin” music (measured by physical and digital sales as well as on-demand streams) represented 9.4 percent of listening in the U.S., overtaking country music (8.7 percent). 

Reggaeton is a fountain of joy for many, it offers close dancing and unrepentant sexuality as a form of catharsis. And as its prominence rose, spreading to other Latin American countries, the US, and ultimately the whole world, the genre became an unmatchable source of pride for Latinxs. This was the decade Latinxs demanded space and reggaeton became truly visible –and we invited the world the ride, one perreo intenso at a time. 

Bad Bunny Released A New Song In Honor Of Kobe Bryant And Fans Are Crying

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Released A New Song In Honor Of Kobe Bryant And Fans Are Crying

kobebryant / badbunnypr / Instagram

Kobe Bryant’s death on Jan. 26 shocked the sporting world millions of fans around the world. News that his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant was also on the helicopter when it crashed furthered the heartbreak. Tributes and love have been pouring in for Kobe and his daughter and now Bad Bunny released a song dedicated tot he basketball legend.

Bad Bunny’s song “6 Rings” in honor of Kobe Bryant is a heartfelt note to an incredible father and athlete.

Credit: @DahliaPerezz / Twitter

Bad Bunny really went for it with his song honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Kobe was an inspiration for millions of people and his death was a shock that is still being felt. Bad Bunny’s song has brought those emotions back to the surface.

The lyrics are bringing fans of the basketball player to tears.

Kobe fans are grieving the sudden loss of the sports star. The lyrics of Bad Bunny’s song are both helping fans grieve and celebrate Kobe and his incredible career.

Even Soundcloud chimed in to honor Kobe via Bad Bunny’s tweet about the song.

Credit: @SoundCloud / Twitter

The last 24 seconds of the song are audio of Kobe Bryant speaking to fans. It ends with the basketball player saying, “Mamba out” followed by cheers from fans. The touching addition of Kobe’s voice makes the song more powerful and emotionally charged.

The sound of Kobe’s voice in the song is just too much for some of the people listening to the song.

Hearing his voice is just too real for some people still grieving. The end of Kobe’s speech with his phrase “Mamba out” is the perfect way to end the song.

The loss of Kobe is still something people are grappling with.

Credit: @Enmanuel_Cuello / Twitter

Sudden deaths are often very difficult to overcome, especially when the people we lose are young. Kobe was 41 and Gianna was 16 when they died in the helicopter crash. Our thoughts are with their family and friends as they try to navigate this confusing and painful time.

You can hear the full song below.

Rest in peace, Kobe and Gianna.

READ: Kobe Bryant’s Death Has Fans Mourning A Huge Loss: From Bad Bunny To Ricky Martin, Here’s How Latinos Are Reacting

J Balvin Dropped A Podcast All About His Mental Health Struggles, His Career, Relationships, And Family

Entertainment

J Balvin Dropped A Podcast All About His Mental Health Struggles, His Career, Relationships, And Family

jbalvin / Instagram

In the past J Balvin has been open about dealing with depression and anxiety.  He’s published many Instagram posts and stories about it, and he’s even written letters to his fans about it. Now, el chico de Medellin, is opening up even further. J Balvin released an 8-episode podcast all about his life, his career, his relationships and all the obstacles he’s faced, including his mental health.

The singer just released a new podcast series called “Made in Medellin” on Spotify.

In “Made in Medellin,” Balvin shares intimate details about his life, career, relationships and all the obstacles he faced while reaching for his dreams of becoming a global artist. “I know a lot about J Balvin and little about José,” he says at the start of the podcast, hinting that he’s going to take listeners on a journey to get to know the real him.

The eight-episode podcast will take fans into his personal struggle with mental health.

View this post on Instagram

Mami aquí llego tu vaquero 🤠

A post shared by J Balvin (@jbalvin) on

Each episode focuses on a different topic and time in his life. “I dedicated myself a lot to the character,” he continues in his opening lines. “But without José, there is no J Balvin. In the end, that character is me, I can’t separate from him.” 

Fans will also get to delve deeper into the top Reggaeton artist’s personal life.

We will be let listeners in on details about his life and career through conversations with the people closest to him. His parents Alba Balvin and Álvaro Osorio are included in episodes as well as his past girlfriend of 10 years.

The Colombian singer himself narrates the never-before-told stories.

From dreaming big in Medellin, to his struggles with anxiety and depression while on tour, to the time he actually proposed marriage. Balvin is also accompanied by some of his closest friends; Andrés López “Papa” and Carlos Torres, as well as “La Mona” Osorio, who was his girlfriend for 10 years.

The podcast isn’t only about Balvin’s life and work.

Aptly titled “Made in Medellin,” the podcast is built upon the backdrop of the Colombian city of Medellín itself, with its vibrant adoption of reggaeton as the basis for his own rise to success in the first place. Balvin pays homage to some of the genre’s legends, including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin and Yandel. Otherwise, the episodes’ theatrics are sparse, yet thoughtfully produced — you’ll often hear a signature dembow beat thumping through, or the gentle hum of city chatter making its way to the surface.

With global hits such as “Mi Gente,” “Ay Vamos,” and “Ginza,” Balvin has taken the reggaeton movement to some of the biggest stages.

Balvin has taken his Latin flow to the biggest spheres of music, including the Tomorrowland electronic music festival in Belgium and as a headlining act at Coachella in California.

José Álvaro Osorio Balvín is a crossover king who understands the power of innovation and partnership. 

With musical roots steeped in rap, R&B, bachata, reggae, and champeta, the Colombian-born has crossed over into the world with his Latin sound and charmed listeners from every nation. How? Collaborating, innovating and creating something fresh. Do you want proof? Here it is: his growing list of chart-topping collabs with today’s hottest pop and hip-hop artists include Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Pharrell Williams (he has also toured with Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull).

In 2018, Balvin snagged Spotify’s top spot with the Most Monthly Listeners Globally.

Balvin surpassed Drake’s long-held record, with over 48.1 million monthly listeners. He officially became the most popular artist on the platform that year.

“Dreams are the reason for everything I do. The reason why I get up. And the beauty of dreams is that they are infinite,” he says in the recording.

J Balvin, one of the top recording artists in the world, is readying his new album to be released in the Spring. He is also the first reggaeton artist to perform on the main stage at Coachella, leading EDM festival Tomorrowland, and the first-ever Latin artist to headline at Lollapalooza.

Fans can listen to all episodes of the “Made in Medellin” podcast here.

READ: Maluma Spills The Tea On His Relationship With J Balvin, Starring In A Movie With J Lo And What His Future Holds