What is Reggaeton?

Reggaeton is a bit of everything. It is the latest musical expression of urban communities of the Americas. Arguably, it is the Latin version of hip-hop. Despite the fact that it is a genre essentially urban mixed with the tropical as festive and danceable. It is the musical result of the cultural interbreeding in Latin America of the late 20th century and early 21st.

The roots:

The vast majority agrees that reggaeton has its origin in Panama in the 1980s. It was considered reggae in Spanish. This is how the world knew The General music in the early 90s. Successes as you look good, move it, move it and your pum pum are considered classics of the General and urban music. Parallel to the Panamanian Spanish reggae, rap in Spanish began to be developed in Puerto Rico with Vico C as the great figure. We must not forget what has been done by Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas in Argentina in the 90s, although a style was more funk.

Other influences behind the final product are the rhythms of the afro Caribbeans as the champeta in Colombia and Jamaican dancehall. The word reggaeton was coined in Puerto Rico in the 1990s when it was established as a genuine sound different to reggae in Spanish.

The Dem Bow:

In the mid-1990s production in Puerto Rico of the blend of rap, funk, reggae, dancehall, among others, was consistent under a base rhythm known as Dem Bow. The term comes from the song Dem Bow of the Jamaican Shabba Ranks and the General made in Spanish as Are Bow. The beats of that topic were the basis of work for producers that emerged in those years. The Dem Bow is basically a rhythm of percussion that is created in an electronic instrument known as box of rhythms or beat box.


In 2000, the reggaeton exploded commercially and came out of hiding. Artists such as Tego Calderón, Daddy Yankee and Don Omar emerged as the leaders of a cultural movement. The production is fragmented into lyricists, singers, MCs (who make rhymes) and producers (who make the beats). Some artists added afro Caribbean percussion, while others such as Calle 13 merged sounds from other latitudes. Duos like Wisin y Yandel added electronic music. Acts as Tito El Bambino and RKM y Ken-Y opted for a pop wave with romantic themes. Women are also present with the Puerto Rican Ivy Queen in the head. Since 2005, the reggaeton coexists with merengue and bachata.


There are two streams in the reggaeton. There is a social and urban narrative that describes the daily life of the neighborhoods. Violence and political denunciation are constant in this type of recordings. The other story is erotic and romantic. For example, narrated loves that are born on the dance floor. It uses a graphic language when he describes the physical approaches of couples. Critics consider that a story is sexist. A song includes rhymes and traditional lyrics.


Reggaeton artists, whether men or women, promote an image of power. With exceptions (Tego Calderón and Calle 13), the majority is declared King, Queen, patron, Prince, etc, of the genus. Names are bilingual or appear on acronyms. Cars, motorcycles, jewelry, dark glasses and a full dance floor are part of the visual content.


The dance of reggaeton is known as “perreo” because the main motion is a mimicry of intercourse in posture of the dog. You don’t have a certain speed and relies on sensuality. It has no steps.

Legendary artists:

  • Daddy Yankee – the man of greatest hits. Consistent in the song and rhymes.
  • Tego Calderón – the most deeply-rooted in the popular neighborhoods. It is the most original of all. It will be forever a member of the underground.
  • Don Omar – the great voice of reggaeton. A consummate producer who is Godfather of emerging artists.
  • Wisin y Yandel – international. They created a sound that exported reggaeton to the rest of the world.
  • Ivy Queen – the Queen of reggaeton. It was the feeling and the female complaint that was missing in the genre.
  • Calle 13 – the intelligent and creative. They are the consciousness of reggaeton. They do not fear the political institutions.
  • Vico C – Rapper. It is the precursor of the scene. He is the father of reggaeton.

Recommended discs:

  • El Abayarde lyrics – Tego Calderón
  • Meet the Orphans – Don Omar (compare prices)
  • Barrio fino – Daddy Yankee
  • Feeling – Ivy Queen
  • Los de atrás vienen Conmigo – Calle 13 (compare prices)


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