I’ve written about Peruvian cumbia and more recently salsa, so it’s only right I write about reggaeton. Reggaeton was the first Latin music I liked, because it’s so similar to rap. I had a common reference point to start from. While many older people don’t like reggaeton, it’s not as unpopular among them as rap is among older gringos.
Here’s are some of my favorites to get you started.
Daddy Yankee – La Fuga
I was first turned on to reggaeton in 2004 by Daddy Yankee’s smash hit Gasolina. He’s by far the most popular reggaeton act and it was difficult to pick just one of his tracks. I passed Rompe, Lo Que Pasó, Ella Me Levanto, and Pose to give you the underrated gem, “La Fuga” (The Escape).
Interestingly, Daddy Yankee endorsed Republican candidate John McCain in the 2008 election.
Don Omar – Anda Sola
Many people felt it unfair that Daddy Yankee was seen as the king of reggaeton. They say Don Omar was the true founder. I have no idea, but this is my favorite track from Don Omar. “Anda Sola” could be translated ‘she rolls solo’.
Don Omar’s most popular hit, which you’re sure to hear in the clubs, is Salió el Sol.
Wisin y Yandel – Sexy Movimiento
Puerto Rican group Wisin y Yandel is probably the next most popular reggaeton act after Daddy Yankee. Unfortunately Wisin Y Yandel videos suck because they incorporate movie-like plots ala Puff Daddy videos from the 90s.
If you like Wisin Y Yandel, listen to Ahora Es or the less popular MySpace.
Nigga – Te Quiero
There’s a lot of romantic reggaeton. Panamanian Nigga, known as ‘Flex’ in the US market, won a Latin Grammy for this track.
Khriz y Angel – Carita de Angel
This is another romantic reggaeton track. This track makes the list because it was a special song for me and Milagros, my last girl in Peru. God I miss her.
If you like romantic reggaeton, check out Sensación del Bloque by De La Ghetto & Randy.
Luny Tunes ft. Wisin Y Yandel y Daddy Yankee – Noche de Entierro Remix
A classic. Know this one.
La Fabri-K – Cual es tu Cau Cau?
This song got heavy airplay in Arequipa because the group is Peruvian. Well, Peruvian-American anyway. La Fabri-K hails from America’s largest Peruvian neighborhood in Paterson, New Jersey. ‘Cau-cau’ is Peruvian slang for ‘problem’ or ‘beef’. What’s your problem?
The DJ Warner style of reggaeton is distinct. I’ve never heard it in Bogota, but they play it non-stop in the reggaeton clubs of downtown Arequipa, Peru. Very heavy, hardcore.
Calle 13 – Atrévete-te-te
Calle 13’s “Atrévete-te-te” has an addictive beat that’ll have you nodding your head the first time you listen despite not knowing what the hell they’re saying. My best translation of “atrévete” would be ‘just do it’.
Control Machete – Si Señor
Mexican group Control Machete has this song featured on the soundtrack of Mexican film Amores Perros, which put Gael Garcia Bernal‘s on the map as an actor. The beat’s so irresistible it was also used in a Levi’s ad aired during the Super Bowl.
This song may be considered Spanish hip hop more than reggaeton, but I can’t tell the difference between the two genres so they’re all going in this post.
Vakero – En El Barrio Ya No Hay Gente
I found this song by Dominican rapper Vakero from the movie Sin Nombre – a must-see about a couple fleeing a Mexican gang. Hence the images of Mexican gangsters in the embedded video.
Chocquibtown – De Donde Vengo Yo
Colombian group ChocQuibTown is gaining popularity in the reggaeton / Spanish hip-hop scene. They hail from Chocó, the heart of the Afro-Colombian community. This track won a Latin Grammy. Lots of Colombian costeño Spanish in their music.
If you liked that song, check out Somos Pacifico, which you’ll surely hear in Colombian dance clubs.
Cypress Hill – Latin Lingo
This song isn’t reggaeton at all. But since I’m getting more and more into Spanish rap, I thought it only right to include Los Angeles’ own pioneers in Latino rap with the aptly named, Latin Lingo from 1991.
Pretty good summary, Colin.
IMO, Reggaeton is much more melodic than rap. Most popular rap relies on cramming as many words into a section of time as is possible, usually at the expense of every other element of the “song.” There are exceptions, of course, but few and far between.
The overall musicality and musicianship of most of the popular Reggaeton artists here is far and away superior to any rap artist to any rap “artist” I have every heard.
FWIW, the word “Atrévete” in this instance, translates to “come out of the closet.”
i like regueton lot more than rap. lot less smoking weed killing fucking hoes etc. like in previous post about regueton there is more sense of love and stuff like that in the songs. there are similarities and differences. whats wierd is all i listen to is regueton. i love it. nigga is good for americans you will find him as DJ flex or flex. for obvious reasons.
I really like don omar esp Sexy Robotica, Chica Virtual, Danza Kuduro, I can listen almost anything WY.
here are some songs im really stuck on now:
Mega Sexxx ¨solo tu y yo¨
Tony Dize ¨Maniatica¨
Gocho ¨dandole remix¨
Guelo Star ¨a repartirse¨ ft Jayko
I really like Jayko he´s got an album coming out sometime soon I think. he´s been on many WY tracks and others Franco el Gorila etc.
While on the topic of regueton i believe Pitbull is horrible. He has only one CD all spanish and either way he is horrible to me he is like the ja rule – dmx of regueton and the songs he´s on in english are more annoying. He like jarule and dmx need to crawl away and hide in a cave.
reading over this post again i see that i repeated info about flex. my bad. Another panamanian and romantic regueton would be Makano. I like him too.
Colin, I’m on old school rocker, but I like some reggaeton including Daddy Yankee. It’s a lot more musical than a lot of American rap/hip hop. You say Daddy Yankee is “by far the most popular reggaeton act”. I disagree with the “by far” part. 5 years ago that may have been true. Today and for the last few years Bad Bunny is dominating the genre. I actually like a lot of his work, too, though I haven’t bought any. I have bought one Daddy Yankee song, “Impacto”, that he sang with Fergie. Daddy Yankee says he is retiring at only 46. I think he’s just taking a long vacation. It’s too much money and music is too much fun to retire for ever. I retired because my albums never sold. I’d love to make more if people were paying me money, but it’s too much work to do it for free.
Daddy Yankee (retired last year) was by far most popular at the time of publish (2010). I would agree Bad Bunny sits atop the genre today, undisputed, and is the most dominant artist since DY. I don’t know if any other artist is in the same league. Nicky Jam, J Balvin, Ozuna? Nope. More thoughts on Bad Bunny here.
Colin, I didn’t check the date. It hit my inbox this week so I thought it was new. Bad Bunny was probably still in school in 2010.
I appreciate the nudge. I updated the broken links, and shook my head at how dated these songs are. Goes to show how far reggaeton has come!