During the year and a half I spent in the US, I made a critical mistake in trying to turn a friend on to reggaeton. It wasn’t a planned strategy, we were just drinking and talking smack and I saved some YouTube links on his computer.
My mistake was I gave him the songs I was listening to at the time. A better strategy, obviously, would have been to put some thought into it. To treat his introduction with kid gloves.
So the playlist below includes reggaeton songs to introduce gringos to the genre. I have segregated the lists between boys and girls.
For the gents, I chose the tracks that inspire aggression that I listen to during physical training. So the kind of songs I pump into my ear before putting 350 lbs on my back and dropping into the hole.
For the ladies, I chose the tracks that got heavy play on radio but you would never play among your guy friends AND songs that got heavy play on radio but I have no idea who in hell would like it.
J Alvarez — Junto al Amanacer
Infinitely catchy. Like J Alvarez? See La Pregunta.
Osmani Garcia ft. Pitbull & Sensato — Taxi
This is the pick in heavy rotation right now. 134 million views on YouTube, and it features Pitbull.
Farruko — Hola Beba
The most obnoxious song I’ve ever heard on the radio, but they didn’t stop playing it so somebody must have liked it. Video filmed in Medellin. If you like Farruko see the Hoy Remix featuring Daddy Yankee and J Alvarez. Not as annoying.
Plan B — Si No Le Contesto
Probably the biggest hit from this group whose songs are among the most played year in, year out. If you like their sound but want something more danceable, see Porque Te Demoras or Candy.
DJ Peligro — Candy Perreo
This relatively obscure Peruvian DJ from Lima makes tracks in the style equivalent to early 90s rap from Miami, maybe called Booty Bass. That style is curiously popular in Peru. This song is for those ladies more interested in the sex than the romance (God bless ’em). If you like this, see Perreo Afuegote.
And for the guys looking for high testosterone songs to motivate intense physical training.
Daddy Yankee ft. Lloyd Banks & Young Buck — Rompe Remix
The intro track for rap lovers. Daddy Yankee is the king of reggaeton. See La Fuga or the first track to turn me on to reggaeton, Gasolina.
Don Omar — Anda Sola
Maybe not the lyrics you want but this will get you hyped up for a heavy squat or snatch. Another one I like for training but probably better for getting ready to party is Hasta Abajo.
Wisin y Yandel — Ahora Es
What sucks about this video is it tries to have a plot like Diddy / Biggie videos back in the 90s. But this song on its own is another one for stepping up to the rack/platform.
De La Ghetto, Cosculluela, Nengo Flow — Gangsta Remix
This will appeal to those who haven’t matured past the high-school phase of listening to gangsta rap (me). If you like gangsta rap, you’ll like this.
Calle 13 — Atrevete Te Te
Not for pussies who listen to Coldplay or Green Day.
Calle 13’s Latinoamérica, the 2011 Latin Grammy winner for Song of the Year, features Peruvian criolla icon Susana Baca, Colombian singer Totó la Momposina (see the Colombia Calling Radio show theme song), and Brazilian singer Maria Rita. The video was filmed in Peru.
Do you consider ChocQuibTown reggaeton? I would have included De Donde Vengo Yo is the list. They’re the only group I’ve seen play SXSW that didn’t suck.