The Spanish Language Blog


Reggaeton (sometimes written as reguetón) is a musical style from Latin America that originated from different musical styles and different countries. However, the origins of reggaeton are most commonly associated with Puerto Rico, where the music became popular and was also incorporated into commerce.  Reggaeton quickly spread through Latin America and has since achieved worldwide popularity.

Reggaeton music descends from "raggamuffin" or "raga" music, a subgenre of club music that in turn descends from reggae and hip hop. Reggaeton can be distinguished by its controversial Spanish lyrics, rapped and sung, provocative style and influences from various Latin American music styles such as bomba and salsa. In addition, reggaeton is recognizable by the "Dem Bow" beat, first popularized by Shabba Ranks in 1991.

Reggaeton developed as an urban movement aimed at youth, much like hip hop in the United States. Reggaeton is very much related to a style of music known as Perreo, derived from the Spanish word perro (dog), which refers to the obscene and sexually explicit dance moves.

The history and origin of reggaeton is somewhat controversial, as it mixes different musical genres and influences. Reggaeton once began with Panama's Spanish reggae style, an adaptation on Jamaican reggae. Nevertheless, according to general consensus, reggaeton originated in Puerto Rico, where it evaluated into the reggaeton we know today and is known and popular worldwide. Moreover, the most famous reggaeton artists are Puerto Rican. The development of reggaeton has been influenced by American hip hop, Puerto Rican rhythms and other influences of Latin American music.

Reggae Music

Reggae music originated in Jamaica and developed as more and more new sounds and rhythms were added. In 1985, Chico Man performed in Panama with a Spanish Reggae act. At the same time, Spanish rap emerged in Puerto Rico and Vico C. performed with it. A new, Latin American, musical movement developed throughout North and South America.

In the 1990s, Spanish and Jamaican reggae, as well as Spanish rap, were very popular. This trend laid the foundation for what eventually became today's reggaeton. The first popular reggae songs were: Demwbow, by Nacho Boom; Pantalón caliente, by Poncho Pan; Dulce, by La Atrevida; Muévelo y Son Bow, by el Gran General and many successes by Gringo Man.

Between 1993 and 1994, a new movement began in Puerto Rico. The first reggaeton sounds, called "under," were distributed through secret networks of young people. The movement became known for its controversial music and one of the main producers at the time was DJ Playero. The new genre developed and with time the names of the music changed: Melaza, then música underground, followed by Dem Bow, to finally become Reggaeton.

Reggaeton spread and rose to a nice popularity with the help of DJ Playero, DJ Nelson and DJ Eric. Reggaeton was no longer an underground music style, but had exploded to the top of mainstream Latin music. Some famous Reggaeton artists include Don Chenzina, Tempo, Master Joe & OG Black, Baby Rasta & Gringo and Lito & Polaco.

DJ Blass and artists Plan B and Speedy helped expand the movement to the United States. By 2004, reggaeton music had already achieved popularity in the U.S. and Europe, thanks to Reggaeton groups such as Tego Calderón, Daddy Yankee, Hector y Tito, Luny Tunes and Noriega, Yaga y Mackie and many others. Other important Reggaeton musicians are: Alexis & Fido, Angel & Khriz, Nina Sky, Nicky jam, Zion, RKM & Ken-y, Voltio, Calle 13, Hector "El Father", Ivy Queen, Wisin & Yandel, Tito "El Bambino" and Don Obar.

The most famous international Reggaeton songs are Daddy Yankee's hit single "Gasolina" and Shakira's "La Tortura. Both songs came out around 2005 and were worldwide hits that took reggaeton music to new heights.

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