It’s Monday morning, you’re on the way to work, and that beat is stuck in your damn head. You know the one. It’s the one you were getting down to at the club two nights ago. You turn on the radio to get rid of it, but regardless of which station you turn to, you hear it over and over again. But you like it. Oh, you know you love that beat. Hell you started loving that beat two years ago the second you heard Justin Bieber and Luis Fonsi in that sultry voice, “Des-pa-cito.”
Now, regardless of where you turn, it seems that beat somehow makes its way back into your life in a new song. So what is it about that infectious latino beat that keeps us moving? It goes back to the 90s in the streets of Puerto Rico with the culmination and rise of reggaeton, a mixture of hip hop, Latin American, and Caribbean influences. By 2004, the underground sound gained notoriety, and the new sub-genre started hitting the mainstream latin market with Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina.” From there, new artists started slowly emerging and evolving the latin music scene at the time; artists like Tego Calderón, Ivy Queen, Don Omar, Luny Tunes, Tito El Bambino, the list goes on and on.
They each found success within the industry, and the collaborations with major pop artists started happening. Jennifer Lopez and Wisin Y Yandel released their single “Follow the Leader” in 2012, and that gained some traction with over 500 million views on YouTube. Artists began mixing EDM with reggaeton, and they created a new version of latin pop with that same hip hop influenced beat. Pitbull went from Mr. 305 to Mr. Worldwide with the success of “Tonight ft. Neyo and Afrojack)”, and Wisin y Yandel once again produced another collaboration, this time with Chris Brown and T-Pain for “Algo Me Gusta de Ti”.
Then in 2017, it all changed. Luis Fonsi decides to remix his already well known fusion with Daddy Yankee, “Despacito,” and adds no other than heart throb Justin Bieber to the mix. The world goes ballistic with the track breaking records, including one for longest running number 1 on the Hot 100, a record that was only recently broken by Lil Nas X with “Old Town Road.”
At that point the rest of the world decided to capitalize on the success. J Balvin released a remix version of “Mi Gente” with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Drake collaborated with Bad Bunny for “Mía,” and “Taki Taki” became a bop with Dj Snake, Ozuna, Selena Gomez, and Cardi B taking over. From there, the latin influence crossed boundaries across the world with the sound becoming notorious amongst different communities and cultures. Shakira partnered with French rapper Black M for their song “Comme Moi,” and Kylie Minogue with Gente de Zona for “Stop Me from Falling.”
Recently, even the queen of pop, Madonna, reached out to Maluma to co-write two tracks on her latest album, Madame X. So what does this mean for the future of music?
Currently, the top song in Italy, “Una volta ancora” by Fred De Palma (ft. Ana Mena), is rooted in a latin beat, and no lie, it’s still feels fresh af. Rosalía, a Spanish singer, took the traditional style of flamenco, and fused it with latin hip hop to originate her sound. It’s clear that the latino influence in pop music is here to stay. It is incredible the impact that latin music has had across the globe. And let’s be honest, we know this weekend, when you’re out again, the second “I Like It” or “Dura” comes on, you will be all over that beat until the break of dawn. Until then, here’s a little playlist with tracks from all over the world to get you through the week.