Latin Grammys 2018: The reggaeton empire of J Balvin, great favorite in the Latin Grammys | Culture

There are few things that I have done J Balvin This year they are not among the most seen, shared, reproduced and recognized in the music industry. The songs of José Álvaro Osorio Balvin (Medellín, 1985), his real name, accumulate more than 10,000 million visits on YouTube, have remained for weeks at number one of the charts of the world, his subject My people has dethroned even to the unbeatable Slowly, by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. And he has become the current king of the genre. He, who is not from Puerto Rico-reggaeton-nor have he had to sing in English for a former US president to include him among his favorite artists: "Who does not love J Balvin?" Barack Obama asked during an act campaign of the last legislative elections of the United States in October.

Balvin arrives at this edition of the Latin Grammys - which are celebrated this Thursday at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas- with the highest number of nominations: eight. It is also the only one that has placed so many subjects among the main categories. Nicknamed as the Latin Drake for being one of those responsible for the transformation of the genre in the world being Colombian, his songs My people, X (along with Nicky Jam), Downtown (with Anitta) and Sensuality (with the Puerto Rican ragpicker Bad Bunny), they choose the best recording of the year and they reign among the urban categories. Your disk, You vibrate, in which he collaborates with different artists and included Rosalia for the first time, (in Brillo), has everything to become -with or without a prize- in the Latin album of the year, according to critics, who has also described him as the most "ambitious" singer.

Proud and calm, Balvin goes to an uninhabited room in an exclusive hotel in Las Vegas. He has dyed his hair green and is dressed in a colorful camouflage suit. From the chest hangs a huge silver chain with the figure of a sinister cat. He speaks with his hands in his pockets and slowly explains where his success comes from: "What we have given is always good vibrates to reinvent the industry and do something that refreshes. We have worked so hard that, why not be the most nominated? "He adds:" The diversity of artists on the album is what I think has allowed the album to be so successful musically. "Among the collaborations of You vibrate, besides the Spanish Rosalía, is Carla Morrison, Anitta, Zion and Lenox, Wisin and Yandel and the French Dj Willy William.

One of its great merits has been to place the genre on top of radio stations around the world. He has reformulated the rules of an industry saturated by pop and has attracted to it its center of gravity. Balvin has become a global star, something that did not achieve, at least with these figures of diffusion, his reguetoneros predecessors, as Daddy Yankee (considered the father of this music) or Don Omar. With one of his first successes, Ginza (from 2015), which accumulates almost 800 million views on YouTube, managed to capture the attention of new audiences in Greece, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. "For music in Spanish, it's not normal to get to those places," he said surprised in an interview The New York Times. And the whole balloon then danced with: "If you need reguetón, dale".

J Balvin with Rosalía in a photo that the singer has posted on his Instagram account.
J Balvin with Rosalía in a photo that the singer has posted on his Instagram account.

But Balvin is not alone at the top. Reggaeton lives its best moment in the history of music. Since in 2005, the album Fine neighborhood, from Daddy Yankee, gave the starting signal to this street style, danced, outside of Latin America (the album became the best selling of the decade), the genre has received all kinds of hits, has been considered an easy style, simple, too vulgar. Now, one of the spokespersons of the world's leading video platform, Youtube, Jesus Garcia, proudly recognizes that those who are among the most viewed artists in the world "are no longer Beyoncé or Lady Gaga." For the first time, the first three places they are occupied by interpreters like Ozuna [ de Puerto Rico], J Balvin and Bad Bunny [también puertorriqueño]"And, behind them, there are many others who come stomping: Anitta (from Brazil), Manuel Turizo and Sebastián Yatra (from Colombia) and Rosalía (from Spain)." We are living the beginning of Spanish in music as something mainstream"warns Balvin.

On the stage mounted by J Balvin for each performance there are usually no women, but men who dance break dance. The reggaeton of miniskirts, necklines and high-end cars are out of the picture. The transformation of the genre and its extension to the rest of the world also includes the modification of these letters that are born from the street, from the neighborhood, but that pretend to shake off the macho content. There are even times that he explicitly states his intentions: "Pa qué highlighter [un tipo de maquillaje], if you shine alone, "or" I ask God to take care of you, but you take care of yourself, "he says. the letter of Brightness with Rosalia.

The Spanish interpreter and the Colombian reggaeton are this year the most coveted artists of the awards. She, as a phenomenon still somewhat unknown on this side of the Atlantic, strange, that hardly gives interviews and surrounds it the halo of mystery more typical of a pop diva. And he, as the consolidated head of urban music, who is proud of having discovered Rosalia before it became the hurricane that is being these days, as well as did with the ragpicker Bad Bunny, moves through the events prior to the gala as the true boss of the genre. Although nuances that he feels "very small", only "0.0001%" of what he wants to become.


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