They do not have a rival band. For now. They are mostly from the Caribbean, but their reach is worldwide and without using English. The latin gang, a term coined by reggaeton Bad Bunny to define a new generation of Spanish-speaking artists of urban music, strengthened its dominance in 2017 when the song Slowly (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee) rang even in Greenland. The apostles of these rhythms stuck to the streets of Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the United States and also Spain sent a clear message less than a month ago in Miami - the Latin heart of the United States - in the Super Bowl part-time performance: the revolution continues. And it will be in Spanish or it won't be. Trump through.
The latin gang sings reggaeton, trap (a darker and raw rap current) and pop mixed with electronic rhythms and Caribbean folklore. It does not have a clear leader. If the number of views on various digital platforms is measured, Bad Bunny is the band boss. The 25-year-old Puerto Rican artist has spent less than five years packing the purchase in a supermarket in his home in the town of Vega Baja to be the fifth most listened artist in the world on Spotify in 2019. He is also the one who has created a symbology to identify this gang: place the two pinkies at eye level. "It's a badge of the new religion, for the people who support me, who believes in the progress and future of music and all Latinos are working for it," said Benito Antonio Martínez, real name of the Bad Rabbit, in American television
This gesture, usual among many of these artists, is complemented by another one devised by the second in command, Colombian reggaeton J Balvin (to his credit has the merit of to have dethroned Slowly with your subject My people): is to do with the hands the L and G.
The new musical religion copies the codes invented in the 1990s by American rappers. They identify with gestures; they wear extravagant clothes and always of European brands; They show off ostentatious jewels and are accompanied in their video clips of women with few clothes that meet a body pattern of voluminous curves. But they differ from their northern neighbors in that the battle that is still being fought between the east and west coasts of the United States (The one that Tupac Shakur and Notorius B.I.G.-ended with the murder of both-), has no correlation among Latinos.
Success, for now, has brought all of them together. Donald Trump has served as glue. His hate speech against Latin migration has not prevented the music of these artists from crossing borders and walls under construction. This group of artists not only shares their frontal opposition to the immigration policy of the US Administration. His albums are sets (Oasisby Bad Bunny and J Balvin, is, perhaps, the most paradigmatic collaboration within the genre of recent years). The singles of this latin music are full of featurings. They are supportive even when it's time to share downloads. The last example is China, a theme with over a billion views on YouTube, published on the Anuel AA channel, one of the last Puerto Ricans to join the Latino gang, in which J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna and Karol G. participate.
Anuel AA -the most listened to Latin artist on Spotify Spain- Receive in this video clip the blessing of Daddy Yankee, honorary member of this group. After 40, the reggaeton (also from Puerto Rico) is something like the mentor of this generation that leads the top 10 of the listeners in Spain through the platform, according to 2019 data. The names of this list are: Anuel AA, Ozuna, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Farruko, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Sebastian Yatra, Karol G.
A cast of fame and reproductions to which Rosalia was not invited despite her global success and, specifically, the subject With height (in collaboration with J Balvin and its producer El Guincho), chosen by the magazine Time as one of the best of last year, in addition to being one of the favorite songs of Barack Obama, according to the lists of the best of the year published by the former US president in their networks.
Since 2014, the reproductions of songs included in the reggaeton label (the tailor's drawer in which a large part of Latin urban music is now registered) have grown 119% in Spotify. In 2017 -year of the success of Slowly- The genre registered more listeners than at any other time that the company has records. In its last report last year, the platform measured that since 2017 urban music had grown by 44% in reproductions. While using Spanish as the vehicle language of the genre. An example is worth to contextualize the phenomenon: hip hop He did not duplicate his reproductions in the same period of time.
Before fame was measured by clicksCelia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe, Joe Arroyo, Rubén Blades, Willie Colón and other artists of the La Fania label had already made their way, from fidelity to styles such as salsa, but without ignoring the fusion. His legacy was limited to the sale of records and his ability to leave the Caribbean for Spanish music to play on stages in different countries of the world. Now, reggaeton singers are able to paralyze Latin Grammy. In its last edition, in November, the movement “Without reggaeton there is no Latin Grammys” caused as much noise as the awards ceremony itself.
Political commitment and feminism
Anuel AA is a couple of Karol G., Colombian singer who with Becky G. are the female representation of the genre. They pick up the legacy of Shakira and J What they had been sowing for decades - although with a clearer commitment to EDM (electronic dance music) - before they appeared in the Super Bowl. Or Ivy Queen, one of the most feminist reggaeton pioneers. The Puerto Rican artist has always opted for letters that, far from reifying women, defend that they should appropriate their body and do whatever they want with it. I want to dance / you want to sweat / And hit my body rubbing / And I say yes / you can provoke me / That does not mean that I go to bed, sing in I want to dance, a 2003 song, just a year before Daddy Yankee (another veteran of the genre, already retired) released the album Fine neighborhood with mega success The gas.
The work of these two women tries to circumvent the category of quota or positive discrimination to occupy the same space as their partners. Karol G. advances in its purpose adding more than 500 million reproductions with The tusa, a collaboration with American rapper Nicky Minaj, and bilingual. Becky G. a little earlier, in 2018, claimed her place with Greater.
Feminism is not the only social issue that begins to soak the gender. The political reggaeton of Calle 13 has revived in a timely manner with citizen protests that culminated in the resignation of the governor of Puerto Rico last July. At the head of the marches were Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny and Resident (one of the members of Calle 13) and in the main radios of the world rang Sharpening knives, the song against the president of the island. “I am apolitical,” J Balvin repeats until satiety that after weeks of strikes and mobilizations in his country Colombia, he succumbed to the social pressure that demanded a response similar to that of his colleagues in Puerto Rico and Chile and ended up asking Iván Duque , Colombian president, to hear the cry of those who demanded that the peace process signed with the FARC in 2016 be respected.
How far will the reggaeton revolution go?