Reggaeton – Today and Tomorrow

September Playlist Highlights

Song (YouTube)




Dile Dile - The Gold Series: The Last Don Don Omar Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Dutty Love Dutty Love (feat. Natti Natasha) - Don Omar Presents MTO2 - New Generation Don Omar ft Natti Natasha Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Danza Kuduro Danza Kuduro - Meet the Orphans Don Omar Kuduro Puerto Rico
Gasolina Gasolina (En Directo) - Barrio Fino (En Directo) [Bonus Track Version] Daddy Yankee Reggeaton Puerto Rico
Ven Conmigo Ven Conmigo (feat. Prince Royce) - Ven Conmigo (feat. Prince Royce) - Single Daddy Yankee Dance Puerto Rico
Sexy Moviminto Sexy Movimiento - Los Extraterrestres Wisin y Yandel Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Follow the Leader Follow the Leader (feat. Jennifer Lopez) - Líderes Wisin y Yandel Dance Puerto Rico
Pa Que Se Lo Gozen Tego Calderón Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Pegaito a la Pared PEGAITO a la PARED - Pegaito a la Pared - Single (Digital Only) Tego Calderón Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Papi Te Quiero Papi Te Quiero - DIVA- Platinum Edition Ivy queen Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Dime Dime - Most Wanted Ivy queen Bachata Puerto Rico
Peligro De Extinción Peligro de Extinción - Musa Ivy queen Latin Fusion Puerto Rico


Part II

In part one of this two part series we delved into the origins of reggaeton music.  In part two we will look at some of the top reggaeton artists of today and what YouTube can tell us about how reggaeton is evolving.

Don Omar

Possibly the most successful reggaeton artist ever, Don Omar (aka William Omar Landrón Rivera) has been making reggaeton music since the early 2000’s.  His first studio album, “The Last Don”, was released in 2003 and is 100% reggaeton.  Some of the more popular tracks from the album are “Dile”, “Dale Don Dale” and “Pobre Diabla” with “Dile” having the most YouTube views at 35 million*.  Fast forward to 2010 and the release of his album “Meet the Orphans”.  On this album and it’s follow up, “MTO II” Omar moves away from pure reggaeton to include a number of other musical styles.  Like “The Last Don”, these new albums contain several hit songs.  However, according to the view counts in YouTube it’s the non-reggaeton songs that are the most popular.  Granted “Dutty Love” and “Hasta Abajo” have over 49 and 30 million views respectively.  However,  the smash hits “Danza Kuduro” and “Taboo” have a combined total of almost 500 million views.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, “Danza Kuduro” is a take on Kuduro music from Angola and “Taboo” is a take on Lambada from Brazil.

Daddy Yankee

One of the originals from the early underground/reggaeton scene, Daddy Yankee (aka Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez) has been making music since the mid 90’s.  However, it wasn’t until the release of the song “Gasolina” that his commercial success took off.  “Gasolina”, from the 2004 “Barrio Fino” album, is one of the anthems of reggaeton music.  Internationally successful, the song reached to number 2 on charts in Denmark and Italy and number 32 on the US Billboard top 100.   The song has 22 million views on YouTube.  Yankee’s latest album “Mundial” was released in 2010 with the most popular song on the album being the merengue influenced “La Despedida” (included in the  MPop blog post playlist) with 25 million YouTube views.  Yankee’s next album “Prestige” comes out this month and of the three singles that have already been released the most popular is the dance influenced collaboration with Prince Royce “Ven Conmigo” with a YouTube view count of 60 million.

Wisin y Yandel

Juan Luis Morera Luna and Llandel Veguilla Malavé are the Puerto Rican duo known collectively as Wisin y Yandel.  Like Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel are early arrivers to the reggaeton scene dating back to 1998.  Some of their popular reggaeton work includes songs such as “Pam Pam” (2005, 10 million YouTube views), “Pegao” (2006, 11 million YouTube views), and “Sexy Movimiento” (2008, 13 million YouTube views).  Their latest album “Los Líberes” was released in July of this year.  The top song from that album is the dance influenced collaboration with Jenifer Lopez “Follow the Leader” with a YouTube view count of 60 million.

Ivy Queen

Women are much less prominent in the reggaeton world than their male counterparts but Ivy Queen (aka Martha Ivelisse Pesante) is one of the few exceptions. She has been involved in underground/reggaeton music since its early days with her first albums being released in the late 90s.  Her first reggaeton album, “Diva” was released in 2003 and the most popular song from the album is “Papi Te Quiero” with about 3 million YouTube views.  However, like the other artists I have listed her most popular song on YouTube is not reggaeton.  It’s the 2008 bachaton song “Dime” with almost 7 million views.  She released a new album, “Musa”, at the end of last month.  The first single off that album, “Peligro de Extinción”, is not reggaeton either but Latin fusion.  The song only has about 100, 000 views.  However, it is currently her top selling song on iTunes (the track is not available on iTunes Canada).

 Tego Calderón

At 40 years of age Tego Calderón (aka Tegui Calderón Rosario) is one of the older artists in the reggaeton scene.  He has gained recognition not only for his music but also for his socially conscience lyrics, a rarity in modern reggaeton.  Though very talented he has not achieved the same internationally popularity of the other male artists in this list.  Searching for him on YouTube you will find that his two most viewed songs are almost 10 years old: “Metele Sazon” from 2003 (15 million views) and “Pa Que Se Lo Gozen” also from 2003 (5 million views).  Calderón appears to be more interested in making good music by his standards (reggaeton or otherwise) and less interested in making music that will sell albums.  Case in point, Calderón has stated that he finds modern reggaeton has become too much like pop music and for the first single, “Pegaito a la Pared”, from his upcoming ablum, “Mr T”,  he has incorporated more elements of dancehall and reggae.


YouTube views are not exactly a scientific measure of the direction reggaeton music is headed.  However, I think they are a good indication of the music people are seeking out and what I take from these view counts is that audiences are showing a preference for the non-reggaeton music put out by reggaeton artists.  In turn, commercially successful artists and those that want to be commercially successful are turning more and more to non-reggaeton music to increase their popularity.  There still is a big market for pure reggaeton but what I see (and hear) is that the music is moving away from the dem dow driven tracks of the past 10 years.  How reggaeton evolves  is anyone’s guess but like any popular genre the more popular it is the more it sounds like pop music.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email at

Hasta la próxima


* There are often multiple videos for the same song on YouTube.  For view counts listed in this post I took the count from the video that had the most views.  The YouTube view counts are current as of Sept 1, 2012.

Reggaeton – The Beginnings

August Playlist Highlights





Dem Bow Dem Bow - Caan Dun Shabba Ranks Dancehall Jamaica
Tu Pum Pum Tu Pum Pum - PR CD #2 El General Reggae en Español Panama
Madman Kafu Banton Reggae en Español Panama
Saborealo Saborealo - PR CD #2 Vico C Rap en Español Puerto Rico
No Lo Derrumbes No Lo Derrumbes - No Lo Derrumbes Lisa M Rap en Español Puerto Rico
Todas las Yales Todas las Yales - Playero 41: Past Present & Future, Pt. 1 Daddy Yankee Underground Puerto Rico
Descontrol Descontrol - Playero 41: Past Present & Future, Pt. 1 Nicky Jam Underground Puerto Rico
Dem Bow Dem Bow - Jamz TV Hits, Vol. 2 Wisin y Yandel Reggaeton Puerto Rico
Lora, Lora Llora, Llora (feat. Oscar D'Leon) - The Underdog - El Subestimado Tego Calderon Salsaton Puerto Rico
Salsaton Salsaton (Salsa) - Voglio scoprir l'America El Rubio Loco Salsaton Italy
Vem Dancar Kuduro Vem Dancar Kuduro - Vem Dancar Kuduro - Single Lucenzo Kuduro France


Part 1

Reggaeton in its current form has only been around for a couple of decades.  However, within that short period of time it has become hugely popular.   This is not only true in countries where it has its origins such a Puerto Rico and Panama but in other countries where there are large Latin communities such as the US and Cuba.  What has made the genre so popular so quickly is up for debate: artists may like the genre because it is relatively easy to make reggaeton music (unlike many other Latin musical styles you don’t need half a dozen musicians to make reggaeton),  audiences may like it because the music is built on uncomplicated and very danceable rhythms.  Regardless of the reasons the fact of the matter is that reggaeton is here to stay.  As such, over the next couple of blog posts I am going to dig a bit into what reggaeton is, where it came from and who is making it.

What is Reggaeton and where did it come from?

In the simplest terms any music with a dem bow rhythm (boom-ch-boom-chick) could be considered reggaeton.  You will hear this rhythm in one form or another in all reggaeton music.  In my opinion, if you can’t hear that rhythm it’s not reggaeton.  However,  the dem bow rhythm did not originate with reggaeton nor is it exclusive to reggaeton.  Case in point, Danza Kuduro though released by the reggaeton artist Don Omar, is not reggaeton (it’s actually Kuduro).    You will also find the dem bow rhythm in dancehall, reggae, salsa, bachata and other musical styles.  So obviously reggaeton is more than just a rhythm, but if it’s more than just a rhythm what makes reggaeton reggaeton?  To answer that question it may be easiest to look at the origins of the genre.

The name reggaeton gives away the fact that the music has its origins at least in part in Jamaican reggae.  Also, the dem bow rhythm that I mentioned early has its origins in another Jamaican musical style called dancehall (specifically, the dem bow rhythm or riddim comes from a song by Shabba Ranks by the same name and has been attributed to the Jamaican producer Bobby Digital).  That said, reggaeton is sung in Spanish and Jamaican reggae and dancehall for the most part aren’t.   This leads us to Panama where Jamaican reggae has had a huge influence on the musical landscape.  Panama has a large number of Jamaican immigrants who have been coming to the country for decades and have brought their music with them.  Panamanians quickly adopted this music and made it their own by adapting Jamaican riddims and adding Spanish lyrics, which lead to the development of the genre known as reggae en español.

At the time reggae en español was increasing in popularity in Panama it was also finding an audience in Puerto Rico.  However, not only reggae was impacting Puerto Rican music, so was American hip-hop.  US made Spanish or Spanglish hip-hop was making its way into Puerto Rico where local artists such as Vico C were taking it and making it their own.  This led to the development of  a genre called rap en español.  Puerto Rican DJs were then taking this hip-hop inspired music, along with reggae and other musical styles and mashing them up into something different again.  Originally, this new music was popular among poorer or marginalized segments of the Puerto Rican population and had limited access to commercial distribution channels.  As such, it was often referred to as ‘underground’ music and developed a public stigma to match its name.  The stigma was bad enough that at one point the Puerto Rican government banned the music and raided a bunch of record stores that were selling it.  Not surprisingly this likely increased the popularity of underground music more than anything else.

Underground music continued to evolve through the 1990’s and arguably it is from this  music scene that the reggaeton of today evolved.  Case in point, it is from the underground scene that the name reggaeton comes from.  The story goes that one of the big DJs at the time, DJ Nelson, was making an album and came up with the name by blending the words reggae and marathon.  The birth of modern reggaeton in Puerto Rico would also help to explain why Puerto Rican artists dominate the reggaeton scene.  No doubt it has also been helpful that Puerto Rico is a territory of the US, which has allowed Puerto Rican artists easier access to distribution challenges and production studios that have been harder to come by for artists in other Latin American countries.

To conclude, I have gone from the reggae and dancehall of Jamaica to reggae en español from Panama to American hip-hop to Puerto Rican rap en español and underground to end up at modern day reggaeton.  None of these genres are reggaeton but they all have a claim in making it what it is today.   Of course, there is much more to the reggaeton story and the music than what I have presented here, but ultimately reggaeton is an evolving musical style.  What it was 10 years ago is not what it is today and not what it will be in 10 years from now.   However the music evolves, my suspicion is that reggaeton will continue to increase in popularity and become more and more mainstream.   But more on that in the next blog post.

If you are interested in finding out more about the genre I would recommend the book “Reggaeton”  by Raquel Z. Rivera, Wayne Marshall and Deborah Pecini Hernandez.  The Documentary “Chosen Few”  produced by Boy Wonder is also  worth having a look at.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email.

Hasta la próxima




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