History of Reggaeton Music

by 09/11/2012 13:23:00 0 comments 2277 Views
History of Reggaeton Music

The first Reggae recordings in Latin America were made in Panama in the mid-1970s. A large number of Jamaican immigrants had been brought in during the building of the Panama Canal and they brought with them Reggae music to the local population.

In 1985, rapper Vico C from Puerto Rico produced the first spanish-language Hip hop record. Thus the two main influences of the genre were in place, as well as the two main producing countries.

Reggae production took off seriously in Panama in the early nineties, about the same time Jamaican Ragga imports were becoming all the rage in Puerto Rico. Towards the middle of the decade Puerto Ricans were making their own riddim material, with clear hip-hop influences, and recording what must be considered the first proper Reggaeton tracks.

However, Panama has always held its own production-wise and its own blooming Reggaeton scene was created when the local reggae scene was infused with Puerto Rican influences a couple of years later. Today the music flourishes equally in both countries and has also spread to the rest of Latin America, including Colombia.

Distinguishing Features

The music is, even today, very similar to Jamaican Ragga. The same basic rhythm is employed and many of the vocals tends to be in the Ragga style, although Hip hop-styled vocals are also common. Many riddims used in Reggaeton are also directly taken from Jamaican producers, with relatively minor changes (see below).

The genre's most notably unique feature is a driving drum-machine track derived from Puerto Rican genres Bomba and Plena. This is integrated into the riddim used, whether Jamaican or locally produced. However, despite the genre's relatively high level of derivativeness it is often very creatively done, with some excellent producers and performers incorporating their own personal musical backgrounds into the crafting of songs.

The lyrics, like most working-class popular musics', are often about the reality on the streets, misunderstandings, unfair situations, love, cheating and passion.
Reggaeton Today

The genre has only grown in size over the past few years and is starting to reach international recognition. Reggaeton's biggest international hit to date is "Papi Chulo (Te Traigo El Mmm...)" by Lorna from Panama. Swedish-produced "Chupa Chupa" by Cuban El Médico del Rap and the radio remix of Dominican Bachata boy band Aventura's "Obsesión" are other hit tracks clearly influenced by the reggaeton style.

Most recently, artists from Puerto Rico (which arguably produces the most popular artists of the genre) have grown to be immensely popular on the island and outside. Biggest of all being Tego Calderón, Don Omar, Wisin y Yandel, Héctor y Tito, Daddy Yankee, Zion y Lennox, Baby Rasta y Gringo, and Ivy Queen. They are the most demanded reggaeton artists in Puerto Rico, and most of Latin America. All have performed massive concerts in Puerto Rico and are the ones credited with bringing it into the mainstream and allowing it to become more commercial and embraced by the public that had chastized it in its beginning. Reggaeton is also beginning to amass a large following in areas such as Florida, New York, the Boston area, Chicago, and small pockets of the USA where the latino population is sizeable or where there is a large club scene.
And large music companies are taking notice. Sony Music has signed significant deals with artists such as Buddha's Family, Mickey Perfecto, and Noztra. Universal Music is also one of the major distributors of the genre in and outside Puerto Rico. They have deals with most of the large production companies of reggaeton on the island.

Don Omar recently headlined a concert in South America alongside international dancehall artist Sean Paul, worked alongside the famous merengue band Limi-T 21 on two songs on their recent album, was featured on Los Rabanes' newest CD, participated with Ednita Nazario in her recent concert, and made a public deal with Emilio Estefan for production of some songs as well as help in internationalizing himself and the genre. He will also be the first rapper to participate during the famous Banco Popular concerts that take place every year. Héctor y Tito themselves have recorded alongside Jose Feliciano, and more recently alongside Victor Manuelle and Domingo Quiñones (two popular salsa artists). They're also touted to have Gilberto Santa Rosa participate in their next album. Other artists have had high profile collaborations with other artists outside the reggaeton genre, most notably : Tego Calderón with Fat Joe, Wyclef Jean, Cypress Hill, Nina Sky, Toño Rosario, and 50 Cent. He is also the official face of Hennessy in the Latin American market. Ivy Queen's next album ("Real") has songs alongside Sean Paul, Beenie Man, La India, and Fat Joe. Daddy Yankee has a song alongside Nas called "The Prophecy", and also has a track on the soundtrack of the movie One Tough Cop.

Recent events have only slightly tarnished the image of reggaeton in Puerto Rico, most notably being Tego Calderón's public alimony dispute with his ex-wife, Nicky Jam's attempted murder case (the judge found no cause, and the case was dismissed), and Don Omar's highly publicized arrest after allegedly being caught by two police officers smoking marijuana inside his Hummer H2 and carrying a loaded gun with a mutitaled serial number. He has denied any wrongdoing, and his case will go to court soon.