AUDIO COMMENTARY

Reggaeton

Time: 4:08 minutes
Excerpt: "Historically related to hip hop and dance hall, reggaeton has become a new voice for Spanish-speaking youth, encompassing a variety of artists, styles, and messages"
full transcript

“La Gasolina” - Daddy Yankee

0:20-50

LISTEN:

Daddy Yankee’s 2004 hit, “La Gasolina,” introduced reggaeton to new audiences in the U.S., but the style already had a long history in the Caribbean

“Muevelo” - El General

1:10-145

In the 1970s young people in Panama recorded songs in the style of Jamaican dance hall music.  This hit by El General uses a vocal phrasing borrowed from Jamaican DJs, but it has Spanish lyrics.

LISTEN: (bring up at 1:22)

This fashion spread to Puerto Rico, too, where it was named “reggaeton.”

“Dem Bow” - Shabba Ranks

It also acquired a distinctive rhythm called “Dem Bow,”  named after this song by Jamaican dance hall singer Shabba Ranks. 

LISTEN: “dem bow…”

Listen to the rhythm:

Say: Bum, ta-bum-ta

“Pegao” - Wisin y Yandel

1:41-1:51 

2:11 chorus w/drums

Fade into Pegao

In Puerto Rico, Reggaeton producers competed for the dancers’ favor by using hip hop style and sophisticated studio production.  This modern reggaeton song has catchy breaks, layered electronic sounds, and a stronger emphasis on the first beat

LISTEN (1:51- “…move your body”

Say: Bum, ta -- ta

Fade down at chorus

Dance and sex are common themes in the lyrics of reggaeton songs.  But the genre of reggaeton also includes progressive voices.

“Loiza” - Tego Calderon

ca.1:55-2:45

The lyrics of this song by Tego Calderon, for example, are about the political struggles and pride of black Puerto Ricans.  The singer’s message is reinforced by the use of Afro-Puerto Rican bomba drums.  Here the drums play alone at first, and then become overlaid with electronic sounds.

LISTEN: (“Yo soy niche…” 2:10)

“Anacaona” - La Sista

0:18-

This song by La Sista invokes the legend of Anacaona.  Anacaona was a princess of the native Caribbean Taíno people, and a symbol of resistance to the Spanish invaders.  La Sista uses Anacaona as a symbol of female power and independence.

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Historically related to hip hop and dance hall, reggaeton has become a new voice for Spanish-speaking youth, encompassing a variety of artists, styles, and messages