Since traveling through South America I have gained a new appreciation for Reggaeton.
I love all kinds of music and there has been some reggaeton that I have enjoyed and even bought. I still love Angel Y Khriz‘s “Ven Bailalo”. I sing it all the time.
Reggaeton blends reggae, rap and latin music. The haters say it all sounds the same and its monotonous and a tad obnoxious. I knew there was much love for reggaeton across Latin America but I never knew there was such dislike for the genre.
I joke with my friend Kahyda Rivera all the time about her dislike for reggaeton. Kahyda, who is from Ecuador, doesn’t mask her distaste for the music. I thought she was an oddball – after all what Latina doesn’t love reggaeton?
Then as I traveled more I began to hear from others in South America who despise reggaeton. Even some young people who are the ones attracted most to the music say there’s only so much of it they can take. Wow. What’s going on here?
As I thought about it some more I began to realize reggaeton was suffering the same backlash rap and Hip-Hop had suffered. Across the world it’s not hard to find people who despise Hip-Hop. And yes, millions love it.
Another problem is that some people classify as reggaeton music that is not, as is the case with Chino and Nacho, whose “Mi Niña Bonita” is heard 50 billion times a day blaring from cars, from clubs, from homes, from shops, from every street corner. This song isn’t exactly reggaeton but because the artists are young and fit the reggaeton artist look they get labeled as such. “Mi Niña Bonita” is closer to merengue than anything else.
But hip-hop and reggaeton seem to elicit some serious hate in comparison to other types of music. I mean, I know some people who don’t like jazz but they don’t wear t-shirts or display the word REGGAETON on their Web sites with an encircled bar through it. It feels like the same backlash disco music suffered during the 1970s.
While my love for reggaeton was limited, it now has expanded. I guess being exposed to it everywhere I go does that. I have several favorite reggaeton artists and tunes, but my absolute favorite – the one that gets me out of my seat – is “Si No Le Contesto” by Plan B. It’s a catchy tune, alright. Not a day goes by without me singing a line from the song. Before “Si No Le Contesto”, “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar, featuring Lucenzo. Can you believe that one video of that song has garnered 159,243,835 views on YouTube? And that’s not even counting the other videos of the song, including remixed versions. “Danza Kuduro” recently became the most viewed music video on YouTube in Latin America. So somebody out there likes the genre.
Recently in Cuenca, Ecuador, I went out with a bunch of friends. We were all ready to go dancing. We, however, spent a great deal of time on the street trying to decide where we should go because some in the group wanted to avoid reggaeton like the plague. They were insisting on finding a dance club with a wide variety of music, and if that included reggaeton so be it as long as it wasn’t playing all night.
So this journey has opened my eyes to the love and hate relationship Latinos have with a form of music that’s all their own. And strangely, instead of making me like the music less, I like it even more.