Reggaeton is a type of urban music that has become widespread in popularity
among young music lovers in Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia, and
Australia. Reggaeton music originated in Panama and caters to Hispanic youth,
with rapping and singing often in Spanish. The music is a blend of Jamaican
style music such as dancehall and reggae and Latin America style music such
as salsa, bomba, plena, merengue, bachata, hip hop, bolero, R&B, and Latin
Reggaeton music boasts its own specific rhythm and beat. The rhythm of
reggaeton is often referred to as “Dem Bow.” The name Dem Bow references the
title of a dancehall song from the 1990s by Shabba Ranks. Though the music
genre of reggaeton is mostly associated with Puerto Rico (where this style of
music was popularized and became famous), the lyrics are more hip hop type
lyrics than dancehall.
The Beat of Reggaeton
It’s the reggaeton beat, or Dem Bow, that drives the music and dances. The beat
is described as a drum-machine track that originated with Jamaican dancehall
rhythm. Reggaeton combines a syncopated snare and steady kick drum to
create an unusual rhythm. There’s a 4/4 beat emphasized by the kick drum, and
the snare starts with the “and” of the 3rd 8th note and right on the 4th 8th note.
There are about 95 beats per minute, and the result is a magnified “boom-ch-
boom-chick” sounding beat.
Reggaeton beat sounds are usually synthesized electronically. There are also
simple melodies created with electronic instruments, keyboards, and electric
guitars. The beats are versatile, and can be based on bolero, hip-hop, salsa,
merengue, bachata, or other similar beats.
The Reggaeton Dance
Sensual (and controversial) dancing can often be seen in reggaeton clubs or on
music videos. The perreo type dance is a form of grinding dance derived from
Puerto Rico. The dance puts women in control of the dance and is very
provocative in its nature. Perreo moves are popular in dancehall, rhythm and
blues, and hip-hop music as well. A slightly calmer form of reggaeton dancing is
cumbia, which was originally a folk dance and music from Colombia. Like perreo,
the cumbia dance is flirtatious in nature with the women luring the men toward
them and then pushing them away.
Some of the leading artists in reggaeton include Don Omar, Plan B, Esko, Fito
Blanko, Nicky Jam, La Fabrica, Don Miguelo, Daddy Yankee, De la Ghetto, DJ
Blass, Baby Rasta & Gringo, Don Chezina, Lito & Polaco, Eddie Dee, Adassa, El
Chombo, and Tony Touch. Some popular producers of reggaeton music are
Eliel, Luny Tunes, and Noriega.
With the widespread popularity of reggaeton music, there are now many radio
stations specializing in this type of music. There are also online radio venues
where fans can download music, listen online, or watch the reggaeton music
video of choice. The major benefit of la mezcla’s online radio is fans can
listen to their favorite music or watch their favorite videos around the clock.