Reggaeton is the most popular music in Latin America, as well as a huge youth-based cultural phenomenon. It is not a form of Spanish Reggae, but instead an evolution of the modern Jamaican popular music, called dancehall. Upon listening to both dancehall and reggaeton songs, the similarity becomes obvious. Reggaeton also can draw influences from Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, Vallenato, and House, and combine these forms of music in a new and unique way. It is this mix of different styles found throughout latin america that continues to drive the music forward and keep it from becoming overly repetetive.
Reggaeton is based upon the "Dem-Bow" beat. Though many westerners may critique the music for hoving the same beat in every song, the fact is, this is the same as any form of latin music. Every salsa song has the same rhythm, as does every cumbia, every merengue, etc... Any music intended specifically for dancing, as reggaeton is, will always have the same beat to make it easier and more fun to dance to.
Also, though many reggaeton songs have explicit lyrics, this is only one form of the genre, called "Perreo," which is usually accompanied by a form of grinding which goes by the same name. However, there are other forms of reggaeton: "Bachateo" and "Romantico" are two of the most common, both typically based around love. Reggaeton can be danced fast, slow, in pairs, or even single.
Most reggaeton is based in Puerto Rico, but many productions also come out of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama, and certain parts of the United States (most notably, New York City). The music is extremely popular throughout Latin America, though less so in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico.
Some famous reggaeton artists:
Daddy Yankee is the most famous artist at the moment. His huge hit "Gasolina," was followed by songs such as "Lo Que Paso Paso", "Rompe", "Machucando", and "Mirame." Most of his songs are in the perreo style.
Don Omar sings more emotional songs, often in the "bachateo" style. Some hits are "Pobre Diabla", "Reggaeton Latino", "Dale don Dale", and "Cuentale."
Other famous artists include Wisin y Yandel, Tego Calderon, Zion y Lennox, Tito el Bambino, Hector el Father, Calle 13, Vico C, Ivy Queen, Khriz y Angel, and Rakim y Ken-Y.
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