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 pop.
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 CandyMan, 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 online radio is fans can listen to their favorite music or watch their favorite videos around the clock.