Decades before Farruko became one of Puerto Rico’s most notable reggaeton MCs, the 30-year-old was a huge fan of Eurodance artists like Alice Deejay.
“It was my childhood,” Farruko admits of the ’90s techno-pop sound that colored his latest studio album, “La 167”, and his groundbreaking hit, the energetic Latin jam house “Pepas”.
âPepasâ topped Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart for seven weeks and remained in the top 10 of the Spotify Global 50 charts. Dutch DJ TiÃ«sto released a remix of âPepasâ last week, and the song streams show no signs of slowing down.
âI might have fans who only listen to reggaeton, but I’m a multi-faceted artist. I want to evolve my music,â Farruko told The Times. “‘Pepas’ was an experiment, and it worked.”
Farruko is one of a growing number of artists who first built their audiences through reggaeton, before turning to the world of EDM for inspiration. The last year has seen a huge increase in dance fusions climbing the Latin charts, among them Bad Bunny’s “Dakiti” and Jhay Cortez, Karol G’s country-disco track “Location” and Rauw’s electro-pop hit. Alejandro “Todo De Ti”.
At the forefront of this emerging wave of electro-reggaeton is Colombian crossover star J Balvin. Since 2017, several of his songs have appeared on the global dance / electronic charts, including collaborations with Major Lazer, David Guetta and Black Eyed Peas.
When Balvin recorded “In Da Getto,” his 2021 joint hit with Skrillex, he told Paper Magazine, “I didn’t have Latinos in mind.”
Recalling the 1994 house track, “In de Ghetto”, producers Skrillex and Tainy outfitted Balvin’s Spanish-language vision with bloated jock-jam organs and an accelerated modulation of the basic reggaeton riddim known as by dembow. The song is now certified gold in Italy and platinum in Spain.
Katalina Eccleston, co-producer of Spotify’s new podcast, “Loud: The History of Reggaeton,” suspects the genre’s turn is more for marketing purposes than creative ones. âThere is a net result, and that is the expansion of markets,â she said.
“They take something that’s already popular” – EDM – “and see how much their audience can grow.”
After being criminalized in Puerto Rico, reggaeton finally became popular in the early 2000s. Tego Calderon won over fans across Latin America with his 2002 debut album “El Abayarde”, while Daddy Yankee wowed fans. United States with “Barrio Fino” in 2004. Don Omar’s 2006 LP “King of Kings” achieved an unprecedented feat for a reggaeton album, ranking No.7 on the Billboard 200.
After that initial gold rush, many reggaeton artists returned to the drawing board, thirsty for new interpretations of their beloved sounds. This coincided with the global rise of EDM: in the late years, as house music and its variations permeated pop and R&B music in the United States, Mexican artists like 3Ball MTY developed the regional EDM fusion. known as tribal guarachero, while genera like nu- cumbia and funk carioca have spread far beyond their origins in South America. Many of these sounds have been interpolated into what is now called “overall bass”.
In Puerto Rico, producers like DJ Blass and Tainy sought to transform reggaeton with the same techniques that artist-producers like Timbaland and Daft Punk had used to influence American pop. This sparked what Eccleston calls the era of “perreo galactico”, a house-focused subgenre of reggaeton in which veterans like Omar and Wisin y Yandel dabbled in electronic dancing to songs like “Virtual Diva. “and” Sexy Movimiento “.
Commercially, such experiments failed in 2011, and in the years leading up to the “Despacito” sensation in 2017, reggaeton again struggled to gain industry recognition.
Now, the majority of the most popular Latin songs aren’t just from reggaeton artists – they’re EDM fusions.
âIn the beginning, reggaeton was a fusion sound,â says Miami-based Luis J. Gonzalez, who produces under the nickname Mr. Nais Gai. He has appeared in several titles on “Vice Versa”, the latest album by emerging Puerto Rican star Rauw Alejandro. âOver time, any artist should want to innovate in his genre.
âBass is critical,â adds Gonzalez, who cites Deadmau5’s groundbreaking electro-house album â4 Ã 4 = 12â as an influence. “Reggaeton and house each have their own style, but they share the same principle. What brings them together is that boom boom that gets you moving.”
Puerto Rican hit-maker Jhay Cortez shared the same philosophy when writing his latest album, âTimelezz,â which Skrillex shares credits on on the Latin electronic track, âEn Mi Cuartoâ.
âAnything that makes you dance can be universal,â Cortez said in a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times.
Does this move to EDM mean reggaeton could be in decline?
âLike EDM, reggaeton is global music at this point,â Cortez explains. “It’s not going anywhere.”
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