The Phenomenon of the Mexican Regional, can it Unseat Reggaeton?

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From Bad Bunny to Natalia Lafourcade, the Mexican region can potentially become the new flagship sound of Latin America

Still from the video clip 'She Dances Alone'

Photo: YT-DEL Records

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: El fenómeno del regional mexicano, ¿Podrá desbancar al reggaetón?

There would be different ways to explain the success of the Mexican region. It shouldn't be strange to see that now the global banner of music charts is a genre that feeds on European polka and cumbia of African origin. It also carries the influence of Mexican folklore and takes elements of indigenous music with sones jarochos and mariachis.

With Bad Bunny at the top of the music charts and the most important festivals in the world, reggaeton has hit its ceiling. The Mexican regional could take over the relay, a genre that currently dominates the ranks and increasingly has more visual references.

Bad Bunny seems to be the protagonist of this transition with his recent song "un x100to" together with Grupo Frontera. The collaboration cracked the top 3 on the global chart on Spotify and peaked at number 15 on its Billboard Hot 100 debut.

How does it Arise?

It does not have a baptism date, but it is known that the genre groups styles such as mariachi, norteña, banda, corridos, cumbia, and several others. This has led to a discussion about the validity of its term because it limits its scope. Something similar happened with the urban genre, which included rap, reggaeton, and trap, among others.

If one seeks to talk about its origin, it is time to go to the 40s, when ranchero boleros predominated. Then came the rise of the mariachis with Vicente Fernández de faro in the 80s and later came the dominant wave of Los Tigres del Norte with norteño music.

Lately, the domain is shared between Cristian Nodal, with a more modern sound of norteño and mariachi music, and Grupo Firme, which bets on the band and represents the Mexican regional par excellence.

Due to this genre's deployment, not only reggaeton players or Latin American rappers have ventured into it. There was also a history of world-class stars who gave the genre a chance.

Also read: Platino Awards 2023: Who succeeded and where to see the winning productions?

What is its Rise Due To?

In addition to coining legends of Latin American music such as those already mentioned, acts like Los Tigres del Norte continue to be valid references for this movement. Even Vicente Fernández remained so current that he won the Grammy in the Best Regional Mexican Album category in 2022.

This allows the new school that aspires to take the bar to compete for more relevance in the market. They know how to do it by collaborating with artists of the dominant Latin genre par excellence, reggaeton. Now they can be on the same level in terms of recognition.

The first milestone achieved in the Mexican regional was thanks to rapper Gera MX and Cristian Nodal, who, with "Botella tras Botella," made the genre enter the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time at number 63. Another milestone is living today, since "Ella Baila Sola" by Eslabón Armado and Peso Pluma is the most listened-to song on Spotify. Suppose we add this to the collaboration of Bad Bunny and Grupo Frontera. In that case, we could be living a period of transition from the urban to the regional Mexican regarding the dominance of Latin American music.

As mentioned above, the Mexican region has troubled American stars like Snoop Dogg, who raps on “Que maldición” with Banda MS, or Will.i.am, who collaborated with Joan Sebastian on “Hey You” more than a decade ago. At the Latin American level, the collaborations of J Balvin with Juan Gabriel and Julión Álvarez in “La Frontera” and Maluma with Grupo Firme in “Cada Quien,” without leaving aside “200 Copas” by Karol G also stand out.

Another referent that transits between the pop ballad and the Mexican regional is Natalia Lafourcade. The Mexican singer knew how to return to her origins with two volumes and a musical of “Un Canto por México.” She managed to establish a harmony between recognition and respect for the roots of the Mexican region.

Now Featherweight reached the springboard of "Ella Baila Sola" and consolidated it with another reggaeton hit such as the "La Bebé" remix with Yng Lvcas. For the moment, it is proof that both genders commune perfectly. The 'regional trap' trend has been growing with an influence emerging from corridos. Time will tell if the Mexican regional will be able to unseat reggaeton.