Why is Colombia the main international representative of Reggaeton?

The coffee nation has become, by its own merits, the world ambassador of this musical genre

Reggaeton Colombia

Its origins are in Panama, back in the decade of the 70s, during the 1990s Puerto Rico was the epicenter of this rhythm and, in the last decade, Colombia has become the country that has exported it to the most unsuspected corners of the planet.

Always involved in controversy for its lyrics, often chauvinistic and stereotypical, Reggaeton has made dance people around the world, from exclusive clubs in New York to clandestine venues in Berlin, through Barcelona or distant Bali. Nobody is oblivious to its catchy lyrics and sensual dances. It just takes to look the list of videos most viewed on YouTube to find that video number 1 is Despacito. This song has been played 4,700 million times before reaching the first year since it was posted on the platform. A recent study by Spotify revealed the unstoppable growth of Reggaeton, whose listeners have grown 119% since 2014, while Pop barely 14%.

Neither Daddy Yankee nor Luis Fonsi are Colombians, so why is this country considered nowadays as the most representative in this genre? The answer is for its ability to create hits on a regular basis and make them infallible in any club or home party.

Colombian artists like Maluma or J Balvin put out hits every two or three months, and the South American country pays tribute to this genre in all its cities. If Medellin concentrates the most successful artists and producers, Bogota has specialized itself in theme parties around this rhythm. One of the keys to the success of this music is its ability to eliminate the existing social gaps in Colombian society, since this genre triumphs both in the humble neighborhoods of southern Bogota and in the most exclusive clubs in Zona T or the Parque de la 93.

“Alístate que estoy suelta como gabete” emerged 7 years ago as a private event for just 25 people in the historic Bogota neighborhood of La Candelaria. Today, it has become a national macro-party that can reach 10,000 people in a single night. Jimmy Perez, his ideologist and manager, and known as ‘Don Gatsby’ for his ability to organize this type of event, boasts the skill of having managed to break the stigma associated with Reggaeton with violence, homophobia, and chauvinism. “My parties are organized in fashion clubs as well as in places frequented by gays, lesbians and transsexuals, we have expanded the terrain and in many places women dance among them”, explained Pérez.

If we move to the second city of the country, Medellin, it would not be strange to meet some of the most recognized artists of this genre, to the aforementioned Maluma and J.Balvin joins Nicky Jam in the throne. Jam is an American of Puerto Rican origin, who decided to move in to the capital of Antioquia “to be close to the best”. It is clear that Colombia breathes Reggaeton on all four sides and is spreading that fever to the entire planet.

Latin American Post | José María González
Translated by Marcela Peñaloza


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