Growing up in the melting pot known as New York City, I personally have been exposed to many different cultures. Creolization is a term that stems from studying different cultures, referring to the interplay between world culture and national cultures; including cultural object and cultural practices. Reggaetón is a cultural object that originated in Latin America, but around the early 1990’s, has become ever more popular amongst young people living in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. This genre of music was at first all in Spanish, but gradually as this style of music becomes more popular elsewhere, the artists of Reggaetón have now adopted English into their music.
Reggaetón is a genre of dance music that first originated in Panama in the 1970s and expanded rapidly throughout countries in Latin America during the 1980s. Reggaetón gained recognition and popularity first in Panama and then mostly in Puerto Rico. The genre of Reggaetón however is more closely associated with Puerto Rico than Panama. Puerto Rico is where Reggaetón became the most popular and famous.
Reggaetón can be described as a blend of Jamaican music influences of reggae and dancehall incorporating Latin American music, such as salsa, meringue, bachata, bomba, and plena using a hip hop type of sound. Many Reggaetón artists commonly rap in Spanish in their music as well. Many reggaeton songs have a specific repetitive rhythm and explicit lyrics, which is usually accompanied by a form of grinding. While it takes influences from hip hop and Jamaican dancehall, the specific rhythm that characterizes Reggaetón is referred to as “Dem Bow”. The name is a reference to the title of the Jamaican dancehall song that first popularized the beat in the early 1990’s. Further controversy surrounds perreo, a dance with explicit sexual overtones which is associated with Reggaetón music.
Even though Reggaetón is the most popular in Spanish speaking countries, this style of music has recently begun to emerge in English speaking countries around the globe. Due to Reggaetón’s popularity amongst young people living in English speaking countries, many new Reggaetón artists have chosen to integrate English into their music. In cities such as New York and Miami, Reggaetón is popularly played genre of music heard in social gatherings and dance clubs. Artists like Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Ivy Queen and Hector y Tito are all well-known artists in the Reggaetón world.