Reggaeton (also spelled Regueton or with an accent) is a Latin style of music. Reggaeton is Panamanian, but has grown to be more associated with "Boricuas" (Puerto Ricans), some claiming the genre as their own. It is characterized by a certain beat called "dem bow", which is a traditional Carribean beat but was first popularized by dancehall
musician Shabba Ranks
's song with a title of the same name. An example of the beat can be heard on that song or simply defined as A-A-B (or ch-ch-bass) or B-B-A (bass, bass, ch). Its influences include Hip hop, techno and Reggae dancehall, and touches of merengue
and other Latin music can be featured. Unlike reggae, it does not use "riddims", instrumentals created by producers who can be used by any artists, most of the time, but exceptions can be made, such as Deejay Sasha and Ivy Queen's "Dat Sexy Body", which uses the Bookshelf Riddim originating from Reggae dancehall artist Beenie Man.
After Raggamuffin (dancehall) deejays from Panama including El General and Black Apache experimented with the same beat, they began "toasting" over it (a kind of Jamaican-style rapping which occurs when talking, rhyming, or singing is done over a beat) in Spanish. It further transformed with the likes of Don Chezina, Vico C, Las Guanabanas, DJ Blass, DJ Playero, and other Puerto ricans and Dominicans who discovered this then-emerging genre, and began rapping instead of toasting.
Singles from the next millenium broke Reggaeton into the mainstream music scene, such as Panamanian
rapper Lorna's "Papi Chulo (Te Traigo el Mmm)" and half- Puerto Rican N.O.R.E.
(also known Noreaga)'s "Oye Mi Canto" (featuring Nina sky, Daddy Yankee
, and Gemstar and Big Mato
Finally, Daddy Yankee's tremendously successful song "Gasolina" (written by Eddie Dee
and produced by Luny Tunes
) reached #1 in the United States Latin music charts, and then gained huge acclaim in Colombia, Mexico, Italy, France, the UK, and Germany.
At various stages, Reggaeton has been known as "Musica underground", "Dembow", "Spanish dancehall", or "Reggae en espanol", but was then finally known as its current name in the early 2000s.
Related genres similar to reggaeton include Salsaton, Merenhouse, Bachateo, and Bhangraton. Reggaeton is like, but not synonymous to, Latin rap. This is because Latin rap defines any rap recorded by artists of Hispanic or Spanish-speaking descent who rap in either Spanish, English or both, where reggaeton has specific influences and is mainly classified by the previously stated Dembow beat.
Today, Reggaeton has gained popularity and is being much experimented with throughout Latin America, especially in countries like Peru
, El Salvador
and the Dominican Republic
. Unfortunately, it is one of the most plagiarized genres in the music industry.
Some prominent reggaeton artists and producers or artists that have experimented with the genre (not listed in sequence of importance) include Daddy Yankee, Wisin and Yandel, Tego Calderon, Calle 13, Bimbo, Nicky Jam, Luny Tunes, Don Omar, Eliel, Pescozada, El Chombo, Ariel, Casper, DJ Playero, Don Miguelo, Kartier, Tony Dize, El Rubiote, Franco "El Gorilla", El Sensei, Rafy Mercenario, Rakim y Ken-y, Cheka, Yomo, Naldo, Lito y Polaco, Zion y Lennox, Voltio, Hector El Father, Tito El Bambino, Trebol Clan, Ingco Crew, Baby Rasta, Gringo, Arcangel, Tainy, Plan B, Alexis y Fido, John Eric, El General, Lorna, Killer Ranks, Wise, Big Boy, Eddie Dee, Angel y Khriz, Tony Dize, Johnny Prez, Fulanito, Gem star and Big Mato, Vico C, Ivy Queen, Tony Touch, Don Chezina, El General, D'Mingo, Heavy Clan, DJ Pollo, Magnate and Valentino, Baby Ranks, Sasha, Speedy, La Sista, and others.