Only a few Latin-American artists have conquered the U.S industry. Especially only singing in Spanish. These 2 men are breaking language and cultural barriers.
Latin-American music has been growing during the last few years. Those happy, lively, and contagious rhythms are something else. There is nothing like the Latin sound. And that is because our music is an expression of our cultures. That is why even when there are music genders, as reggaeton, salsa, merengue, and bachata. Depending on the artist and its culture, the Latin sound is unique and personal.
But only a few Latin-American artists have got the bravery of remaining to their roots. Artists who decided to exalt and praise their language and culture. Sharing with the rest of the world the Latin-American culture from our own language. And, for me, that is something to admire and cheer. Because that means breaking racial, cultural, and language barriers, and grace all of us as Latinos.
This article is to honor and thank two incredible and outstanding Latinos. Two men who have conquered the U.S. music industry and target not only with their talent. But especially by remaining to their roots, sharing culture, tradition, and language. Gracing the Latin-American culture all over the world. But first, let’s talk about Latin Sound, and what makes it unique.
The Latin Sound on Music
As a Latina, I grew up with many sounds and genders of music that remained on my memory. I was really little when the reggaeton was starting on the Latin American music industry. So, I can say the reggaeton has been one of those genders that have been with me my entire life. I remember it was really controversial because of its direct and sexualized lyrics. But it didn’t deprive anyone of continuing listening to it. Because reggaeton was and it stills is a gender that is some much more than its lyrics.
Reggaeton combines a hip-hop lyrical structure with the verse-chorus bridge pop music’s structure. But the plus that makes it special is its dancehall, reggae, and dembow rhythm. Those drums, timbals, and calypso sounds that make it so lively and danceable. To be honest, if there is something that reggaeton means to me is that, dancing and moving, expressing ourselves with our bodies.
Not for nothing I’ve been dancing reggaeton on every party I’ve been to. Every celebration comes alive thanks to reggaeton. And almost everyone, no matter the music preferences, ages, or genders stands up and has a good time dancing with that lively rhythms. That is the Latin culture. That is what being a Latino means, celebrating the great and dark times. Celebrating we fight and struggle every day. And celebrating we are alive.
That is why the Latin Sound is so important for us as Latinos. Because it is culture and tradition. It is the expression of all our fights and hard work. And it is synonymous with celebration and sharing happiness with our loved ones. But the truth is that this gender would not be the same in any other language except for Spanish. And that makes reggaeton even more amazing and unique. For that reason, here are 2 of its biggest exponents. 2 Latinos who have conquered the U.S. music industry target singing in Spanish and honoring their roots.
Bad Bunny And His Latin Trap
Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, a.k.a. Bad Bunny, is probably one of the biggest Urban Music singers right now in the Latin American industry. But he is also one of the youngest. Just at 26 years old, Bad Bunny has been in the Latin music industry for 5 years, a short time compared to other Latin singers as Daddy Yankee and Ozuna. And he was already awarded by the Latin Grammy academy as Best Urban Album in 2019.
Bad Bunny is not just a trapper and raper. But this Puerto Rican young man is also a composer and a producer since he was only 13 years old. Just like any other Latino, Benito grew up listening to huge reggaeton artists from the start of the gender in Latin-America, such as Vico C and Daddy Yankee. But also to salsa singers such as Hector Lavoe. And all that inspired Bad Bunny to become not only a singer but also a producer and songwriter. He was born, raised, and stills lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico until he signed with Hear This Music Label in 2016.
Benito has got huge recognition in the Latin American music industry. His music is played everywhere in Latin America. And he has also become a style icon for many young Latinos and a reference to the Latin culture. But one of the main things that make Bad Bunny unique is the fact that he mixes the reggaeton sound with his particular trap style. Also, his lyrics are genuine. They truly share his essence, experiences, and thoughts, without a filter. He prefers to be himself instead of being politically correct.
But something Benito has that not many other Latin-American artists have is the fact that with his music he conquered the U.S. music industry. Until the last few years, Latinos used to have to sing in English if they wanted to pass in the U.S. music industry, they had to sing on English to be attractive to the target. Well, Bad Bunny is one of the few Latinos that made the U.S. target fall in love with songs fully in Spanish. In 2018, his collaboration with Cardi B and J Balvin “I Like It” was on the number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and since its release, the song was part of the Chart’s Top 10.
And that was just the start. Benito’s collaboration with Drake, MIA, released in the same year was on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart’s Top 5 since its release. In 2019, Bad Bunny’s Collaboration Album with J Balvin was really successful in the U.S. music industry target too, It was ninth in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. One of the biggest examples of his success is the fact that Benito was one of the main performers in the main stage of the 2019 Coachella. And that thanks to his YHLQMDLG 2020 Full Album, Bad Bunny became the first Latino to ever have an Album on the Second spot in the Billboard Album 200 Chart.
J Balvin And His Reggaeton
Jose Alvaro Osorio Balvin, a.k.a. J Balvin is a Colombian singer and producer. He started his music career in 2004 in Medellin, Colombia, and he has been in the Latin music industry for over 16 years. J Balvin has a multifaceted talent that includes playing the guitar, singing, and rapping. His recognition in the Latin music industry includes 2 Latin Grammy awards for Best Urban Song and Best Urban Album. And he was recently recognized by the 2020 Time 200 list as one of the Most Influential artists of the year. A recognition only a few Latinos have.
But before conquering the world, Jose conquered his own country, Colombia. His first solo song as J Balvin, Panas was released in 2004, and after that, he released the other 10 singles that were popular but just in Medellin. Until in 2008, his 11 single in solo became a massive hit in Colombia. With Ella Me Cautivo, J Balvin got the recognition of his country. But also he set the tone of the Reggaeton music in Colombia. A reggaeton based on the exaltation of women. J Balvin’s reggaeton has his unique touch of trying to inspire love and positive vibes.
Ever since that, Jose’s popularity continued growing not only in Colombia but also outside his country. In 2009 his single Ella Me Cautivo had international popularity, especially in the U.S. In that year, the song was on the Billboard Top Tropical Songs Chart on the 35th spot. And since that year, he started making his career international. In 2010 he was already having performances in the U.S. and Europe. After that, his second Full Album was released in 2012 and its first single Yo Te Lo Dije was the 9th song in the U.S. Billboard’s Hot Latin Song chart.
But one of J Balvin’s songs that really got recognition and popularity is definitely his 2016 song Ginza. Thanks to that song, Jose has the Guinness Record for the Longest-running Song at the top of the U.S. Hot Latin Song Charts. And in 2017 and 2018 he collaborated with 2 U.S. music industry’s Queens: Beyonce and Cardi B. His collaboration with Cardi B and Bad Bunny was his first number one in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Charts. And Jose’s massive collaboration with Beyonce was a huge worldwide hit.
This year, J Balvin released his newest Full Album Colores. A really personal and deep Album in which he participated as a songwriter for all of the songs. With Colores, Jose shared with the world more than songs an entire concept. He based his Album concept on the rainbow to represent emotions with each one of its colors. For example with Blanco, J Balvin shares how he stills remained to his roots, and how he continues working nonstop on his music. And Colores had a huge recognition in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Jose’s Album was on the Top 20 of the U.S. Billboard 100 Albums for this year; something only a few Latinos had conquered.
Now let me get personal. I have been growing up with J Balvin’s music. I was only 8 years old when his first song came out. And for me, he really innovated in the reggaeton industry. Because his lyrics are positive, are real, and make you fall in love. If there is something J Balvin has is the fact that he writes and produces songs as if he would be trying to make women fall in love.
Also, he has evolved in the Latin industry. J Balvin has never tried to be something else or to sing in other languages because he is proud of being Latino. And for me that was lifechanging. Because there are many Latinos all around the world ashamed for being Latinos and trying to be something else. When the truth is that, just as Jose if we remain to ourselves and honor our race we can make a change and conquer our dreams.
And, on the other side, Bad Bunny is the voice of my generation. He is out there being real and being himself instead of being politically correct. Benito stands up and shows that my generations do is the change in ideas and concepts Latin-America needed. He is an example of how we are not afraid of being who we are and breaking stereotypes in a really close-minded society as the Latin community is.
Two incredible men and artists to follow and support. Two singers that will make you proud of being Latino. Their music makes us honor not only our culture but also our language. Thank you both for making our language, music, and culture shine worldwide!