Inside Music | Reggaetón VS Reggae in Spanish

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“Daddy Yankee.” Rosales, Ramona. Billboard.
The below article was written by Music Industry Essentials student, Kayla Brun. Kayla submitted this article for the “Creating Music Media” assignment in the course. Some of the articles submitted are being considered for publishing on the Yellowbrick Blog. Congrats, Kayla! And good luck on completing the rest of the MIE course. 

People get asked about their music preference all the time. Reggae in Spanish is one of my answers. I get a confused look because it’s assumed that Reggaetón and Reggae in Spanish are one and the same. The two genres do in fact have similar influences, but they are not the same genre. The difference can be heard when a song of each genre is played back-to-back. Reggaetón is a younger genre so it’s possible that Reggaeton came from Reggae in Spanish which in turn came from Reggae.

Reggae in Spanish is simply Reggae in the Spanish language. People would take Reggae instrumentals and sing in Spanish over it. It originated in Panama during the 1970s. The Jamaican influences of Reggae in Spanish and the Jamaican influences in Reggaetón came from Jamaican workers who migrated to Panama to work on the Panama Canal.

The origin of Reggaetón is controversial. Many believe its birthplace is Puerto Rico, but it also originated in Panama and in the 1990s it became very popular in Puerto Rico. The 1990s is when more Latin influences like the percussive beat known as Dembow was added to the music. The name Reggaetón is a combination of “Reggae” and the suffix “-on.” When translated it means “big reggae.” Reggaetón is a combination of Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Rap and Latin rhythms. Artists making music in this genre tend to sing and rap in “Spanglish.”

Luis Armando Lozada Cruz, also known as Vico C, is a rapper born in Brooklyn and raised in Puerto Rico who established a record company called VC Records. He is recognized as the father of Latin Hip Hop and Reggaeton for mixing the sounds of Hip Hop and Reggae to create the unique fusion.

Ramón Luis Ayala Rodriguez, also known as Daddy Yankee, born and raised in Puerto Rico, is the artist who is recognized most in Reggaetón. He is known as the King of Reggaetón. His song “Gasolina,” released in 2004, receives credit for introducing the genre to audiences worldwide. Since then Reggaetón and Latin music in general has grown in popularity world-wide. Take a look at the 2 Spotify playlists below. One is Reggae in Español and the other is Reggaeton Classics. Which do you prefer?

– Kayla Brun

This program from NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, with contributions from insiders at Billboard and other leaders from across the industry provides a comprehensive overview of the inner workings of the music business and related career paths.

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