Still today, Puerto Rico is the country from where most reggaetón artists have emerged.

Métele dembow

(Drop the Beat)

Anywhere you go in Puerto Rico, you'll hear a beat. You'll feel it too. You'll experience reggaetón!

It is a rhythm that invades your body, and it'll make you swing your hips to the dembow.  Reggaetón originated on the Island in the late 1990s and is now one of the most popular musical styles worldwide. It started as a fusion of Jamaican reggae, hip-hop, and rap with heavy lyrics of explicit content, and – with time – it became a genre of its own, sparking a movement island-wide.

The genre first caught wind in a San Juan Club called The Noise, where the early reggaetón artists and DJ's like Daddy Yankee, Héctor El Father, Ivy Queen, and others presented and battled it out. It spread like wildfire across Latin America, Europe, and the United States at the beginning of the millennia when singers and DJs started blending the "underground" beat with other music styles like salsa, bachata, and merengue. With leading lyrics about love and life, the more commercial sounds are called romantiqueo, while those who stay true to the tiraera and "underground days" call their music maleanteo. 

Still today, Puerto Rico is the place from where most reggaetón artists have emerged.

Anywhere you go in Puerto Rico, you'll hear a beat. You'll feel it too. You'll experience reggaetón! In this episode of our "Sounds like Puerto Rico" series, we're sharing the secret behind Puerto Rico's vibrant musical genre. Move to the beat of our Island with urban rhythm, swagger, and of course, lots of dembow – hit the beat!

Did you know?

In 2005 became a national trend with new categories being created for this genre in the top music awards such as Grammy Latino and Billboard Latino. 

In 2003 Daddy Yankee was the first reggaetón artist to break international charts and become a global trend with "Gasolina." 

"Despacito," also featuring Daddy Yankee, was the best-selling and most-streamed single of 2017 in the United States, with 2,692,000 downloads sold and 1,322,799,000 streams. The song was inducted to the 2019 edition of the Guinness World Records for achieving seven milestones.

Bad Bunny's album YHLQMDLG, which stands for "I do whatever I want" in Spanish and plays with many reggaetón and urban styles of music, is the highest-charting all-Spanish-language record in the history of the Billboard 200. 

Reggaetón artists like Don Omar and Tego Calderón, and Nicky Jam have had supporting roles on the big screen in movies such as "The Fast and the Furious" saga, "XX: Return of Xander Cage," and "Bad Boys for Life." 

Puerto Rican slang associated with reggaetón:

Dembow – It is slang for "beat." When someone says métele dembow they ask you to put your flow, beat, or style into it.

Perrear or perreo – It is the name of the dance associated with reggaetón, which consists of two people grinding to the beat.

Estás al garete – To be wayward. It means when something or someone is out of control, crazy, or without direction.

Corillo – used to reference your group of friends or a group of people. Something like "crew" or "squad."

A Fuego – it means "on fire" or "lit," and it references something super cool.

Hasta abajo – it references one of the most popular styles of perreo, where the woman "drops it low." It is usually chanted by a corillo, encouraging a person to "drop it like it's hot."

Urban hits!

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