In The Community
Urban music encompasses a wide range of music genres that originate from vibrant and diverse communities. These musical styles often serve as a creative outlet and mirror the challenges, successes, and ordinary lives of the individuals residing in these areas. From Latin America to the Caribbean, urban music genres have evolved over time and continue to evolve so quickly it's hard to keep up. And no, it’s not all just “reggaeton.”
Where music originated from is just as important as who's currently creating it.
Emerging from the vibrant musical scene of Puerto Rico in the late 1990s, reggaeton swiftly captured the attention of music enthusiasts by blending reggae, hip hop, and Latin American rhythms into a compelling fusion. At the heart of this genre lies the infectious dembow riddim, a rhythmic structure inspired by Jamaican dancehall music, accompanied by dynamic Spanish rap and melodic vocals. With each passing year, reggaeton has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity, solidifying its position as one of the most impactful Latin urban genres on a global scale.
Reppin’ Reggaeton:Ivy Queen, hailed as the "La Reina del Reggaeton," is a trailblazer in this genre. With her powerful voice and empowering lyrics, she challenged the genre's traditional machismo, paving the way for many other female artists.
Hailing originally from Jamaica, dembow found significant resonance in the Dominican Republic, where it garnered immense popularity. This urban music genre draws its foundations from the realms of dancehall and reggae, known for its distinctive repetitive, looped beats and energetic rhythm. Lyrically, dembow serves as a conduit for expressing the realities and challenges faced within urban neighborhoods, offering a powerful voice to these communities.
Reppin’ Dembow: Tokischa is currently one of the most prominent female figures in Dembow. Known for her energetic performances and often controversial lyrics, she represents a strong feminine presence in a predominantly male genre
Originating from the depths of the Argentine underground music scene, Turreo, also recognized as Cumbia 420, emerges as a captivating sub-genre of Cumbia Villera. This genre skillfully intertwines the essence of traditional cumbia with electronic music and reggaeton influences. Its lyrical themes frequently revolve around vibrant party culture, sexuality, and the realities of life in urban slums, known as villas. With its signature synthesized beats and occasionally explicit lyrics, Turreo has established itself as a controversial yet undeniably captivating force within the realm of urban music.
Reppin’ Turreo: Cazzu is an Argentine singer, rapper, and songwriter known for her influential presence in turreo and trap. Her music often explores themes of love, heartbreak, and female empowerment, and her charismatic approach has helped her gain a devoted fan base and establish herself as one of the leading figures.
NeoPerreo, alternatively referred to as Latin dancehall or perreo 2.0, arises as a sub-genre within the diverse landscape of urban music, finding its roots in Latin America, notably in Chile and Puerto Rico. This distinctive genre seamlessly melds elements of traditional reggaeton and dancehall with experimental and electronic sounds. NeoPerreo breathes fresh life into the classic perreo style, embracing contemporary influences and amplifying messages of female empowerment, sexual liberation, and unapologetic self-expression. It serves as a testament to the ever-evolving nature of urban music, pushing boundaries and reflecting the dynamism of the current cultural landscape.
Reppin’ Neo Perreo: Tomasa del Real is a Chilean artist who has gained recognition as a key player in the neo-perreo or Latin dancehall scene. Her music incorporates traditional dancehall sounds with electronic beats, and her lyrics often explore themes of female empowerment and sexual freedom.
Originating in the early 1990s in the Southern United States, trap music established its foundation. This genre distinguishes itself with its foreboding, introspective lyrics and assertive, synthesized beats. In more recent times, Latin Trap has surfaced, harmonizing traditional trap elements with distinct Latin music traits and Spanish verses. Within this genre, narratives centered around the realities of street life prevail, chronicling tales of adversity, aspiration, and ultimate conquest. Latin Trap stands as a testament to the genre's evolution and cross-cultural influences, bridging diverse musical landscapes while capturing the essence of urban experiences.
Reppin’ Trap: Colombian singer, rapper, and songwriter Farina's commanding delivery, coupled with her unique blend of trap, reggaeton, and hip-hop influences, has solidified her position as an influential artist within the genre.
Cumbiatón is a genre that merges reggaeton and Mexican cumbia sonidera, characterized by lively dance rhythms, memorable melodies, and a fusion of traditional and electronic instruments. The genre's popularity has been on the rise, particularly in Mexico, as it seamlessly combines the timeless essence of traditional Mexican sonidero music with a contemporary urban sound.
Reppin’ Cumbiaton: Bellakath's explosive rise to fame on TikTok, fueled by her chart-topping hit "Gatita," has established her as the reigning queen of cumbiaton.
Still, we've just skimmed the surface of the incredible Latin urban music scene, but guess what? There's so much more to explore, and there's a subgenre for every taste out there. What's your go-to?
- Why Do We Keep Playing Into Pitting Women Against Each Other? ›
- 5 Latina Trap Artists That Are Killing The Game ›
- Meet the Mujeres Taking Over Regional Mexicano - Luz Media ›
Selena Quintanilla is known in the Latino community not only as the “Queen of Tejano Music” and a symbol of Latina empowerment but also as someone whose life was taken far too soon. Her tragic death at the hands of someone she trusted left an indelible mark on Latino culture. To this day, Latinos keep Selena alive through her music, but the singer’s memory has arguably not been left to rest.
At the age of 23 and only two weeks before her 24th birthday in 1995, Selena was fatally shot by Yolanda Saldívar. Saldívar, who started as the president of Selena’s fan club, became her business associate and close friend. However, it was discovered that Saldívar had been embezzling money from the Selena Etc. clothing boutiques she was managing. Two days after the singer confronted her, Saldívar bought a gun at a shooting range, and the rest is history.
Recently, Selena’s name is back in the headlines, not due to her legacy or power as a Latina, but rather in connection to the woman who took her life. Oxygen, a TV network focused on true crime and drama shows, is releasing a new true crime documentary called “Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them” on February 17.
In previews for the docuseries, Yolanda Saldívar breaks her silence after 30 years, vowing to “set the story straight.” Through a series of interviews from a Texas prison where she’s currently serving her life sentence, Saldívar discusses her relationship with Selena. Additionally, members of Saldívar’s family share never-before-seen documents and recordings, claiming, “This is not a simple case of murder.”
The news quickly went viral online following the release of the docuseries’ preview, with the Latino community and others banding together on social media to express their outrage. The majority of the critiques stem from the focus of the docuseries being on Saldívar, which many commentators argued gives her a platform to attempt to revise history as if anything she could argue could excuse or possibly even justify her crime.
Commentators also point out the timing of the Oxygen docuseries and how it’s coming out not only close to the 29th anniversary of Selena’s death but also at a time when it benefits Saldívar the most. According to public records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Saldívar will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.
This really boils my blood 🙂 #selena #selenaquintanilla #yolandasaldivar #selenaquintanillaperez #chrisperez #selenanetflix
For context, parole is granted for reasons like good behavior, rehabilitation or remorse, or low risk of re-offending. Parole allows convicted prisoners to get out of prison and start fresh under supervision. With that in mind, the impression the preview has left on most commentators is that Saldívar and her family are taking advantage of Selena’s legacy to have the best possible chance at parole.
The claims Saldívar is making drives that impression as she states she has been holding onto Selena’s “secrets” and wants people to know the truth now. According to her, part of that truth is that the murder was an accident, which is the same argument she used on trial for her defense.
However, this argument didn’t hold up in Saldívar’s trial in 1995 and it currently doesn’t hold up in the court of public opinion. Among the people slamming the docuseries is Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, who spoke up about it, stating that Saldívar has no credibility in the eyes of the public.
The situation has also sparked a conversation about how exploitative true crime content often is, with many people pointing at the Oxygen docuseries as an example of that. While some claim they will still watch the docuseries out of curiosity, most are discouraging the support of such a project.
The loudest voices in defense of Selena and her memory are coming from the Latino community, but people of all races and from all over the world are expressing how shocked they are that Saldívar was given a platform. Whether the effort will move the needle in Saldívar's favor when it comes to parole remains to be seen.
Natalia Lafourcade stands out as a Mexican musician who's really made a name for herself celebrating Latin American folklore. She's been in the music game for over 20 years and does it all - singing, songwriting, and producing. Her music delves deep into the roots of Latino music, going beyond just catchy melodies.
Lafourcade takes her listeners on a meaningful journey through Latin America's cultural heritage, blending traditional sounds with modern influences. Her work not only preserves folklore but also enriches it, inspiring new generations to connect with and value their Latine identity.
Un Canto por México - El Musicalwww.youtube.com
Early Influences and the Path to Latin American Roots
She didn't just sing; she also learned to paint, play the piano, flute, guitar, saxophone, and even participated in theater and dance. At the beginning of her career, Lafourcade initially focused on pop music. Her first albums highlighted her inclination towards this genre, which was quite different from her later works that explored folkloric music. These initial albums were a period of discovery and artistic experimentation, which laid the foundation for her musical evolution and identity.
Lafourcade's transition to Latin American roots music was a significant turning point in her career. Following the release of her album "Hu hu hu" in 2009, she desired to establish a deeper connection with her audience and the essence of Latine music. This led her to explore and rediscover various Latin American genres and composers, which opened up a new dimension in her art.
Her musical explorations have connected her to the works of iconic figures of Latin American music, such as Violeta Parra, Simón Díaz, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and Agustín Lara, to name a few.
Natalia Lafourcade - Mi Religión (Sesión en Teatro Juárez de Guanajuato)www.youtube.com
Fusing Latine Folklore
In 2012, Lafourcade released an album titled "Mujer Divina - Tribute to Agustín Lara." This album is significant as it marks where she began to connect with Latin American folklore. The album serves as a heartfelt tribute to the renowned Mexican composer, Agustín Lara.
In "Mujer Divina," Lafourcade reimagined and updated Lara's classic melodies, blending his traditional essence with her contemporary style. Through this album, she introduced Lara's legacy to a new generation of listeners, showcasing the timelessness and relevance of traditional music.
In this album, Lafourcade teamed up with renowned Latin American artists, like Jorge Drexler, Devendra Banhart, Vicentico, and Kevin Johansen, just to name a few. Each track is a collab, bringing a fresh style to pay tribute to Lara's incredible work.
Following her highly successful album "Hasta la Raíz," marking a pinnacle in her career, she made a comeback from an early musical hiatus with a series of albums titled "Musas," released in 2017 and 2018.
These albums pay a deep tribute to Latin American folklore that goes far beyond Mexico's borders. They display her musical exploration, ranging from the traditional rhythms of the Caribbean to the southern reaches of the continent. In this diverse soundscape, Lafourcade found renewed push and inspiration to continue her musical career.
The works feature the collaboration of Lafourcade with Los Macorinos, a duo of guitarists who have previously worked with the legendary singer Chavela Vargas.
In these albums, they explore and reinvent traditional songs while paying homage to notable musicians like María Grever, Roberto Cantoral, and Violeta Parra, among others.
What sets these albums apart is their respect and authenticity towards cultural roots, presenting the works of these iconic figures from a fresh perspective while maintaining the essence and beauty of traditional music.
Un Canto por México
In "Un Canto por México" Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Lafourcade delves into the heart of traditional Mexican music. These albums blend genres like Son Jarocho, mariachi, and bolero to create a truly authentic Mexican musical experience.
Lafourcade extended invitations to artists and groups from various regions of Mexico to partake in these albums. Beyond showcasing the musical diversity of the country, these collaborations represent an effort to preserve and revitalize its cultural heritage.
Part of the profits from these projects were put towards helping out the Son Jarocho Documentation Center. This place is all about preserving and promoting Son Jarocho, which is a traditional music style from Veracruz, Mexico. In September 2017, earthquakes hit the region and affected the Center, causing cracks in the main structure of the building and condemning it to demolition.
These albums are a genuine manifestation of her profound love and respect for Mexico's musical roots, and their influence extends far beyond the world of art, making a positive contribution to the nation's social and cultural well-being
Juntos por CDSJyoutu.be
Lafourcade's Resonant Influence
While Lafourcade explores more intimate and personal vibes in her latest album 'De Todas las Flores,' the heartbeat of Latin American sound still resonates powerfully in her music.
In a world where the latest trends often steal the spotlight from traditions, Lafourcade's work serves as a reminder that Latin American folklore isn't a thing of the past. It's a vibrant, ever-evolving treasure that plays a crucial role in understanding and embracing Latine identity.
Her impressive success not only celebrates the cultural heritage but also prompts us to think about the value of preserving Latin American musical traditions. These traditions aren't just historical relics; they're a living part of Latine culture and identity.