We may like or hate it, but this phenomenon is among us. And I’m not refering to Spanglish, but specifically to Reggaeton. The truth is that this musical style is strongly associated with not just one country’s or region’s culture, but throughout Latin America. Whether it “represents” us or not, or whether all Latin Americans feel its lyrics represent us or not, is up for debate. And, in fact, it’s already being debated.
The site Reggaeton in Cuba (which includes a dictionary of terms to help understand the lyrics) argues: “Reggaeton became, initially, well known in Panama and in particular in Puerto Rico. But its popularity moved rapidly to other countries such as the Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua and parts of Cuba. In recent times, it has surfaced in the United States, particularly in urban areas, like New York and Miami, that have large concentrations of Latinos. Currently, Reggaeton is known in almost all Hispanic countries, including, of course, Spain. There it entered the music market with great force, even fusing with flamenco. The tremendous popularity it has reached in Latin urban centers has prompted some to consider the possibility that this new genre will quickly replace Salsa or Merengue, among others. ”
The author of the blog Indie.cl argues that “Reggaeton is inevitable, uncontrollable, unstoppable and contagious. Its sound is expansive. It’s invading radios around the world and breaking down cultural barriers with its bold rhymes in Spanglish. Then she adds: “It increasingly surprises us by looking for novelty and variety, and delivers lyrics that are completely provocative, talkative and humorous, of undoubted Latin character.
Wikipedia defines it as: Reggaeton (also spelled repputón, and known as reguetón and reggaetón in Spanish) is a form of urban music that became popular with Latin American…Reggaeton blends West-Indian music influences of reggae and dancehall with those of Latin America, such as bomba, plena, salsa, merengue, latin pop, cumbia and bachata as well as that of hip hop, contemporary R&B, and electronica. However, reggaeton is also combined with rapping or singing in Spanish. Reggaeton lyrics tend to be more derived from hip hop than dancehall. Like hip hop, reggaeton has caused some controversy, albeit less, due to alleged exploitation of women, and to a lesser extent, explicit and violent lyrics.
In these examples we can see some of that:
I hang with Puerto Ricans and Haitian killers
And Cuban dope dealers and these here my niggaz
I ride for ‘em and goddam it, I’d die for ‘em (Melting Pot, Pitbull)
Ella quiere su Rumba (Como?)
Si e’ verdad que tu ere guapa,
Yo te voy a poner gozar
Tu tiene la boca grande
Dale ponte a jugar (Como) (Ella quiere su rumba, Pitbull)
maldito alcohol dulce tormento
que tu haces afuera ven pa dentro
mami yo te veo ahi con tus amigas
y todas tan bien ricas y fuera de liga
llama los bomberos que esto esta en candela
yo no quiero agua yo quiero bebida
yo no quiero agua yo quiero bebida (Maldito alcohol, Pitbull)
No puedo olvidar tus besos mojados
Y la forma en que tú y yo nos devoramos
Esa noche en mi cuarto
(Hee!) y la luna fue testigo
(Hee!) El calor de nuestros cuerpos encontrados
(Tú lo sabes ya!) (Besos mojados, Wisin y Yandel)
Las mujeres son malas!
algunas son malas!
uno bien hace las cosas
y uno viene y las paga…
Mejor qe no vuelva yo no la espero…
Preifero seguir bacilando soltero!
no es facil salir de una deprecion
soutbo traeme la botella completa
qe pa tomarla ai una formula secreta
sumala,fumala,alcohol i una discoteca
esa es la recetaa! (Dame un trago, Alexis y Fido)
There are also many people who don’t like the content of the lyrics in Reggaeton. Several websites, from different parts of Latin America, have comments like these:
“The reaggeton denigrates WOMEN, treats them as sexual objects and subordinates men to the fullest. And of course there’s a mega dose of sickly and ridiculous Latin machismo (…) ”
“To me regeton (…) I think it’s the saddest thing that human beings have made: I don’t like it at all, it’s repetative and, on top of it, guys think they’re cool because they’re close to’female figures’ who are hot; that is, they want what they don’t have and never will. “
“(…) something so insulting or abusive, even verbally, directed to a man or woman, doesn’t have my respect: I’m a musician, (…) and I’ve never gotten into this kind of music, by its lack of respect for poetry and music. ”
Even on Facebook you can join “L.A.C.E.R. (Latinos Together Against Reggaeton) and say (against, of course).
It’s easy to find a site to download audio and video files and lyrics, even in English translated into Spanish (although with many spelling mistakes), or other languages. While doing research for this article, I found clear examples of this striking mixture of English and Spanish, or the direct use of Spanglish in lyrics (copied unedited):
got it from my papi from his blood i would get it
hablo espanol yo quiere hablar ingles
mami ven que bien que tu ves
volteate (he he) volteate (he he)
you see i now distingue it
donas y kings that are more to you
Reggaeton Latino Remix Told You (Reggaeton Latino Remix, Don Omar)
I got my game from Jose
Antonio Armando Perez Torrez
Ese si era mi consorte
And I missed ya dad (Be Quiet, Pitbull)
Mami ven aqui, I wanna be your
papi chulo can’t you see? (mi amor)
Baby I need you conmigo
Your style is my steelo te necesito aqui
(te necesito yo a ti, te amo)
Baby come to me (Señorita, Puff Daddy)
What? What? What? What?
Es un come y vete
What? What? What? What?
Es un come y vete
No es que yo soy mujeriego
Es que este juego es asi
GirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrL (Como y vete, Daddy Yanqui)
As they say in the Cuban site, “You can say that Reggaeton is ‘fashionable’.” Someone in a forum said: “I believe that Reggaeton is a good musical style and that it makes many people, who have limited resources and live in poor areas throughout Latin America, happy. I like becuase it represents us as Latinos in the European countries and North America.” It’s one opinion.
Source: Spanglish en el Reggaeton