You can't keep yourself from bobbing your head when you hear a great reggaeton hit. Puerto Rico's funky, bluntly erotic, pounding, and helplessly addicting music is truly an international phenomenon that reaches far from its small island in the Caribbean. This rap fusion music genre, tinged with hip-hop and often confused with reggae, was born in clubs in San Juan in 1991, and it took off from there, rising to fame in the 2000s and topping Latin, Rap, and Billboard music charts by 2006. It is most often rapped in Spanish, although sometimes it is sung. Reggaeton is especially popular in Latin America and among Latinos in the United States, and this genre exudes references to the Latino identity.
It's no surprise that the best reggaeton artists on the planet all come from their Boricua home base. And here are the best of the best of this genre.
The daddy of reggaeton, Daddy Yankee has gone from Latin Grammy Award-winning, superstar icon of the music he helped catapult around the world to an empire. The San Juan native, also known as Ramon "Raymond" Luis Ayala Rodriguez, has his own cologne, shoes, and clothing line courtesy of Reebok. If you've never heard "Gasolina," "Rompe," "Lo Que Paso, Paso" or another of his smash hits, you haven't heard the best of reggaeton. He's as good an introduction as you can find.
Wisin & Yandel
Wisin & Yandel is the stage name of Llandel Veguilla Malave Salazar (Yandel) and Juan Luis Morera Luna (Wisin). The 'Rican natives exploded onto the reggaeton scene in 2000 and have been a force ever since. Their best-known tracks include "Llame Pa' Verte (Bailando Sexy)," "Síguelo," and "Pam Pam," and they've collaborated with mega-stars like Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, and 50 Cent, to name just a few.
Don Omar's "The Last Don" went platinum and sold over 1 million copies worldwide. His debut hit, “Dale Don Dale,” sold over a half million copies. And along the way, he's amassed an impressive collection of awards. He's also an artist that likes to venture out of traditional reggaeton norms. Check out "Taboo," which samples the once hugely popular "Lambada," or "iDon," an album that fuses pop, sci-fi, and, of course, reggaeton.
Tito el Bambino
Originally part of a duo called Hector and Tito, Tito el Bambino went solo in 2006. It proved a good move for him. His 2009 album, "El Patron," features solid hits like "El Amor" and "Mi Cama Huele a Ti," which means "my bed smells of you"; this is an example of the bluntly erotic lyrics and narratives of this genre.
Zion y Lennox
Zion y Lennox's first album, "Motivando a la Yal," was launched in 2004 and was a smash success thanks to hits like "Doncella," "Bandida," and "Yo Voy," the last one featuring Daddy Yankee. In 2010, they released their third album, "Los Verdaderos."