Reggae and reggaeton, same or different?

Feb 3, 2020


Some years ago a new type of music, that for many people cannot be called “music”, has flooded the music market. Reggaeton, is today the preferred genre and is heard by most of young people.

It likewise tends to be confused with the reggae, who sounded in the mouth of very famous Bob Marley. But the two differ, although they are closely linked.

Reggae was born in the 60s in Jamaica with a great influence of traditional African music, American jazz and rhythm and blues (history of rock and roll). This influence led from ska to rocksteady and then reggae. Characterized rhythmically by the off-beat, known as the skank type of stress.

The change rocksteady to reggae is illustrated by the use of the organ shuffle, pioneered by the musician Byron Lee and not by Bob Marley, as we think. Marley was a member of the band The Wailers, that could have been the most popular group that made the transition in three stages: ska, rocksteady and reggae Jamaican music. Other champions of gender were Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker and Jackie Mittoo.

Reggaeton meanwhile, has it sound derived from Jamaican reggae with a strong influence of hip hop. His origin could be stablished in Panama in the 70s and was named Reggae in Spanish using even the same tools and the same voice melodies with respect to reggae, only changing the lyrics. By the 90s, reggaeton comes to Puerto Rico with a base of rap, with different compositions and lyrics. It was then customary, rapping the lyrics of the songs instead of singing. Puerto Rico became the main protagonist. An essential element in this genre is the Disc Jockey (DJ), is the one who mixes the music.

The rhythm that characterizes reggaeton is known as Dem Bow and was first produced by DJs dancehall Jamaican Steely & Clevie to early 1990. Some of the best known performers were Gringo Original, El General, Nando Boom, Pocho Pan, Killer Ranks, and current Ivy Queen, Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderon, Vico C, the latter a phenomenon within the genre.

Llamado de Emergencia. (Daddy Yankee)

In the beginning, the letters were complaints focused on social issues, however, later on it prioritized topics related to sex. Perhaps this is the element that leads to becoming a genre poorly accepted by many and even degrading the category of “music”.

However, reggaeton has become a cultural expression of Latino youth. After entering the United States on the 2000s it has acted as resistance to musical genres like pop and rock, very present in the American music market. This kind hugged artists from different backgrounds.

To be continued…

It has denounced all kinds of social situations: migration issues and racial discrimination are recurring in many letters, especially the more contemporary artists. Rescue these approaches advocate and not fall into banal subjects, it is a judgment that must be maintained to avoid being branded as “uneducated music”, and more to keep the legacy left by his ancestor: the reggae.


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