THE ERA OF REGGAETON
The beginning of the 1980s, when disco music was dismissed as the music gender that was to identify the decade of the 1970s, was a moment in which appeared a broad buffet of music and groups; without a doubt one of the best times for many. During these years, the successes arrived on the radio to a society eager to discover new music in English or Spanish. Regardless of the language, this generation grew up with songs that would mark new concepts and experiences.
In the 1990s, the rock era was welcomed. In those years, everyone was a rocker, and in the streets, parties, and schools, rock was heard as a religion. Music came from all over the world thanks to programs like MTV and others. It was at the beginning of the 1990s when the first signs of reggaeton appeared, but a society thirsty for new and quality music rejected the first interpreters of this genre that had been born in Panama, although it was in Puerto Rico where it was given the name of battery.
Finally, the 1990s went by, marking the era as a rock decade. The year 2000 came with the curiosity to know what genre was going to be dominant and what genre would mark the new generations waiting to see a new musical millennium. It began to be observed that the artists took up the songs and fashions of past decades—you could dress in the style of the 1970s or the 1980s and nothing happened. The music also embraced the retro. It was there that reggaeton reappeared, but with more exponents and more strength. Daddy Yanqui and others wanted to take over the 2000s as if it were theirs. Suddenly came 2010, with a host of artists landed from Puerto Rico and other countries—the radio, the television, and the internet wenr crazy with the lyrics that spoke of intense perreo. The young people began to identify with the theme and the music that got into their heads from one reggaeton song after another. It happened again and again, and the record industry bet more on the music genre. The problem was no longer finding where the money was, but how to discover talents. The rock, ballad, romantic, pop, etc. artists of the moment did not fit into the great commercial monster of reggaeton. It was when the first balladeers emerged.
Shakira and Alejandro Sanz decided to take the boat to the unknown when the other artists began to turn to new musical genres. The big record companies did not hesitate to give them the resources for their next albums—the entrepreneurs knew that recording artists already positioned in the musical field would be a sure success. The celebrities stopped believing in what they had fought so hard for before in order to join the reggaeton ranks. Just as how in every army there are fallen soldiers, so it goes in music. After all, artists had to take risks in order to survive in the music industry. Many did not make it. As expected, a large number of people agreed, and others disagreed. Those who listened to it defended it with claws and teeth, while those who did not, dismissed the lyrics as misogynistic and their cloying issues as provocatively sexual. The whole world was already dominated: runways, commercials, streets, schools, even political campaigns, children's parties, and other special events. Reggaeton was omnipresent. Each day, more artists joined in singing, among them undecided troubadours who wanted to grab some fame and who continued to garner success in their own genres. Maluma, Justin Bieber, and Luis Fonsi, among others, were at the top of these lists.
In Puerto Rico, the headquarters of reggaeton, the musical genre was consuming every artist that came from that talented country. However, the forecasts are not very encouraging for reggaeton. Many say that the end of this decade will lead to a new leading musical genre—perhaps country, perhaps rock. Nobody will know until that day comes. Meanwhile, we will continue to enjoy the musical diversity that this world has prepared for us. Generations come and go, but music lives in the here and now.
by: Jaime Ruesga