For a genre that’s existed for thirty years, reggaeton is undergoing massive changes to its sound. The genre, a fusion of hip-hop, dancehall, and Caribbean and Latin music has been a staple in Latin America since the 1990s: artists like Daddy Yankee, Ivy Queen, and, more recently, Bad Bunny and J Balvin have all been catapulted into the global charts. But post-pandemic, a new, electronic side of reggaeton has started to emerge, allowing the genre to push at its limits. This new ‘electro-reggaeton’ uses elements of hyperpop, UK electronica, and Latin experimental music to give itself a new edge. This new offshoot has allowed reggaeton to expand, serving as a mode of expression for new people and communities that had less of a voice before, while keeping the central elements of the genre – like the dembow beat – at its core.
Reggaeton and Hyperpop
Reggaeton’s recent fusion with hyperpop has opened it to many new voices and experiences, particularly in the form of female and queer artists. Take KLK from Arca’s KiCk Ifor example, where Arca and ROSALÍA take turns reveling in their femininity, and for Arca, a non-binary trans woman, her queerness. Arca’s mashing of Latin music, particularly her combination of Venezuelan folk sounds with electrified reggaeton beats, is at once fun and meaningful to her identity, a true demonstration of electro-reggaeton’s newfound power. Ravetonby Sassyggirl is another such song, where an insane night out becomes so intense that Sassyggirl starts “bleeding lightening and crying diamonds”. Through the song, Sassyggirl conveys the power of her sexuality, making it her own, creating an electro-reggaeton banger capable of lighting up even the blackest night.
Electro-reggaeton’s influence has propelled it beyond the Latin world, bringing the genre newfound popularity abroad, particularly in Europe. In Lyna Mahyem’s poppy Plan B, Lyna and Franglish trade bars in French about committing to each other and not having a ‘plan b’ in their relationship. Another French artist, COUCOU CHLOE, sings in English over Sweden-based producer Dinamarca’s Campana, a decidedly darker and more mysterious (but no less infectious) hyperpop/reggaeton mashup. Even artists farther East, like Berlin-based Catnapp, are getting in on the action: just give a listen to Give it Back.
Some artists have gone a step further than electro-pop reggaeton, delving into the truly experimental possibilities of the genre. WRACK’s twitchy Espada 刀and Syntrovert’s jumpy-but-symphonic Cuarzo are perfect examples of the creative heights reggaeton can reach when combined with experimental electronic music. Already established electronic musicians like DJ Python are even getting on the act; Python’s collaboration Sangre Nueva has already released an EP of songs like Sola, all centered around the dembow beat.
Reggaeton’s expansion into the realm of electronic music has been an amazing development for the genre, bringing new life into an already vibrant music culture. From the looks of it, we’re only at the start of this new electro-reggaeton explosion – an exciting prospect. After all, with the possibilities so vast, who knows where reggaeton will go next?
To hear more great electro-reggaeton tracks, tune into Blisspop’s electronic reggaeton playlist below!