Reggaeton is a subgenre of Latin music that has influences from dancehall, hip-hop, Latin American, and Caribbean music. Like the Dominican Republic’s dembow style, reggaeton’s rhythm is based on the dem bow dancehall riddim, which was made famous by Shabba Ranks‘ 1991 anthem, “Dem Bow.”

Though reggaeton traces its roots to Panama in the ’80s, the genre was developed in Puerto Rico in the ’90s by pioneers such as DJ Nelson and DJ Playero.

In the 2000s, artists like Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Tego Calderón helped popularize reggaeton in the mainland US and beyond with several crossover hits. Many fans outside of Puerto Rica discovered the genre during this era.

However, it wasn’t until the late 2010s that reggaeton consistently crossed over into the mainstream. Hits like Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee‘s “Despacito” and J Balvin and Willy William‘s “Mi Gente” are credited for establishing the genre as a fixture in global pop music. Reggaeton has continued to expand its influence in recent years, with stars like Bad Bunny, Karol G, and Ozuna evolving the sound and introducing it to a new generation.

Discover the classic reggaeton anthems below. (View the entire playlist here.)

Discover more subgenres in our Subgenre Spotlight series.

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