Reggaeton spreads new beats

Reggaeton spreads new beats

By Alex Pauline

Jamaican reggae dance and urban American rap combined with Spanish bomba to create the hot new trend of reggaeton music, spreading throughout clubs in Boston and across the country.

“I’m happy that reggaeton has gotten so big,” said Yamilet Rodriguez, a freshman sociology major. “Everyone should share in this wonderful genre.”

Reggaeton may be a new import for American youth but has been around since the mid-1990s in the Caribbean world, said Emmett Price, an assistant professor of music at Northeastern.

What sets reggaeton apart from traditional reggae music and hip-hop is the Dembow beat, a rhythmic tap-tap inspired by Jamaican-born reggae artist Shabba Ranks.

Boston-area dance clubs like Mojitos and the Milky Way have Latin nights where they cater to the growing fans who go out to hear this new sound.

“We integrated [reggaeton] into our Saturday night Latin night,” said Miranda Webster, party and reservation manager at the Milky Way Lounge. “But since we have such authentic clientele, the demand has been there for a while.”

Clubs like the Milky Way around Boston are places where a reggaeton fan like Rodriguez can indulge in their passion.

“I love reggaeton because it’s hip-hop, but it’s Spanish so it’s your culture,” she said.

Jessica Faccuse, a sophomore architecture major said although she has never been to the Tremont Street club, Mojitos, she has heard great reviews.

“My sisters and I go to the clubs almost every weekend but when I can’t go they hit up Mojitos which has reggaeton nights on Fridays, but it is 21-plus,” she said.

The music also has a special place in Faccuse’s heart.

“Being an international student from Honduras I love to hear Latin music being played because it reminds me of being home when I can’t be,” she said.

However, Andrea Gonzalez, a sophomore marketing major, said the music is not that cultural.

“I think it is good to dance to but not to listen,” she said.

Although it may be gaining popularity for its upbeat beats dance the music is also known for being sexually explicit.

“The dance Perrero is part of the anti-establishment movement of Latino youth,” Price said. “In Puerto Rico there was even an attempt to ban the dance because it means ‘Doggy Style.'”

Price also said reggaeton shows how the heightening of youth culture can be achieved through youth rebellion.

“When the parents say ‘stop cussing’ they cuss even louder, when they try to ban dancing they dance even more sexually,” he said. “Reggaeton is not only a form of rebellion, but a form of expression, of aggression, as well.”

Plus, reggaeton has given Hispanic and Latino youths a way to see themselves represented more in the music scene.

“I hear it all the time,” said Jonathan Herandez, middler marketing and management major and LASO treasurer. “I see it on BET and MTV and other cultures are getting into it too. It is a unique style.”

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