The Biebs is going away so why can’t this song? It’s reached such a level of ubiquity that we — the Latinx community — have completely moved on from it, especially after the severely misguided pop star openly mocked the culture he was jacking from in a video that went viral. Or perhaps it was that time that Spotify slapped us across the face when they dubbed Bieber “the new Latin King.” Anyway, the point is we’re so over it, so why can’t you be?
Look, it’s fine if you like “Despacito,” the millennial “Macarena.” It’s bland, but it’s fine. You like what you like, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If “Despacito” was one of your first tastes of Latinx music — hard to imagine, given that this country is 19 percent Latinx and the internet has put the whole world in your pocket, but I digress — and you like what you’ve heard, then maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all. But don’t let that be the only music you seek out.
Right now, the Latinx music community is going through some really interesting periods that have been producing a lot of great music, and you should be listening to it. Which brings me to what’s about to happen. If you feel are feeling more adventurous but don’t know where to start, give these tracks a listen. You’ll thank me later.
“Escapate Conmigo (Remix)”- Wisin, featuring Ozuna, Bad Bunny, De La Ghetto, Arcángel, Noriel, and Almighty
How do you top a song that’s got more than 450 million views on Youtube? You invite some of the hottest acts in Latin urban for the remix. Seriously, this mating ritual of a track is a veritable who’s who of the genre. OG reggaetonero Wisin has shown that he’s not only capable of putting out bangers as a solo artist — he and longtime collaborator Yandel took a pause back in 2013 — but that he’s willing to incorporate’ newer trends like Latin trap into his own sound.
“Soy Peor (Remix)”- Bad Bunny, featuring J Balvin, Ozuna, and Arcángel
Speaking of Latin trap, arguably the biggest name in the game right now is Bad Bunny. That’s impressive feat when you take into account the fact that the Puerto Rican rapper hasn’t even announced a debut album. The former Soundcloud rapper built his base by guest versing on other people’s work (see the previous song) and winning their fans over. It’s a strategy that has paid off. As of this writing, Bad Bunny’s five Youtube videos have amassed more than 478 million views on YouTube, which is crazy because four of them (included the one above) are versions of the same song!
“Duele” — Bomba Estereo
Any time Colombia’s Bomba Estereo puts out new music is cause for celebration. “Duele” is the first song the electrocumbia visionaries have put out since releasing Amanecer in 2015. That psychedelic sound you hear is the flauta de millo, a wind instrument native to Colombia that allegedly blew Brian Eno’s mind when Simon Mejia, a mentee of his and the man most responsible for Bomba Estereo’s sound, showed it to him.
“CEO” — Kap G, featuring Kapfe
Kap G is the future. The Mexican-American rapper from Atlanta was recently included in XXL‘s Freshman Class of 2017, a huge boost of legitimacy for any up-and-comer. In his short career, he’s already worked with Pharrell Williams, Young Thug, and Chris Brown. In his latest, released on Monday, Kap G lays out his future plans, claiming that he’s “a CEO in the making.” I believe him.
“Imitadora” — Romeo Santos
Romeo Santos has the hottest album in Latin music right now. Golden, released on July 21, is the king of bachata’s third studio album, and it’s already a classic. There’s a lot of reasons to love Romeo Santos, but my personal favorite is his take on why he doesn’t see the need to crossover. Here’s what he told Rolling Stone:
There’s a misconception in my opinion –- but I think that it’s fading away because of the success of “Despacito,” which I’m so glad — and it’s that we Latinos have to go do an American album, an English album, an Anglo production to cross over. I sold out two Yankee stadiums and all of my hits are in Spanish, and they’re bachata. That’s a sign that you don’t have to do that, [assimilate]. The No. 1 song in the world is a reggaetón called “Despacito” and that’s beautiful.
No, YOU’RE beautiful, Romeo. “Despacito” is still trash though.
“Come Be Me” — Helado Negro
If you’ve listened to S-Town, the popular podcast, then you’ve heard of Helado Negro. Helado Negro, the stage name of Roberto Carlos Lange, has been making some of the most beautiful and dreamlike music out there. His 2016 album, Private Energy, reaches into your heart and just hugs all the pain and hurt away. “Come By Me,” his latest, was recently selected as an Adult Swim Single.