Calle 13 Reinvents Reggaeton

Earlier, I pointed to Wayne Marshall‘s remarkable history of reggaeton in the Boston Phoenix. I recently read the blog post that was the basis of the article:

Reggaeton will undoubtedly change as it continues to find adherents in various local contexts around the globe. being such a diffuse scene to begin with (san juan’s claim as capital notwithstanding), it would seem that reggaeton is poised to shift with its new circumstances. in spite of what some might perceive as rhythmic conservatism, it is reggaeton’s steady caribbean polyrhythm, in all its modern, digital splendor, that gives the new style such compelling coherence, such distinctive force. and it would seem only a matter of time before unremarkable synth textures and one-finger melodies are replaced by the vibrant strains of salsa samples, indian flutes, and whatever else one wants to fit into its solid template (making it an omnigenre on par with hip-hop and dancehall, and one based, yet again, on the creative re-use of well-worn materials)…

A listen to Calle 13’s “Atrevete-te” marks the transition Wayne was predicting by throwing together cumbia, a clarinet, some samba beats and lyrics that cut on cheesy rock (“Que importa si te gusta Green Day? Que importa si te gusta Coldplay?”) (I discovered the song thanks to public radio: WLUW‘s Dimension Latino.)


One thought on “Calle 13 Reinvents Reggaeton

  1. thanks for the link and for the kind words. i could certainly do worse than predict the emergence of a calle 13 (whose stuff i’ve definitely been digging of late–they’re like the MIA of reggaeton, innit). having listened to a lot of 90s reggaeton i’ve had the equally thrilling epiphany that reggaeton – before it was called that – was at one time totally riddled with samples, and in a rather distinctive way.

    mas aqui:

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