Despite its popularity, reggaeton is probably most abused and controversial contemporary music genre. While these criticisms can be justified in light of a repertoire that tends to overtly objectify women, it is also true that many of these attacks come from an industry where prejudice abounds. Mainly those related to the Latin origin of this music, down to the use of non-normative varieties of Spanish mixed with neighboring slang. British or the use of repetitive structures in other musical genres such as rock or blues, which is forgiven but severely criticized in this particular case. On the other hand, it doesn’t help reggaeton’s good press that this is a genre of music that has been operating on the fringes of a music industry that has long been in the hands of American companies.
The Argentine journalist tried to give meaning to this debate, which was dominated by the flaming emotions of fans and detractors. pablito wilson just released reggaeton latin revolution (Liburuk, 2022), An essay, not limited to reggaeton, full of notes, playlists and references extending to different areas of pop culture. “I won’t deny that there is a marketing component in the book. You have to sell copies, and reggaeton is a good argument for that, but my work talks about a lot of other things, things that otherwise no one could give me the microphone front,” comments Wilson in a later interview. explains its aspects with simplicity, modesty, and a much-appreciated absence of dogmatism.
Q. Could you briefly explain what Reggaeton is?
A. For me, it’s a Puerto Rican genre of music that has its roots in Panama, Jamaica, and even Africa, but like almost all contemporary music genres. What we call reggaeton today was born with movement underground Puerto Rican from the 90s. It’s already possible to find things out there that sound like reggaeton, or that aren’t very similar to the music we know now, that are just part of that scene that started popping up in the early 2000s. With Tego Calderón, the artist whom Puerto Ricans accept and follow as a big supporter of reggaeton Gasoline By Daddy Yankee, which marks the first milestone in this musical genre.
P. Historically, Puerto Rico and Panama have contested the authorship of reggaeton. Why do you go for the first? Is it because, as you commented in the book, Panama doesn’t have the support of the US music industry?
A. In addition to the influence of the United States, my decision had to do with Panama’s mention of “reggae in Panamanian Spanish.” Personally, I find it difficult to think of reggae in Spanish as an independent genre. Despite the lack of valuation and respect for their work as pioneers, there seems to be a similar formation scene to Puerto Rico in the 90s, but not that kind of music, but, simply, another way of doing it. dance hall Jamaica.
Q. Is there a connection that unites reggaeton with the Latin music tradition such as salsa, merengue, son, bachata, cumbia… or is it an original and new genre?
R. I don’t think there is anything original and new today. We can’t even say that with rock. All the music of the Caribbean is connected in some way, such that reggaeton musicians and salseros hug and greet each other even if they don’t know each other, because they come from similar realities. In my case, I’m a big Trinidad and Tobago soka fan, and current Trinidadian street performers’ productions also have a lot in common with reggaeton.
Q. By the way, what would be true? Reggaeton, reggaeton or reggaeton recognized by the RAE? You choose the third syllable that makes Víctor Lenore ugly in the preface to the book, because according to him the movement is so distinctly Latin that the name also needs to be Spanishised.
It’s very good that R. Lenore contradicts me with a super valid argument in the preface, which allows me to spend time arguing it. Frankly, I don’t have the final word, but when I chose “reggaetón,” I did it according to Puerto Ricans who write reggaetón, but without the tilde. I do, but if they later say that the tilde isn’t working, they have the last word. I think I just opened the discussion and took my position that no one else should have.
P. Another of your theories collected in the book, back then, source, tango or blues were criticized for both the macho and violence of their lyrics and the slickness of their dance or the attitude of their performers on stage. Why is there so much resentment at Reggaeton?
R. While it is true that there have been artists who have become parents and practice reggaeton in recent years mainstream Slightly whitewashed, seven and eight year olds still listen to super porn hits that were released four or five years ago. In that sense, I think some things need to be arranged, but not because it’s reggaeton, as with any other music with such explicit lyrics. Although it was tried that the radios could only play some songs at ten o’clock at night, no results were obtained. Therefore, it is hypocrisy to blame artists now for something that the people they were supposed to do at the time couldn’t figure out. If we want to solve this, we need to have a much more serious discussion as a society.
P. Until now, the solutions were the usual solutions to these types of issues: promote ban, as Puerto Rican senator Velda González did in 2002.
R. And this was the second time. The first banning attempt was in the mid-1990s. The solution I propose is a book. In other words, provide the information so that we can discuss it as seriously as possible and with all the elements available. I don’t intend to justify the unjust, but if we’re going to condemn machismo, let’s do it in all musical genres, not just reggaeton, because that also happens in ballads, salsa, rock, or any other genre. musical.
P. Although you often describe it as sexist, your book now explains that it’s already feminist and even lesbian reggaeton.
R. Lesbian reggaeton was born when Chocolate Remix came to prominence as a feminist and lesbian group. I fell in love with this project because it involves building a new message through masterful lyrics written by Romina Bernardo, who was so brilliant and hit so hard because they told her it was not forms, it sexualized the body. … Coincidentally, a few years ago, before Guaynaa sang her song Rebota at a concert, when she said, “I’m going to ask women for permission to sexualize their bodies,” people reacted well and then sang the song. This is very symbolic because we must be aware that we always run the risk of saying something inappropriate, either because we are wrong or because the other person has misunderstood. Therefore, the best we can do as human beings is to always keep our eyes and ears open to see how we can improve. If you make a mistake later, you apologize.
Despite the cultural and economic importance of P. Reggaeton, its artists appear to be self-conscious of criticism or need recognition from the knowledgeable music industry, for example, by releasing recordings with reggaeton. Symphony orchestra. Don’t you miss a punk-like attitude where virtuosity, audience scandal, or media complaints don’t matter?
R. Could be, but punk, at least middle class, is somewhat “progressive” if we compare it to reggaeton. Reggaetonists are very right-wing, very conservative in their way of thinking. Many people believe that Residente is a socialist, and I totally disagree. As for the symphony orchestra, the idea came not even from Don Omar, but from Ender Vega, the director of Tego Calderón, and one of Puerto Rich’s most important rock bands, Fiel a la Vega. He repeated the orchestral work with Don Omar as he worked with Fiel a la Vega. In the end, the idea to mix symphonic and reggaeton came from rock, not even the genre itself.
P. Finally, how do you think reggaeton will develop in the future?
R. Fifty years from now, it’s hard for a reggaeton artist to be big. Not because of Reggaeton itself, but because of how fast everything is going right now. Argentine broadcaster Mario Pergolini says it’s absurd to think about the importance of someone five years from now. Despite this, there are artists who have created a very solid image. Maluma, for example, revived his image with his concert in Medellin and his success in taking Madonna there. Even those who have been so ungrateful to him in the past will ask, “How did we not realize that we have such a complete artist here?” they said. I think it’s time for Maluma to record an MTV Unplugged. It would be incredible, and he’s one of the best artists to do it.