A Gringo’s Guide to Reggaeton Music

If you’re traveling to Latin America for the first time, you’ll quickly realize hip-hop and pop music from the United States just isn’t that popular here. Reggaeton music is king.

For gringos like me, this is a great thing. Reggaeton music has an urban rhythm that’s somewhat similar to hip-hop from back home. This is especially true of the stuff coming out of Puerto Rico.

Some gringos hate it, but most don’t mind dancing a little “perreando” with a cute Latina as reggaeton music blasts in the club. It’s a pretty good time.

Hell, from what I’ve seen, Reggaeton is about all us gringos can dance. Salsa and bachata just aren’t a strong suit. Something about the hips, although ya boy has been known to kill some champeta from time to time.

Not Reggae

Now, before we get going, let’s get one thing straight. Reggaeton music isn’t reggae music.

Reggaeton music isn’t made to smoke blunts on the beach while rocking back and forth next to some white dude with dreadlocks who looks like he hasn’t taken a shower in at least a few week.

Nahhhhh. Reggaeton is a whole different genre. It’s Spanish. It’s urban. It’s fast paced. You listen to reggaeton when you want to party. You listen to reggaeton when you want to dance. Reggaeton music is tailor-made for grinding.

What is Reggaeton Music?

By definition, reggaeton is:

“a form of dance music of Puerto Rican origin, characterized by a fusion of Latin rhythms, dancehall, and hip-hop or rap.” (source)

A Gringo’s Guide to Reggaeton Music

Now, I’m no musical genius. No expert here. Just a gringo who has spent way to much time grinding to reggaeton music in clubs throughout Latin America.

You May Know These

So let’s dive in. Here are some classic reggaeton songs that many a gringo will be somewhat familiar with:

Old School Reggaeton

Now, let’s check out some reggaeton music that’s considered classics. Here are a few famous songs:

Recent Reggaeton Classics

Reggaeton music has recently enjoyed a huge spike in popularity. Certain songs quickly became worldwide sensations, including these now classics:

What Reggaeton Songs Are Popular Now?

Outside of some surefire classics, there are a few other reggaeton songs that are popular now. Here are a few of my favorites that many a gringo loves:

Hot Shit

And now we get to some hot shit. What reggaeton songs are banging in the club right now? Well, here are a few of my favorites:

Reggaeton Songs, Music, and Gringos

If you’re a gringo traveling to Latin America, you’re going to encounter reggaeton music. And you better learn to love it because it’s a hell of a lot better than salsa music when you want to party.

This gringo is a huge fan, and the songs above will give you a nice introduction to the genre. Just make sure to control yourself the next time you’re on the dancefloor making an attempt to “perreando” with some cutie 😉

P.S: Learn a little Spanish and you’ll be able to understand the music!
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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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TradeGrind - May 22, 2017

Is “gringo” derogatory/offensive in Colombia?

    NomadicJake - May 23, 2017

    Not really. I haven’t had an issue with it. I guess it could be taken in a derogatory manner in certain context, but I use it kind of like others use the “N” word in the states.

hitop hitiop - June 15, 2017

reggaetone? give me a break. back in the late 80s early 90s there was no reggaeton just real jamaican reggae period us black americans danced to in house partys and certain all black basement clubs in downtown venues. that reggaetone bs didn’t even start to about 2000? i think. none original, all just knock offs from something jamaicans and black americans have been getting down to before its was cool and commercial. i seriously do not recall hearing reggaeton in latin clubs back in the day. it used to looked at as trashy or ghetto to listen to it, just like having afros or braids were laughed at by non blacks. but now??? the music, hair styles, cloths…all is cool and hip and made to appear original. all those fake ass wanna be black american latins. i just look when i see it because the generation dancing to it really feels its original.

    NomadicJake - June 15, 2017

    El OH EL

    What are you talking about?! You sound like that old dude yelling at kids to get off his lawn 😉

    It seems the actual origins of reggaeton are disputed, but most agreed the first popular tracks came from Puerto Rico in the early 90s.

    The rhythms seems to hail from Jamaica, but from dancehall and dembow music. Not old-school reggae, although I’m no expert on reggae sounds.

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