Just give it a try: at any time of the day, move your radio dial and you’ll sure find at least one Latin American radio station playing the unmistakable rhythm of reggaeton. The musicians can be either from Puerto Rico, Venezuela or Cuban. There are several common aspects among them, although the differences are huge too, not only in terms of the accent, but also the lyrics.
In Cuba, reggaeton is a musical phenomenon that gained momentum over 15 years ago; although national record companies think twice before including a representative of this genre in their catalog. Rhythms lacking of originality and lyrics characterized by explicit sexual content have brought about a low number professional productions; nevertheless, in a context where the Cuban people has found alternative ways to share information –especially by means of the so-called “package”- reggaeton have decided to independently record and distribute their albums. That’s how they put their music on the street, it’s played and danced in both private and State-run bars, public parties and youngsters usually sing their most risqué choruses.
Who are the most popular reggaeton singers in Cuba? PanamericanWorld has gathered ten of then on a list, since they already have an international scope.
GENTE D´ZONA AND ITS LA GOZADERA
Thanks to “Bailando”, performed with Enrique Iglesias, back in 2014 Gente D´Zona became the most visible face of Cuban music in the international market. They won three Latin Grammies with this song (Best Urban Performance, Best Urban Song and Song of the Year). Nowadays, Alexander Delgado and Randy Marco are internationally famous and their latest album, “Visualízate”, includes songs with such stars as Mark Anthony – who accompanied them in two “La Gozadera” and “Traidora” – Chino y Nacho and J. Alvarez.
JACOB FOREVER UNTIL THE SEAFRONT IS DRY
This artist became famous as a member of Gente D´Zona, along with DJ and producer Nando Pro. After nine years, internal divergences made Jacob and Nando decide to stop working with Alexander Delgado and develop their solo career. Jacob recorded “Más duro” and “Son muchas cosas”, but nothing compares to “Invicto”, which includes “Hasta que se seque el Malecón”, a song that increased his popularity. The executives of Sony Music hired him to produce three albums. That’s how the “Immortal”, as he calls himself, stood out as the first Cuban reggaeton singer to work with one of the top three record companies of the world.
“Ay mi Dios!”, together with Yandel and Pitbull, gave Cuban Ramon Lavado, “Chacal”, the opportunity to perform on big stages; although this reggaeton singer had been championing this musical genre for over ten years. With was in a duo with Baby Lores, as part of Clan 537, and he later joined Yakarta, so they put out such hits as “Besito con lengua” and “El Tubazo”. In his solo career, besides “Ay mi Dios!”, he recorded “My Moonshine” with Akon.
OSMANI GARCIA: THE VOICE BEHIND CHUPI CHUPI
His double-meaning lyrics with plenty of catchy rhythms helped this artist, who labels himself as “The Voice”, be heard throughout Latin America. He launched his solo project in Cuba back in 2008 and got his fame with “Chupi Chupi”, which turned out to be a polemic video clip; but “El Taxi” has undoubtedly been his biggest hit.
YOMIL & EL DANY: ASKING FOR THE LAST PERSON IN LINE AND GOING BEHIND
Yomil and El Dany’s singer reggaeton project is probably the most popular in Cuba at the moment. Their music is shared from pendrive to pendrive and, although they are not present on radio and TV, their concerts and independent productions are usually shared by their fans. Yomil was a member of another important reggaeton singer project, “Los 4”. Afterwards, he joined “El Dani” and they have recorded several albums, including “Sobredosis”.
Michael Fernando Sierra, known as “El Micha”, didn’t study music; however, his lyrics, singular voice and stage control have put him on the map, not only in Cuba, but also overseas.
LOS 4 SALVAJES OF CUBAN MUSIC
This is one of the most popular reggaeton bands in Cuba. Directed by Jorge Junior, the band’s music blends different rhythms. They play reggaeton, but they mix it with conga drum and autochthonous elements.
BABY LORES: THE TRANSFORMATION OF A REGGAETON SINGER
Yoandys Lores is perhaps one of the most multifaceted musicians in the Cuban reggaeton movement. He plays four instruments and writes his own songs. Along with “El Insurrecto”, as a member of Clan 537, he was very successful on Cuban radio stations with songs like “La Caperucita” and “La mujer del pelotero”. The relation with “El Insurrecto” didn’t finish in the best way, so Lores joined Chacal. He later developed his solo project and surprised everybody with his album entitled “180 grados”, which offered a different style with acoustic sounds and pop rock, but he later returned to urban music with “13 palos”.
CERRO CERRADO FOR EL INSURRECTO
Leandro Medina, “El Insurrecto”, achieved fame back in 2005, along with Lores and Clan 537. In the late 2008 he launched his solo career and, in 2010, he recorded his hit entitled: “Cerro Cerrado”, which sheds light on the complex life in the outlying areas of Havana. He has recorded more albums and joined Lores on stage.
PATRY WHITE: THE “DICTATOR” OF CUBAN REGGAETON
In a scenario where men prevail, Patry White has gained momentum thanks to her talent and she presently stands out as the female leader of the urban music movement in Cuba.
“Lista” was her first album and in her second production, “La reina del party”, she shared songs with Insurrecto, El Micha, Chacal and Osmani Garcia