Despacito Remix Ft Justin Bieber Shows The Americanization Of Success

Hit songs tend to linger in our cultural conversations and Luis Fonsi’s and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito is no exception. This week a remix was dropped featuring Justin Bieber and it has taken over all the latin music news. I tried my best to avoid writing about it, yet here we are.

The song has had incredible success, having the biggest YouTube debut of the year so far and being the first latin song in 18 years to reach the top 5 in the U.S. iTunes chart. Many fans have expressed their immense support for the track, namely Bieber fans who seem to have been deprived as he hasn’t released an album since 2015. Others have commended him for singing in Spanish instead of throwing around a few words.

Still, the reception hasn’t been completely positive.

justin dios nos odia

“if a god exists now we know that they hate us”

pr no te ama justin

“I don’t love you but if it’s what you wanna hear that’s what Imma tell you – Anuel AA” answering to “PUERTO RICO LOVES YOU JUSTIN BIEBER”

Some have even poked fun at the Bieber fans coming out of the woodwork to recognize an already incredibly popular song:

justin stans

despacito 90%

I’m not a fan of the remix myself. It’s fine until the trainwreck of the chorus. Still, there’s something bigger to be discussed here. This white boy is achieving massive success by piggybacking off two Puerto Rican artists’ work. He’s receiving praise and being fawned over for singing in mediocre Spanish when everyday people are harassed for their broken English.

I don’t know if this hit is indicative of what’s to come not only for urban latin music but latin music in general. If this success will prompt artists to incorporate more English and English-speaking artists into their tracks to achieve U.S. Success. Because that seems to be the benchmark, success all around the world is meaningless if you don’t make it in America.

Listen to the track below and share your thoughts.

 

Gasolina Remix Rumors Spark Disappointment

Daddy Yankee is probably one of the best-known reggaeton artists in the world. If you can’t recognize his name you, at the very least, must have heard his international hit Gasolina.

This song changed the game. It paved the way for reggaeton to enter the mainstream. It’s the song that makes everyone go wild at parties as it’s the ultimate classic. It’s a unifying song that most people have some relationship too.

So when someone put up artwork about a (most likely fake) Gasolina Remix yesterday, people had opinions. The joke comes from the recent trend of a lot of songs, mostly trap songs, having a remix version with more artists. This one features DY, of course, Yandel, Nicky Jam, Cosculluela and J Balvin.

gasolina remix

Tweets are mostly negative, people saying that the remix is unneeded.

“Gasolina Remix, now they really ran out of ideas”

“If they make a Gasolina remix Imma tell god to move PR [Puerto Rico] to hell” from a Benedict XVI pope parody account.

“Rumors of what is the genre’s greatest urban hit Gasolina is getting a RMX. What do you think?”

“@ELTrapeo @daddy_yankee don’t you dare make a Gasolina remix, the original is where it’s at, don’t ruin the song that changed the genre”

Others are more critical of the content.

“What is JBalvin doing there if they supposedly make the “Gasolina” remix??? It needs to be someone old school like Don Omar for example”

“Perfect roster for gasolina remix:
Wisin y Yandel
Plan B
Nicky Jam
Don Omar”

Some are even complaining at people complaining.

“When was the last time you listened to Gasolina? In 2010 or way before….then damn stop the cryparty and let him do a remix”

And the most amusing one yet:

Someone comparing a Gasolina remix to remixing the Puerto Rican national anthem.

“This would be like making a remix of La Borinqueña”

I myself consider remixing this track sacrilege, and I was shocked to find out that it was already remixed back in 2004, some months after its release. It was DJ Buddah ft. Pitbull, Noriega and Lil Jon.

Daddy Yankee has yet to speak out on whether there is any truth to this, but if this remix is real it’s sure to have some strong impact on reggaeton.

Rappers Are Puerto Rico’s Police Department New Trophies

Over the weekend yet another reggaeton artist, Nengo Flow, was arrested. I’ve written about Anuel AA and Pusho‘s arrests on this blog before and over the weekend a third one is added to that list. Ñengo Flow was arrested over the weekend and this latest trend of arresting rappers has begun to get some attention.

The circumstances of Ñengo’s arrest are unclear, as several news sources report differences in the reasons or the orders of him being detained. Some say it was because of dark window tints on the vehicle while others say it was a drug dog that marked the car. He, his uncle and his barber were detained but only Ñengo was charged with possession for an ounce of weed worth $40.

He was released on a $5,000 bail but not before sparking another hashtag, #FreeÑengo, which showed another onslaught of support from the community. Even Yadier Molina, catcher for the Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic 2017 team expressed his support on Instagram.

mi herma estamos contigo @nengoflowofficial tqm mi bro realG4vida bro

A post shared by Yadier Molina (@yadier_marciano_molina) on

Another rapper, Kendo Kaponi, took to Snapchat to vent on how the police of Puerto Rico have taken to targeting rappers instead of doing their jobs. He states that it isn’t everyone in the department but that 80% cops are paying more attention to celebrity news and the prestige of being the one who arrested X rapper. Check out his full comments in the video below.

Urban Latino Artists Show Their Support For Immigrants

Reports of mass deportations is striking fear in immigrant communities. Trump’s platform of hate has spiked hatred and violence throughout the country, to the point of putting them in danger. Women are dropping their domestic abuse cases, for fear of being deported. The community has not remained silent. Messages of resistance have flourished throughout all platforms and mediums, including urban music.

Farruko just released a music video for his song Don’t Let Go. The video starts with Trump’s racist comments against Mexicans from the beginning of his campaign and the story surrounds a couple that got separated because of an immigration raid.

The video ends with text that says “We are a nation of immigrants. Many come searching for the famous Amerian Dream, but every day, many families are destroyed by migration intolerance. No more hate or discrimination. Let’s come together.”

This isn’t the only immigration-related music video that has been recently released. Rafa Pabón y El Repique released Camina (Walk). The track includes lyrics like “the drug I bring is music to consume”,”don’t call me criminal if you create the projectile”and “if you don’t have a passport go on and walk we go through land or sea”.

These songs and videos are the results of exuberant pressure and abuse placed on these communities. It has infiltrated every part of Latinx daily life, and staying silent no longer seems to be an option.

New Song Highlights Puerto Rico’s WBC Success

Tonight is the World Baseball Classic final between Puerto Rico and the United States. Puerto Rico has had an amazing run throughout this classic, entering the final undefeated. Boricuas on the island and beyond have shown their support for #LosNuestros in various forms from dying their hair blonde in solidarity for #TeamRubio to writing songs about it.

El Gemelo, a Puerto Rican rapper just put out a song featuring Keila Leona, a Puerto Rican singer where they sing the praises of the team’s players and their often unbelievable plays, highlight the monumental win against the undefeated Dominican Republic, include a reference to Roberto Clemente and express the unity the team has brought the island. Check out the track below.

Many other urban artists have shown support over social media, or even attended the games themselves like Residente:

Or Alvaro Diaz celebrating the win with what has become the rallying cry for the team and the island.

Even crime went down on the island last weekend. A psychologist attributed this to the WBC and Puerto Rico’s performance. She noted a similar decrease in violence during the Olympics, specifically when Monica Puig won Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medal.

The game tonight of colony vs colonizer will be charged beyond the game of baseball itself. It has both united and divided the nation as some pro-statehooders prefer to root for the United States. Everyone has an opinion and have shown support in whichever way they can, giving us chants of victory and songs of our accomplishments.

Documenting the genre towards recognition and respect

There are those who still refer to latin urban music as a fad, waiting for it to fade back into obscurity. With more than twenty years of constant evolution, I’m confident to say that it’s here to stay. There has been a recent boom in the documentation of the genre and its artists.

SXSW is happening right now and Residente presented his documentary about the making of his new album based on his DNA which I’ve written about before.

 

A documentary that is premiering today March 16 at the San Diego Latino Film Festival is La Vida del Filósofo (The life of the philosopher) about Vico C, one of the pioneers of urban music. He started in the genre back when it was completely underground and you would get arrested or have tapes confiscated for listening to it.

Yet another upcoming biopic is Nicky Jam’s to be aired on Telemundo about his struggles. This one was recently announced and we don’t have many details except that Nicky Jam will be starring in it himself.

This sudden influx of documentaries about the minds behind the genre is unprecedented. Sure we’ve had fictionalized versions of these stories like Daddy Yankee’s Talento de Barrio from 2008, but this is something different. This is the artists finally taking the media and the way it portrays them into their hands.

As discussed in yesterday’s post, mainstream media has a tendency to portray latin urban artists in a negative light, to use them as examples of what not to do and who not to be. These documentaries will serve to give us the other side of that and in doing so leveling the playing field. Despite its popular and monetary success, people still delegitimize the genre, sometimes not even calling it music. These documentaries are a solid first step in showing people that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Pusho’s arrest highlights Puerto Rico’s disdain for its urban artists

Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Pusho was arrested early this week for unlicensed carry and the internet has responded in a very familiar way starting a #FreePusho hashtag reminiscent of Anuel AA. Apart from words of encouragement from fans and fellow urban artists, some interesting points were made in terms of the perception of these artists.

The way traditional media portrayed this story is our first indication of falling into stereotypes and misconceptions. Primera Hora, one of the bigger national newspapers of Puerto Rico ran this headline on their Twitter account.

primera hora

‘Reggaeton artist falls for drugs’ reads the translation. This isn’t true at all. The linked article says that he was arrested by agents of the Drug Division of San Juan for possession of unlicensed weapons. Apart from the gun about a thousand dollars and the Mercedez Benz they were driving the agents found nothing else on Pusho and his friend who were both arrested and recently released on a $25,000 fine.

Fellow reggaeton artist Maximan, of J-King & Maximan posted a video on his Instagram account calling out society’s double standard.

He says that “because he’s a reggaetonero everyone comes with ill intentions saying to throw away the key, that he’s a delinquent, he’s a reggaetonero that it’s to be expected. But if they arrest the manager of Foot Locker, of the supermarket, or the local bakery, or the 25-year-old son and he says it to defend himself then people say that things are bad in Puerto Rico he’s trying to defend himself and perhaps he hasn’t had time to fill in the paperwork.”

Puerto Rican comedian Chente Ydrach also tweeted his frustrations the way media represents urban artists.

chente rapetón

‘Local television NEVER talks about our rappers. Until they get arrested. That’s also f**cked up’ states Ydrach. It seems ridiculous that such a profitable and recognized industry of the island is not acknowledged in the media, and when it is it’s slanted in a negative way.

Pusho himself is aware of the scrutiny he is under illustrated by a recent release of his El Precio De La Fama (The Price Of Fame). Some of the verses state: “Dealing with meager people, the radio the press/ That invent negative things without shame / Get carried away by the demon / destroying homes, families friendships, marriages”.

At the end of the day these artists are part of the community, a lot of them stay on the island which is incredibly significant when every year Puerto Ricans, especially the youth, are leaving in massive numbers. These artists chose to stay here, have their families here, make their music here, keep their profits here and the community shuns them at any available opportunity.