There has been a new beat lurking around the music scene for about 10 years in North America. The new beat, or sound, is called reggaeton (pronounced reggae-tone) and it is urban music that became popular with the youths of Latin America. Reggaeton, since becoming popular in Latin America, has since spread to Europe and Asian listeners as well as North America. The music itself originated in Panama and it blends Latin American music (bomba, salsa, merengue and Latin Pop) with Jamaican influences such as reggae and dancehall music.
Reggaeton also combines these sounds with R&B, electronic music and hip-hop music. Much of the reggaeton music being produced today utilizes singing and rapping in Spanish. Reggaeton should be distinguished from Latino hip-hop which is merely hip-hop performed by musicians of Latino origins nor should reggaeton be classified as Spanish reggae.
Reggaeton possesses its own specific rhythm called Dem Bow (as referenced in a 1991 Shabba Ranks song of the same name). You most often will hear a driving and pulsing track from a drum machine which, as a sound, has its roots in Jamaican dancehall music. The beat mixes the rhythms of a kick drum and a syncopated snare drum that produces the distinctive boom-chh-boom-chick sound that identifies reggaeton and its quick 95 beats per minute meter. The beat was originally produced by Bobby “Digital” Dixon in Jamaica for Steely & Clevie. Popular reggaeton artists to look for are Chicho Man, Renato, Black Apache, DJ Playero and Daddy Yankee.