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Reggaeton (Refiguring American Music)by Raquel Rivera
Synopses & Reviews
A hybrid of reggae and rap, reggaeton is a music with Spanish-language lyrics and Caribbean aesthetics that has taken Latin America, the United States, and the world by storm. Superstars—including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Ivy Queen—garner international attention, while aspiring performers use digital technologies to create and circulate their own tracks. Reggaeton brings together critical assessments of this wildly popular genre. Journalists, scholars, and artists delve into reggaeton’s local roots and its transnational dissemination; they parse the genre’s aesthetics, particularly in relation to those of hip-hop; and they explore the debates about race, nation, gender, and sexuality generated by the music and its associated cultural practices, from dance to fashion.
The collection opens with an in-depth exploration of the social and sonic currents that coalesced into reggaeton in Puerto Rico during the 1990s. Contributors consider reggaeton in relation to that island, Panama, Jamaica, and New York; Cuban society, Miami’s hip-hop scene, and Dominican identity; and other genres including reggae en español, underground, and dancehall reggae. The reggaeton artist Tego Calderón provides a powerful indictment of racism in Latin America, while the hip-hop artist Welmo Romero Joseph discusses the development of reggaeton in Puerto Rico and his refusal to embrace the upstart genre. The collection features interviews with the DJ/rapper El General and the reggae performer Renato, as well as a translation of “Chamaco’s Corner,” the poem that served as the introduction to Daddy Yankee’s debut album. Among the volume’s striking images are photographs from Miguel Luciano’s series Pure Plantainum, a meditation on identity politics in the bling-bling era, and photos taken by the reggaeton videographer Kacho López during the making of the documentary Bling’d: Blood, Diamonds, and Hip-Hop.
Contributors. Geoff Baker, Tego Calderón, Carolina Caycedo, Jose Davila, Jan Fairley, Juan Flores, Gallego (José Raúl González), Félix Jiménez, Kacho López, Miguel Luciano, Wayne Marshall, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Alfredo Nieves Moreno, Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo, Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Raquel Z. Rivera, Welmo Romero Joseph, Christoph Twickel, Alexandra T. Vazquez
"The kinetic contributions in "Reggaeton" melt false borders--ones wrapped like straitjackets around peoples, knowledges, and cultures--and move the crowd. More than an exciting, exhaustive treatment of this vital musical culture, this anthology is a fine blueprint for engaged cultural scholarship right now."--Jeff Chang, author of "Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation"
A collection on reggaeton, a popular contemporary music genre that mixes Latin American and Caribbean music styles with hiphop, rap, and R&B.
This collection offers the first critical assessment of the music and culture of reggaeton, a popular genre that blends reggae and rap, Spanish-language lyrics, and Latin-Caribbean aesthetics.
About the Author
“I cannot overstate how critically important this volume is. It captures the synergies of a musical and cultural movement that few have seriously grappled with, even as the sounds and styles of reggaeton have dominated the air space of so many urban locales.”—Mark Anthony Neal, author of Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic
“It’s about time academia dared to include reggaeton. This might mean that we’re finally understanding that all of us are los de atrás (the ones behind): our country, Puerto Rico, and the whole Caribbean. I hope people support this book so it can be translated into Spanish, and kids in Puerto Rico and Latin America can read it. Because we Caribbean people, even if we don’t want to, even if we don’t like it, even if it hurts, we come from behind . . . and there’s a value to that. There’s a beauty to being los de atrás.”—Residente, frontman of the Grammy and Latin Grammy award-winning duo Calle 13
“The kinetic contributions in Reggaeton melt false borders—ones wrapped like straitjackets around peoples, knowledges, and cultures—and move the crowd. More than an exciting, exhaustive treatment of this vital musical culture, this anthology is a fine blueprint for engaged cultural scholarship right now.”—Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
“This anthology opens a chapter in hip-hop history that brings it all back home, back to our transnational Afro-Spanish-speaking countries and diasporas and ’hoods where young people are going through their hip-hop ecstasies and traumas, but in their own language, and in their own unique and hitherto-unknown style.”—Juan Flores, author of From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity, from the foreword to Reggaeton
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