The ideal Latin pop album is a musical creation that draws upon Latin American culture and incorporates popular elements of the genre. This could include salsa, bachata, tejano or other styles of music.
An album can also take a detour from traditional Latin music. For instance, an artist such as Rosalia may release an album that blurs the lines between jazz and reggaeton.
1. Bad Bunny
Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny has become the undisputed king of Latin trap music, scoring multiple chart-topping hits over the years. He stands out for his unique blend of Latin trap, reggaeton and pop that resonates with listeners worldwide. Additionally, Bad Bunny uses his platform to spread a powerful social message that resonates with audiences around the world.
His debut single “Soy Peor” (I’m Worse) became an inspirational anthem for anyone who ever felt inadequate. It cemented his place as a breakout success, showcasing his distinctive vocal style and Latin trap influences.
This early track remains a favorite among fans. The lyrics are honest and moving, showcasing an aspect of him that’s often overlooked in his music.
Bad Bunny’s song “Reject Me” tells of a failed romance that left the singer feeling worse about himself. It served as an inspiring and vulnerable anthem that set the stage for their subsequent hits.
Bad Bunny’s first international hit was “Sensualidad,” a collaboration with J Balvin and Prince Royce. This track features seductive lyrics over an easygoing beat and marked one of their first forays into international markets.
Bad Bunny stands out among many Latin artists with his focus on social activism and often pairs his music with political activism. In 2019, he joined the protests that led to the resignation of former Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello.
Bad Bunny’s popularity has skyrocketed due to his social message, which resonates strongly with fans around the world – particularly Latin America.
This success has brought with it a great sense of pride for both the artist and his fans, who are thrilled that their culture is being recognized in such an expansive manner. When I attended his performance at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles last September, I saw fans from all over the world represented by flags waving proudly.
He’s more than a superstar; he’s also an inspiring symbol of hope for many Latin American youths. His social message and activism have been hugely influential, propelling him to the top of pop charts worldwide.
Rosalia, originally from Sant Esteve Sesrovires in Barcelona, Spain, has achieved international fame through her music. She’s collaborated with many renowned artists like J Balvin and James Blake, and won multiple awards at the Latin Grammys.
She began as a flamenco singer, but is now considered a contemporary fusion artist with influences ranging from reggaeton to pop and R&B. With an incredible range and powerful emotional connection to her songs, she’s truly remarkable.
After the success of her debut album Los Angeles in 2017, El Mal Querer followed suit two months later in November 2018. To everyone’s delight, the record received widespread acclaim and earned her a Latin Grammy nomination.
She addresses themes like grief and loss with a fiery voice reminiscent of Patti Smith or Nina Simone. Additionally, the music video for “El Panuelo” is stunning, featuring Rosalia in various evocative and symbolic settings.
She draws inspiration from a wide range of sources, such as Bjork, Johnny Cash, Camaron de la Isla, Hector Lavoe and Kanye West. Additionally, her music often incorporates spiritual concepts.
When she collaborated with J Balvin on their VMA-nominated “Con Altura,” she celebrated their Latin roots and stressed the significance of cultural heritage. However, some groups have condemned her continued promotion of an inaccurate understanding of what being Latin means, as well as her exploitation of that ethos.
This approach is problematic as it ignores the legacy of colonialism and inequality that continues to shape Latin American diaspora, particularly in Europe. It takes away the possibility for a more inclusive and diverse Latinx experience in an increasingly Eurocentric world.
Rosalia’s latest project, MOTOMAMI, showcases her desire to fuse different genres and ideologies. The opening track, “Saoko,” pays homage to reggaeton with a Daddy Yankee verse. However, that doesn’t end there; Rosalia cites various models of transformation in her singles such as “Kim K when she goes blonde” and “Cuando entra el caballo a Troya.”
Her most recent collaboration, with J Balvin and Ozuna, was an enormous success, and she’s set to release another acclaimed album soon. However, the success comes at a cost – the culturally inaccurate branding she’s created not only ignores her own heritage but takes up space that could otherwise be filled by more unique Latinx artists.
Akapellah is a Colombian reggaeton singer who has quickly earned recognition in his genre. He began creating music during his teens and gained notoriety for his unique style and catchy hooks. Additionally, Akapellah has collaborated with many Latin American artists such as Maluma and J Balvin.
Kapellah’s music stands out, often blending elements of rap and reggaeton to create something completely unique. His themes range from love to politics to social issues.
He has released two albums, ‘Bajo el Mismo Sol’ and ‘Vuelve’, both of which received critical acclaim. Additionally, he has collaborated with numerous other artists and is currently on tour.
Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P) are two rap icons who have released some of the greatest hip-hop records of our time. Their last album, RTJ4, was a smash success; now they’ve released a deluxe edition with remixes and instrumentals. However, their full-length album will be released this month which will include classic songs with an updated twist.
The newly reimagined RTJ4, entitled ‘RTJ Cuatro’, will feature contributions from a wide variety of Latin artists. It will be released on November 11th via Jewel Runners/BMG and you can check out a teaser track today – ‘Caminando en la Nieve’.
“Caminando en La Nieve” is a fun track featuring Venezuelan rapper Akapellah, Brazilian rapper Pawmps, and New York-based producer Nick Hook. With its clever songwriting and energetic percussion, you’re sure to enjoy listening to it.”
If you’re a fan of Ricky Martin or Latin music in general, this album is one not to be missed. Released on November 11th and available to pre-order here, take a look at ‘Caminando enla Nieve’ below as well as the rest of the tracklisting here.
4. Lucrecia Dalt
Lucrecia Dalt has achieved great success as a Colombian-born Berlin-based musician with multiple identities. Her collaborations with Gudrun Gut and Wolf Eyes’ Aaron Dilloway on labels like Human Ear Music and RVNG Intl demonstrate her willingness to explore bizarre sounds in pursuit of quality production.
Her latest album,!Ay!, is an example of this: a record that bends time and space while exploring the musical and metaphysical influences of growing up in Colombia. Across ten tracks on!Ay!, Dalt blends tropical music’s sound with adventurous impulses and lush instrumentation for an exclamation of liminal delight.
This record captures the sensorial memories of her home in Pereira, Colombia – the mountain city where she grew up. The result is an album filled with breathy singing and laid-back melodies, reminiscent of classic Brazilian music or 70s spy movies. There’s also atmospheric synths and quirky analog electronics that bring to mind Suzanne Ciani.
Dalt’s record is a pleasant listen, but it could have been even better had she used more creativity when combining the sounds. For instance, she could have stitched together different rhythms to create an exciting sound or even layered her voice over some spoken word samples for added dimension.
She could’ve added more electronic elements, but instead opts for a straightforward but effective approach: layering vocals and guitars, adding the occasional bass line or synth melody to create her melodramatic pop soundscape. Her voice conveys an intense level of emotion – both seductive and wistful – until she hits her final note.
Dalt has a background in geology and studied civil engineering before turning her attention towards music. This has given her an objective perspective of the physical world that contrasts sharply with her approach to composition, which often involves stretching space and time to explore strange sounds. That’s not to say Dalt doesn’t draw inspiration from her surroundings – she was once part of a band after all! Furthermore, her debut LP Acerca released in 2005 was heavily influenced by rock and psychedelic rock music.