By Daniel Hernandez, Staff Writer, LA Times | When Daddy Yankee showed up at a Montebello gas station to hype his infectious hit “Gasolina,” the Puerto Rican recording star drew so many fans he couldn’t get out of the limo. That was the moment it hit local music publicist Ximena Acosta: Reggaeton was here to stay.

“I’m never going to forget. I had a chunk of my hair pulled out it was so bad,” Acosta recalls in the buzzworthy Spotify podcast “Loud: The History of Reggaeton.” “We tried taking him out of the limo a few times, and we just — we couldn’t. And I had that feeling in my gut of, ‘Oh, my God, this is gigantic.’”
> > > > > > > >
It is a thrilling recollection in the middle of a deeply researched production by Spotify Originals and Futuro Studios. “Loud,” which comes out with its 10th and final episode this week, has arguably set a new standard in Latin music-focused historical cultural podcasts, after this year’s WBUR hit “Anything for Selena.” It’s also breaking ground in its use of Spanish and Spanglish as the de facto lingua of the show, and the inspired choice of reggaeton original Ivy Queen as its host.

The podcast charts the journey of this amalgamation of musical influences in a direct line from Jamaica to Panama to New York to Puerto Rico, where it boomed, and now to Colombia and the world.

A listener can hear Ivy Queen, a strong female leader in a male-dominated subculture, barely containing her wonderment at the global acceptance of the genre that was once the subject of censorship, police crackdowns and political persecutions. It’s all detailed in the series.

“I still remember the first time I got paid to rap, it was like $500, y yo pensé que quinientos pesos era un millions of dollars, you know!” Ivy Queen recalls in the 10th episode.

“Tantas cosas han pasado, so much has happened. And look at reggaeton now!” the host says. “It kind of makes me ask myself, what is it that reggaeton has given to the world? What is our legacy?”

Well, the 2017 reggaeton remix of the Luis Fonsi track “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee and written by Erika Ender, became the most viewed video in YouTube history and has notched more than 7.5 billion plays. Today Bad Bunny is making commercials for McDonalds and Cheetos and was the most streamed artist on Spotify in 2020.
> > > > > > > > > >
In 2005, the station 96.3-FM moved to a full-time Latin urban format, giving reggaeton a permanent home on the L.A. airwaves that remains a leader to this day in a robust local market.

The Ivy Queen posters stood out. To the L.A. Latin queer community, Ivy Queen was an underground goddess. Her sharp features and deeper alto voice made some fans (and haters) assume she was transgender, which Ivy Queen acknowledges, but also, who cared? How could you not dance even a little bit to her 2003 banger “Yo Quiero Bailar”?
> > > > > > > > >
“I just hope that we don’t lose the essence, que no la perdamos,” the artist says. “We see a lot of blend. Now it’s the pop reggaeton era, using all those drum patterns that reggaeton has. I’m an OG. I need that beat to hit hard. I know music is supposed to evolucionar, but I hope we don’t lose the true meaning of the lucha that we did.”

Read the whole story here:

Daniel Hernandez covers culture in Southern California, with an emphasis on media, identity, the internet, books and food. He is a former correspondent and editor in Mexico, where among other things he reported from inside El Chapo’s escape tunnel and on Mexico’s arts scenes. Hernandez is also the former editor of L.A. Taco and began his career as a Metro reporter at the Los Angeles Times at the age of 21.

Leave a Reply

Close Search Window