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Topic: The Myth of Reggaeton

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    http://p076.ezboard.com/fpoliticalpalacefrm57.showMessage?topicID=349.topic The Myth of Reggaeton by E-PROPS Hiphop, was created by people of African descent, including Puerto Ricans, in the South Bronx during the early 1970s. While people like Crazy Legs, Popmaster Fable and Bobbito Garcia are considered legends and icons within Hiphop culture and artists such as The Beatnuts, Big Pun and Fat Joe have gotten props, Hispanics have long believed that their contributions to Hiphop have oftentimes been overlooked. However, works such as the recently released book, “New York Ricans from The Hiphop Zone” by Raquel Rivera, are hoping to change that. Although they are not considered to be indigenous to the American experience, Hispanics such as Desi Arnaz and Jennifer Lopez have long been included as part of the American landscape, due in part, to Puerto Rico’s status as a pseudo American colony. Now Hispanics, particularly Puerto Ricans, are asserting themselves not only within Hiphop, but are creating their own cultural niche through a Hiphop/Dancehall hybrid called Reggaeton. Is Reggaeton a true creation? Or is Reggaeton simply a marketing tool, used by Hispanics, to create and build an infrastructure that would capture the wealth of the Hiphop market within their communities, by steering consumers to Hispanic institutions, such as radio stations and nightclubs. Reggaeton, is said to be a unique Hispanic creation, influenced by Hiphop and Reggae. The song considered to be the first Reggaeton song, is “Pum Pum Mami Mami” by EL General, of Panama. This song, which amounts to a Spanish cover of the Dancehall Reggae classic, “Punany Tegereg” By Little Lenny, has been called the basis of a new genre. The trademark drumbeat of Reggaeton, is from the early 90’s Dancehall riddim, “Big Up.” Reggaeton also features, Spanish style piano instrumentation, but without a doubt, from the lyrical delivery, to the image of its artists, it is Hiphop/Dancheall derived, and merely represents the embracing of Hiphop and Dancehall culture by the people of African masses in Hispanic countries. When you look at the people who are representing Reggaeton in the American mainstream, they are so-called Hispanics of primarily European descent and/or features. Disturbing, because Hiphop/Dancehall is a culture created by people of African descent and for the most part, people of African descent are marginalized in these Hispanic countries. If people of African descent were receiving the fruits of labor from the art forms which they began, then the rise of Reggaeton would not be significant. But are they represented in the structure of Hiphop music and radio, in proportion to the level of their input and participation in its creation? While Hispanics are not to blame, we must examine the very real effect of having non-Blacks represented within Hiphop’s structure, especially now, when Latinos are asserting themselves and their individuality through Reggaeton, while simultaneously possessing significant representation within Hiphop’s structure as entertainers, executives, editors, etctera. Prior to switching its format to Hiphop, Hot 97 FM in New York had a large Latino listener ship. They retained their original demographic and expanded it once they affiliated with Hiphop, most notably through the movement led by Bad Boy records. Many Latinos benefited from this alliance in their careers, by inserting themselves within the corporate structure that developed from the increased popularity and monetary success of Hiphop facilitated by artists such as The Notorious B.I.G. While it might be argued that this representation is just, due to the fact that Hiphop was started in part by Hispanics, specifically Puerto Ricans, people of African descent are not represented within Latino entertainment entities in equal proportion, when undoubtedly, people of African descent participated in or outright created, many of their art forms, including Reggaeton. Reggaeton had been flourishing on its own, packing stadiums such as Madison Square Garden, for quite some time. Its introduction to the Hiphop audience occurred during the Hot 97 show Street Soldiers, which has a Hispanic host and producers. From there, it seems as if a concerted effort was made by media outlets to legitimize Reggeaton as the “next big thing”. The feverish pace was peculiar, as it occurred on the heels of Sean Paul and Dancehall’s success during 2002 and 2003, seemingly attempting to capitalize on Dancehall’s momentum. In fact, a show which aired on BET spotlighting Reggaeton had as its theme song, “Move Your Body” by Puerto Rican duo Nina Skye. The musical backdrop for “Move your Body” was the popular Dancehall riddim, “Coolie Dance”. But on the show it was being presented as “Reggaeton”, precisely because it was sung by a Hispanic artist, no matter if the lyrics were in English. This pairing of Hispanic singer and Reggae riddim also occurred in 2002 with Lumidee and the insanely popular and catchy Reggae riddim “The Diwali”, for her song, “Uh oh” Meanwhile, there is not one radio station in New York, that focuses on the music and culture of the people of African descent of the Caribbean.1190 FM WLIB switched its Caribbean format to the liberal bastion Air America, perfectly mirroring the Black American cultural and political sentiment of preferring to work in the interest of their white liberal counterparts as opposed to their Caribbean brethren. Meanwhile, New York’s Power 105.1 chose to feature a Reggaeton show before a Reggae one. Soon we might see a process which begins to replace Reggae and/or Hiphop with Reggaeton might occur throughout the United States specifically where Latinos are concentrated. Indeed Clear Cahnnel Communications has begun to alter their format in order to accommodate the listener who is Latino but also wants to listen to 50 CENT. So while, Black Media still suffers from redlining within the Advertising industry, stations such as New York’s Hot 97, Power 105 and now Mega 97.9, will benefit from a Black culture, through its programming, in order to attract listeners and by extension, advertising revenue.