This essay explores the multiple reasons why reggaetón is an international phenomenon and enjoyed by fans across the globe. It begins with the detailed examination of the origins of reggaetón and traces the roots to the development of Panama in 1903 and the subsequent creation of the Panama Canal. By providing a complex view of the history of reggaeton, the essay provides a complex understanding of how reggaeton is linked to many different musical genres. These musical connections are extended by the early pioneers of reggaetón such as El General and Vico C and documentaries on reggaetón, which contextualize the rich and diverse foundations of reggaetón. In addition, the essay also highlights the success of several popular reggaetón artists, such as Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and J Balvin and the popularity of reggaetón on radio stations and in concerts. As the essay illustrates, as more successful reggaetón artists have developed, reggaetón has increased its universal appeal to global audiences. With the genre’s steady evolution and increased exposure, reggaetón will continue to be a powerful force in the record industry and beyond. This phenomenon of reggaetón’s popularity only continues to grow and push its sales to the multibillion dollar mark in the record industry.
Dorsía Smith Silva is an Associate Professor of English in the Faculty of General Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. She is the co-organizer of the First Symposium of Reggaetón at the UPR-RP in 2016 and co-teaches a course on reggaetón at the UPR-RP. Dr. Smith is also the co-editor and editor of several texts, including co-editor of Caribbean without Borders: Caribbean Literature, Language, and Culture (2008), Critical Perspectives on Caribbean Literature and Culture (2010), and Critical and Feminist Perspectives on Caribbean Mothering (2013), and editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering (2011). She is currently co-editing three books: Travelin’ Mama; Mothers, Mothering, and Globalization; and Mothers and Daughters. In addition, she has published articles in the Journal of Caribbean Literature¸ Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, and Sargasso and poetry in POUI: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing. Her primary interests include global studies, cultural studies, and mothering and motherhood studies.