linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on



i've got a long, linky piece on reggaeton in this week's phoenix. it's my latest take on the subject, and after noticing recently that my "so many snares" post from last summer found itself on a "best music writing" list for 2005 (and one for/by "rockcritics" at that!), i find myself in the strange position of wondering whether this piece in print will live up to the blog-post that preceded it (and which essentially opened the door for it).

not that y'all needed another reggaeton article. clearly, the music has become the darling of the NY international press, and that's part of what i wanted to try to get at in the phoenix piece--to examine the differences between reggaeton's presence in the mainstream soundscape and its representation in mainstream discourse. (not that the folks linked to in that first sentence don't get at these things, but i wanted to bring a bit more of the ethnomusicologist in me to the proceedings.) between attempting to provide an overview for those who have somehow managed to stay oblivious to reggaton's inroads and attempting to provide a depth and breadth of analysis not often found in the mainstream press (never mind sticking to a rather generous word count!), i found writing the piece to be something of a challenge.

i hope it lives up to the prominence it was given. (cover story!) but i'm not sure that a newspaper article can really ever communicate about music the way that a blog or a DJ mix can. one of the things that made the blog-post special, i suppose, was its combination of text and audio (and images), or as they put it over at rockcritics.com: "aural demonstrations of what's being explained in detail." in an attempt, then, to augment this latest texty thing i'm throwing at you, allow me to "throw some bows" at you, too. dem bows, that is.

i posted a "dem bow mix" over at the riddim method. check it out, download it, and let it provide a jump-off for further travels. reggaeton's a rich, rich world (and getting richer)--and opens up to many others. i'm just scratching the surface blin-blin.


Blogger rob them co said...

i haven't listened to the mix yet but just to say on first sight that's a really nice selection of 2005 tunes there, as far as i've heard - any idiot can talk about history after the fact (cf grime etc) so it's great to see theory backed up by a strong awareness of what's current for a change.

(and haha isn't 'yo soy la queen' just the 1 minute godsend for any lineage lessons)

1:49 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

hope you dig the mix, rob. glad you find the tracklist up to the time.

and no doubt on that ivy queen tune. she's totally fierce on that one (as usual) and the recycled riddims present as good an example as any of reggaeton's basis in jamaican dancehall culture.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous jace said...

yes, you humble man, we DID in fact need another reggaetón article, esp one that goes deeper than all the others. nice work!

11:47 AM  
Anonymous siebe said...

Great piece & lovely mix (how about (re)creating a bubbling mix from this perspective?)

2:37 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

thanks, y'all.

wow, siebe, a bubbling mix along these lines? that's a great idea--and quite a challenge (for me anyway, as i don't have so many bubbling tunes). any ideas on how i can improve my collection? the stuff seems scarce 'round these parts, and the few sites i've seen offering music seem to stream it.

of course, i'm sure you'd do a great job with that yourself. been enjoying your mixes quite a bit, as you probably noticed.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous siebe said...

Thanks - you are too kind. However, I'm not into professional mixing, I leave that up to you. I'll see what kind of bubbling stuff I've got at home. Never bought much in those days, although it was exciting to go out to bubbling clubs. If the songs are any good, I'll send you some.

3:23 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

"professional"? hah! that's a good one, siebe. i'll take it as a compliment, though ;)

if you locate any good bubbling music, i'd definitely be grateful if you could send me some. (wayne at wayneandwax diggitydot com should work.)

3:30 PM  
Anonymous siebe said...

Okay, I emailed you a bubbling file - hope I got the address right. If not try http://d.turboupload.com/d/323528/Free.zip.html

1:05 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

got it, siebe! thanks.

may take me a minute to put it together, but i really look forward to digging into this stuff and seeing how i can tease out the sonic connections to the caribbean.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Carlos Solís-Tejada said...


I've just have one comment.
I've noticed you just analyzed in your paper how nearly related Dancehall's Dem Bow riddim and reggaeton which is wonderful piece of work. Actually back here in Panama many DJ's and Dancehall singer's critique towards reggaeton is precisely that regaeton just sticks to Dem Bow, which is a very old riddim and does not expriment with the latest riddims like the ones played by TOK or newer dancehall groups contrary of what more local and underground Panamanian Reggae en Español does, which is in fact reggaeton's actual link to Dancehall and not as incorrectly expressed in your paper as a direct descendant of Jamaican dancehall. Culturally and ethnically that would make no sense since there is no direct cultural or historical link between jamaican and pr culture, which Panama does hace due to the fact that most panamanian afro decendants are actually decendants of jamaicans, barbadians etc. That was just one piece of the analysis missing plus you seem to obviate reggae en español and its interpreters relationship with Dem Bow which precedes Reggaeton by a decade, taking into consideration Reggae en Español has a more than 26 year history..at least in Panama its cradle, PR actually was more a Hip Hop and Rap country thanks to newyoricans until Panamanian Reggae en Español made it to the Island in the early 90's first imitating Reggae en Español with some hip hop influx thus further developing what would later be known as their very own Reggaeton in late 90's early XXI century.

10:29 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

thanks for the comments, carlos. i appreciate your perspective on all of this. i'm not sure that i actually "missed" any of what you're saying, though perhaps i did not emphasize these lines as much as you'd like.

at any rate, i find your point about PR's reggaetoneros' reliance on the dembow to be very interesting. could you recommend some panamanian producers or artists who are engaging more directly with contemporary jamaican dancehall and have disavowed the dembow?

7:27 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

carlos - i wonder whether you only read the "dem bow" post over at riddim method and missed the article linked above, which goes into a lot more detail about the panamanian connection. just in case, you can find it here.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good mix and article, great contribution.

maybe i missed it, but the bam bam riddim (not stalag) frequently makes a cameo appearances in reggaeton and should get a shout-out at least.

also, i'm not sure i agree with you about bachata being in danger of being eclipsed by reggetoneros. bachata came waaaay before and now with there are even bilingual quasi-boy bands like aventura. bachata ain't going nowheres. bachata is a life sustaining staple food and not faddish.

inna da dance: most folks who like bachata just don't know how to dance to it--as opposed to reggaeton which requires no instructions. yeah, and face to face dancing is overrated y...tu sabes.

1:05 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

thanks for the comments, anonymous. i pretty much agree with you all around. i've written more about reggaeton since this, including a piece that deals more with the "bam bam" and other reggae riddims that form staples of r'ton's sources.

see e.g.,
or http://wayneandwax.com/index.php?tag=reggaeton

and, yeah, i agree that it's overstating things to declare that bachata need fear annexation. it was more a provocation than anything. mainly, i wanted to recognize that reggaeton has been embracing bachata more and more -- and this continues -- to the point where the lines between the two start blurring. at which point, for lots of listeners, it's all reggaeton.

2:54 PM  

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