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


we use so many snares

when i "first" encountered reggaeton (i put first in quotes b/c it's likely i heard it before this moment), it wasn't called reggaeton at all. it was called spanish reggae, and a high school student at CRLS, where i was working as a substitute teacher, introduced me to it by showing me a caselogic binder containing hundreds of CDs by artists i had never heard of before--most of them, it seemed, from new jersey. i realized at that moment, back in 2002, that this stuff was already HUGE. since i had my laptop with me and was already demonstrating digital music techniques to the kids, i ripped a track, looped an intro section, and put a big smile on the student's face.

my next encounter with the stuff was in roxbury in the summer of 2003. while teaching some kids there how to make beats on computers, i asked a student who his favorite artist was, and he said "tego calderon." he raved about tego for a minute, piquing my curiosity, then ran home and grabbed a copy of el abayarde so i could hear it. i was floored, especially when i heard my ol' favorite, the mad mad riddim, appear on "bonsai"--an ode to marijuana that falls late in the album. (apparently, the song was responsible for a cancelled concert in the DR.) i began studying up on the music online, finding such interesting things as a poll where people we're voting on whether puerto rico or panama represented the origins of reggaeton. (puerto rico was winning, though panama was making a strong showing.)

the next meaningful meeting i had with reggaeton happened during yet another digital music workshop. it was the spring of 2004 and i was teaching sessions twice a week at UTEC up in lowell. for those who don't know, lowell is an historic massachusetts mill-town, and in the last couple of decades, its hispanic population has grown considerably. as a result, most of the students wanted to make reggaeton beats. many of them were already doing so with their friends at home, and several were already selling CDs out of their cars. a couple kids, the producers of the crews, would come in with their own CDs loaded with reggaeton samples. all kinds of things: kicks, snares, cymbals, synths, basses, gunshots, spanish interjections, film score snippets, you name it. but mostly snares. these kids used so many snares. seriously, most of them had snare-drum banks that numbered in the dozens and easily approached 100 discrete snare samples. and most of them had acquired these sounds--in some cases precisely the same sounds heard on all the big reggaeton favorites--by downloading them off the 'net or having a cousin email/IM them from PR. no doubt: reggaeton is internet music.

i had noticed already in listening to the music that one of the main ways reggaeton producers created form in a song was to change the sound of the snare every 8 or 16 bars or so: keep it in the same place, but change the sample that's being triggered. the main change is therefore a timbral change--that is, a difference in the "quality" of sound. there is thus an understanding here and a focus on the sample as a fundamental building block in itself, and an accompanying abstraction of sound--what is a snare after all, once it is an array of sharp sounds, many of which weren't even created on an actual drum? reggaeton's approach to composition is symptomatic of the age of the sample bank: why use one snare when you can use several? one of the things that i like so much about this approach is how electronic, how digital, it is. this kind of a stylistic predilection is only really available (and plausible) in a world of digital sampling technologies and easy-to-use sequencing programs. (how many drummers you know carry around extra snares?) reggaeton is digital music par excellence. it is, for better and for worse, fruityloops music--just listen to the unmistakeable sound of the FL "pluck" instrument in countless reggaeton songs (yes, even those on the daddy yankee album).

such wide adoption of FL, and its concomitant effect on the sound and style of contemporary music, isn't so far-fetched, or shameful for that matter. i heard it through the grapevine that the mighty chrome riddim was built on FL. and i swear could have sworn [my bad--see here] the kinda-grimey bionic ras riddim was made with fruityloops, too. (the bass tone gives it away for me, not that the south rakkas crew haven't been advertising their use of FL with those silly robot-voice intros.) of course, a lot of grime producers and dubstep producers freely admit to FL being their primary tool, and the software is increasingly being used by producers across the board, even if some don't admit it. as techno producer jeff samuel puts it:
A lot of people don't want to say that they use it because it has a stupid-ass name, and had gotten this reputation as a toy and not a serious program, but who cares? There are a lot of really established techno artists who are using it. I hear the kickdrum that's in the blank template when you open up the program all the time. (XLR8R, may 2005, p.34)

and though the program, and its ease of use, can obviously make for some lazy, unimaginative music, its user-friendliness and, yet, its flexibility and power mean that a great many more people are making music these days, and the world is no doubt richer for it, despite needing a few more filters (perhaps) to weed through it all. and that's what mp3 bloggers are for, no?

at any rate, getting back to questions of style, aside from using so many snares, reggaeton producers tend to stick to some tried-and-true formulas: bombastic synth textures, plucky melodies, 4/4 kicks (usually at a midtempo pace--say, 90-110bpm), and that good ol' dancehall-reggae 3+3+2 syncopation (played on snares, natch).

of course, the 3+3+2 subdivision is common to all kinds of caribbean styles. you can thread it through reggae and mento, soca and calypso, son and salsa, merengue and meringue. but when it comes down to it, especially when we're talking about kicks and snares playing the 3+3+2, reggae has come to claim this rhythmic pattern. moreover, with the recent resurgence of roots reggae in the dancehall, the pattern seems to be making a comeback in jamaica, as heard on such smashes as I wayne's "can't satisfy her" (as i note at the end of my roots riddims tutorial).

let's take a look at (and a listen to) the pattern in question:

[note: i removed the hi-hat in both examples below for the sake of clarity.]

if played at, say, 100 bpm, it sounds like a typical reggae/reggaeton track: listen.

if played at, say, 160 bpm, the pattern above sounds much more like a soca riddim, or a particularly juiced-up merengue beat: listen.

you can hear in these two examples the fundamental relationship between tempo, rhythmic pattern, and style. the difference between soca and dancehall, between merengue and reggaeton is a mere issue of speed--at least in a basic musical sense; let's not forget, though, that the cultural contexts for these styles are often rather different. (of course, the arrangements--i.e., the rest of the voices/instruments in the texture--are often rather different, too.) similarly, at the same tempos, with shifted rhythmic patterns (away from the 3+3+2 and towards a more "four-square" beat), these kicks-and-snares would cohere into something more closely resembling hip-hop or techno. [incidentally, those who came to this post looking for basic fruityloops lessons, or who would like to see the basic differences between hip-hop, techno, and reggae styles, should go here.]

dancehall's distinctive bomp-bomp, as put forward famously by the pepperseed riddim, boils the 3+3+2 down a kind of essence. before dave kelly cooked up that rhythmic rundown, though, the sound of dancehall reggae was the sound of the pattern above--the sound of 4/4 kicks and 3+3+2 snares. (think of the bam bam riddim as heard on "murder she wrote" or just about anything off super cat's don dada album.)

the sound of dancehall reggae from the late 80s and early 90s is the sound of reggaeton today. and that's no coincidence.

by the late 80s reggae had gained popularity around the world, and dancehall was increasingly popular in urban centers, especially caribbean urban centers. thus, spanish-speaking audiences in panama, puerto rico, and new york (which, yes, is a caribbean urban center), increasingly became not just consumers but producers and performers of reggae music. panama's longstanding relationship to jamaica, which had sent large numbers of migrant workers to help dig the canal, meant that panamanian artists like el general were among the first to record spanish-language reggae. early recordings, such as el general's "pu tun tun" (or "tu pun pun"), were essentially translations of contemporary reggae hits (in this case, little lenny's "punaany tegereg"), using the same riddims and often converting the lyrics of the original almost word-for-word. (see the album dancehall reggaespanol for a great introduction to these early recordings, including their sources of inspiration and featuring some rather informative liner notes.)

the popularity of these spanish reggae tracks in the tri-state area helped the approach to catch on among new york's puerto rican (not to mention dominican and cuban) communities, which in turn helped to fuel what was undoubtedly a burgeoning scene already in PR (which, lest we forget, is not very far from jamaica). ever the cultural crucible, new york nurtured a musical conversation among its post-colonial peoples. it is the crystallization of reggaeton style in san juan in the 1990s (in close conversation with nuyorican developments) that leads to PR's current, almost undisputed claim to reggaeton. interestingly, the riddim track that many people cite as being the "planet rock" (see, miami bass) or the "drag rap" (see, nawlins bounce) of reggaeton is the backing to shabba ranks's "dem bow"--a riddim produced by bobby "digital" dixon and a beat that remains a staple in reggaeton. (daddy yankee, for instance, talks about freestyling endlessly over the dem bow back when he was cutting his teeth.) while jamaican dancehall moved on to minimal and maximal permutations of that ol' bomp-bomp, reggaeton stuck with the ain't-broke boom-ch-boom-chick-boom-ch-boom-chick, recognizing that it overlayed rather nicely with salsa and merengue and claiming it as the new sound of (urban) latin america.

at this point, reggaeton has already gone global, riding on the coattails of hip-hop's and reggae's international appeal, not to mention the international socio-cultural circuitry of the spanish-speaking world. although it is not surprising, it is significant that reggaeton has become the most popular youth music not just in the PR and DR and panama but in cuba, colombia, belize, and increasingly in mexico, chile, and non-caribbean latin america. of course, it's big in japan. and there appears to be a thriving scene these days in the UK, complete with a magazine/online-portal (if conflated there with spanish rap), a series of regular dances (alongside dancehall, of course), and some locally-fueled coverage of the wider history and cultural significance of the music.

reggaeton has been mainstream in the US since nina sky and nore took it there last summer. daddy yankee took it to the bank this spring. and in yet another interesting development--and a weird flip-side to english-language reggae being adapted to spanish--i've recently heard some english-language reggaeton showing up on boston's "official #1" for blazin' hip-hop and R&B!. this could be seen as a bit of a threat, as most of reggaeton's stars have yet to break into the american mainstream. (shit, we're still waiting for a true tego hit. maybe on the new album.) i don't think there is much to worry about though, as reggaeton's core audience isn't about to abandon don omar to whomever p.diddy trots out as the new face of urban music. (britney spears's attempt at the style, see "the hook-up" on in the zone [ignore the jamaican-sounding dude and listen to the beat], seems to have made nary a ripple.) what the appearance of english-language reggaeton does demonstrate is that reggaeton is not simply spanish-language hip-hop or reggae. it is a recognizable musical style in its own right, one that is evoked with kicks and snares and synthesizers. (and, no doubt, luny tunes are still the kings of the beats.)

the music has an amazing amount of momentum going for it right now, and reggaeton will undoubtedly change as it continues to find adherents in various local contexts around the globe. being such a diffuse scene to begin with (san juan's claim as capital notwithstanding), it would seem that reggaeton is poised to shift with its new circumstances. in spite of what some might perceive as rhythmic conservatism, it is reggaeton's steady caribbean polyrhythm, in all its modern, digital splendor, that gives the new style such compelling coherence, such distinctive force. and it would seem only a matter of time before unremarkable synth textures and one-finger melodies are replaced by the vibrant strains of salsa samples, indian flutes, and whatever else one wants to fit into its solid template (making it an omnigenre on par with hip-hop and dancehall, and one based, yet again, on the creative re-use of well-worn materials). if in the meantime, however, you get bored listening to the latest confections on the radio, just focus on the snares.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, you write like a fiend. Digging the explication here, the examples, connection of social to musical structure.

Oh yah, btw, Fishead & I on the wax :


- tobias

9:30 AM  
Blogger Mr. Babylon said...


11:49 AM  
Blogger seacrestcheadle said...

Wayne! I love this!!!!

12:36 PM  
Blogger Joe Twist said...

Dope post! You're observation about the implications of multiple snares is heavy...I remember realizing that I had become fully absorbed into the digital world when I was listening to some old Motown a few years ago and thought "Damn! These guys are using a different snare sound every time!" - then I remembered it was a live drummer...

4:05 AM  
Blogger Joe Twist said...

Sorry, that should be "your" observation...damn contractions!

4:06 AM  
Blogger Chris Jay said...

Good lord this is in depth. I love it when people think about fruityloops instead of just instinctively dissing it.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vaya sabidura! que fuerte, gracias por toda la informacion. the most informative piece on reggaeton i've read anywhere.

you may have sparked a wave of snare-centric reggaeton listening, i know i'm gonna keep ears sharp for snare-switchups midsong, i'd never noticed that b4..

i was DJing a latenite party in brussels & dropped some reggaeton & the crowd went wild, so i kept it up for 30min or so, mixing it then really struck me how that distinctive beat pattern is a brilliant multipurpose anchor for all kinds of wildness on top, 'omnigenre' base like you suggest.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo wayne you gotta check the man like blaminack over at versionist...he is a FL maestro...on the organic reggae tip though

peace Pete M

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thats a good place to start....who would guess that was done on FL?

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and with the 3+3+2...surely thats latin music takin back its own thing?

I remember when punnany came out a lotta comments were on the "clave fell/latin turn etc etc" I'll bet steely n clevie have plenty to say about it

Pete M

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that'd be clave FEEL ;0

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that article (and your blog in general!)

Some grime fruity loops bars



theres probably nuff more

10:42 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

though the clave (and latin caribbean music more generally) both have a 3+3+2 component, i'd hesitate to grant latin music "ownership" over that figure. influential as cuban music has been worldwide, we find these 3+3+2 syncopations in simply too many places to posit such a direct line of origins and so forth. definitely plenty of overlap there, though, which helps to make sense of the embrace of dancehall's take on the 3+3+2 among latino/a youth. when it comes down to it, though, "drop it like it's hot" is closer to a clave than, say, the fiesta riddim or any typical reggaeton beat.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wicked piece Wayne, as ever.

DJ C -- fruity is well worth trying -- different result than Reason, which is better, but less immediate sometimes.

I suspect the robot voices are done the same way I do the ones on my mixes - using the "Speech" control panel of OSX to speak some text, and recording the result with Wiretap...

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For us musical novices, where does the term 3 +3 + 2 come from, and/or what are those numbers specifically referring to?

11:16 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

the term 3+3+2 is not widely used, except by me since i find it a useful way to differentiate this kind of polyrhythmic orientation from more "foursquare" or duple beats. i have seen some ethnomusicologists use this shorthand, though, to describe precisely what i am trying to describe: a breaking up of an even pulse with odd-and-even grouped accents--a practice that is quite common in, say, west african drumming traditions (which should not surprise students of caribbean music).

the numbers refer to the groupings of (micro/sub)pulses that create the dynamic polyrhythm that defines so many caribbean genres. whereas you might count through a bar from a hip-hop or techno song (though not ALL of them) like this--12341234--you would more likely feel/count a reggaeton beat according to this kind of grouping: 12312312. it's all about where the accents cut across the overriding pulse of the song.

since most popular music is in the time signature of 4/4 (i.e., four beats of a quarter-note length per measure), adding accents on the downbeat, the (sub)beat just before beat 2, and the "and" of 3 (or the off/upbeat before beat 3) gives you the distinctive rhythmic pattern that we hear in reggae, reggaeton, salsa, son, soca, calypso, merengue, meringue, konpa, etc.

of course, i suppose this still sounds like a lot of musical gibberish. if we were in the same room, i could easily demonstrate the difference using fruityloops. check my lessons on hip-hop and dancehall to walk yourself through (and hopefully hear) these stylistic differences:

i hope to address and clarify some of these things in a future post, too.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i remember in the 90's there was this trend in europe (the netherlands) where dj's played their dancehall records on the wrong speed (speedy bubblin'); voices were all chipmunk sped up, but the crowds went wild for it at parties. with this bumped up bpm, they got to mix all the riddims with merengue/soca or even house music to cross genres without losing tempo or energy. it was perhaps the first time i noticed this similarity in syncopation you're talking about.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FL is the best thing around. That it gets no respect makes it even better.

8:42 AM  
Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

Great piece. Nice one.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I linked your article at my site, http://www.reggaetonation.com .. GREAT READ

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beyond brilliant article/post. I wish there was more analytical breakdowns like this in the 'blogosphere'. I'll be checkin in on the regular after this. Thanks again.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ayo, all this braggin about snares but why cant we hear em'...
i got the most snares out here cuz from
and if u hit me up at my e-mail i just might hook u up, persuade me..............and all yall cats that think yall have the talent, BATTLE ME BABY IM THE NICEST................................all cockyness aside really i got an offer from many labels
NONE please me im doin this on my own
one! pistakings@yahoo.com

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks man, from a panamanian who is so pleased to read that we in panama started out the spanish dance hall , now called regueton, big up to all the panamanian descents from jamaicans who still live in panama and love our culture.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It began in The Hague (Holland) in Club VOLTAGE in 1988 with Dj Moortje, MC Pester and MC Pret. From 1990 became this kind of dancing, together with the music very popular in all the big clubs in Holland. The tabloids and newspapers saw this,so called ,Bubbling as a new sexy style of dancing. Some say it first was an expression of hidden protest, born at the antillian youthculture.

Bubbling act at swing cafe La Vie en Rose during the 100% R&B party.
1.1 .Bubbling in the media and at the clubs. When they talk in the tabloids and newspapers about Bubbling, they mention always the way of dancing. They say that Bubbling is a girldance. No wonder that they call Bubbling dancing also “the art of the asturn” or “ erotic dancing” “soft porn” or “dry sex”. Bubbling means also competition. Almost every weekend there is a contest anywhere in the country, for the best Bubbling dancer, the best Bubbling Dj or the best Bubbling outfit. These contests usually announced weeks in front by flyers and posters, they tell wich Dj’s are perform and wich girlbands are coming and last but not least, how much money you can win. Only the dancing is rather new, because Raggamuffin, the music that comes with Bubbling, is nothing else but to play a 33speed record at 45speed together with digital Reggae-music mixed with Hip Hop. The Bubbling rythem sounds like Tambu, an old Antillian slavedance.

1.2 The musicstyle Raggamuffin is born in 1985 and has its roots from Jamaica. The Bubbling in Holland is rather different then the Bubbling in Jamaica and England, because in Holland the Bubbling is played at a much higher speed then anywhere else. This ‘so called’ Mickey Mouse style is coming from Holland. The founder of this uptempo Bubbling is DJ Moortje from Curacao. Since 1988 the most popular Bubbling Dj in Holland. He played by accident in a club a reggea song at the wrong speed and the crowd went crazy, so a new style was born and became a big success.

1.3 But Bubbling is more than a popular dance and a musicstyle, it is also an expression of protest, like Bubbling entertainers Rodrgo La Cruz and Reynaldo Chirino, alias MC Pester and MC Pret. They give a new meaning to this music style with there lyrics against the system in Holland and Curacao, the Police and Justice, discrimination and other topics. Also in there own comunity the people do not like them because of these lyrics.

1.4 .From 1990 Bubbling is played in all the big clubs in Holland with Dj’s like Dj Memmie, Dj Son and ofcourse Dj Moortje. But it began in The Hague at the Club Voltage in 1988 with Dj Moortje, MC Pester and MC Pret. From that moment this trio began to organize Bubbling partys. The people who came to the Bubbling partys where mostly mature Antillians from near The Hague. These Bubbling Partys were also social events.During these events the people talked about the problems they are faced with. While DJ moortje was playing the Bubbling records, MC Pester and MC Pret were doing there lyrics with the songs like “Balia Sanka” ( shake your ASS), a song MC Pester hase made during his period as a streetmusician.

1.5 .In the beginning the Bubbling-partys were not a big success, so the owner of Club Voltage organised Balia-Sanka partys, and gave a price to the best hips and ass swinging girl of the evening.. After that, the partys became a bigger success, and the crowd became much younger.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Vitriolix said...

great post, im going to have to read this blog regularly now...

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understood a lot of the mechanics of the style, but didn't know certain background / DJing aspects.

Showing appreciation :)

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i am a cuban reggaeton producer, i apreciate too much your study about reggaeton rythm, i study too the reggaeton production style, i im interested in in interchange some reggaeton samples, i am looking for a Kick modulated, in a clean form, and other clean sounds. I have a musical course for producing reggaeton. i hope you contacme soon. my email is:



11:38 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

i stand corrected on the south rakkas FL allegation: not just by dj c (see comment above) but by the south rakkas crew themselves. see here for the "corrakkasion."

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

REGGAETON EXPLOSION 2 COMING SOON 2006....................................................................................................................PENDIENTE.....................................................

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello wayne we got to link up trust me

9:10 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

yes, javid. thanks for the message. will write you back very soon. bless. -w

9:41 AM  
Blogger Hasan said...

Awesome post! It was really informative.

11:13 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

thanks all. glad to see this post remains a valuable resource for people learning about reggaeton. i continue to learn a lot myself. here's a link to my most recent take(s):

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey... lol I feel stupid... but the sounds (kick, snare) showed on the picture doesnt sound the same in my fruity loops. How can I change the sounds of the snare to make it more "reggaeton"? LOL thx for the answer...

10:49 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

no need to L too out L. that's a pretty good question. as you can see from the screenshot at the top of the post, reggaeton producers use a very specific - if large - pool of sounds, many of which are sampled from classic reggae riddims, such as the "dem bow" or the "bangara."

if you want to make the pattern really sound like reggaeton, you'll need to insert the right sounds. you might be able to find sample packs on the web at this point, but i'd suggest finding some classic late80s/early90s reggae riddims and grabbing some kicks, snares, etc.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo bruh i dont know u but i bet i make a better reggaeton beat den you holla at me and lemme know wuss up ight 1

7:47 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

you could be right, john. i don't really make reggaeton beats that often, but i try to listen closely to how other people make them. but what would you like to bet?

why don't you have any of your beats on your myspace page? if you put one of yours up, i can upload one to mine, and we can let the world decide. you see me? lemme know.


8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, i learned something new here today! i didn't know that it would sound better if you add the HighHat in that pattern. Well I have my own beats as well and i hope you can come and listen but that HighHat was ALOT of help and Thanks!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the energy you put into things.
Great text.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yo respect for your blog !! reggaeton rules.. check my latest production !!!

peace Cyron Florzinho

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn u rele kno ur music here. Yuh write a lot. Well im not gonna use samples anymore for reggaeton i startin fresh, like i do dancehall. Thx fi di lesson

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cares what people think of FL. Those with talent will continue to produce bangers. Those that suck can use Pro tools all day and still be crap. Reggaeton is cool and I remember it (spanish reggae) from the early 90's with artists like "El General". If you dont know what its about check out these Reggaeton Videos - Calle 13 are my fav right now.

9:54 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

thanks to all for the comments. i'm really glad people continue to find this a useful/interesting discussion of reggaeton well over a year after i posted it.

since people continue to find this post more readily than my other writings on reggaeton, allow me to point folks to some of those:

the rise of reggaeton
dembow legacies
!que reggaeton!

stay tuned. there will be more.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh if any of you guys can help a fella out, I've come close to, but not what I would call a satisfying, reggaeton sounding, snare. hit me over at djselectric@mail2world.com and let me know what you think. I've used tablas blended with a regular snare and I've used unison/chorus effects on three detuned snares of various pitches and original tension and STILL I dun like it.
and Wayne you are doing the world a service by going into this like a musicologist everyone can actually chill with and learn from while watching adult swim or something. very educational.

12:30 AM  
Blogger b-pac said...

I'm glad I read through to the end, Wayne, cos you hit it on the head when you said -

"it would seem only a matter of time before unremarkable synth textures and one-finger melodies are replaced by the vibrant strains of salsa samples, indian flutes, and whatever else one wants to fit into its solid template..."

Like UK drum'n'bass which was initially (some may say justifiably) hated by house and techno headz, reggaeton has some way to go before it finds the musicality it is capable of with such a rich latin heritage to learn from. All crafts start DIY before they go pro...


2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do ppl create that lil RAKATA sounding beat on a sequencer? and wut is the tempo.

11:07 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

sounds like you're looking to sequence the standard dembow pattern. check out dj harold's tutorial, which inludes the "rakata" pattern:

4:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do u think a gurl culd ever produce reggaaeton

5:59 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

of course!

5:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many dembows are there? how do u make dat 1 eat in ivy queen's song marroneo?

6:14 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

depends on what you mean by "dembow."

there's a lot going on in "marroneo" -- not all of it is dembow related. just the first main drum pattern, which uses sounds from the dembow riddim and also contains the dembow pattern as illustrated in dj harold's demo linked above. (but it also alternates with another set of snares, and then there's all that synth stuff.)

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

srry im juss a begginer so if u dnt mind me askin. wuts a synth?

10:21 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

"synth" is short for synthesizer -- simply a way of generating sound through (analog or digital) electronic technologies. you can learn more about synths all over the web, for instance:

the synths used in reggaeton come from many different places -- everything from the built-in instruments in fruityloops, to keyboards such as the korg triton, to "soft"/plug-in synths as produced by companies like native instruments or as packaged in music software like reason, logic, ableton live, etc.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are u going to post anymore of these things about reggaeton, and hip-hop soon or later in life?

6:50 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

FYI -- i'm still writing actively about reggaeton, hip-hop, reggae, and related musical issues, but i've moved the blog over to wayneandwax.com.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

c im so slow

11:08 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

no problem!

and you'll see over at the new site that you can click on tags for "hip-hop" or "reggaeton," which will allow you to see all posts related to that subject.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do u make reggaeton drum rolls like the ones between each pattern? also how do u make those snare roll thingy things like in the beginning of DON OMAR's song: Entre y tu or sumthin like dat? i really need da help also if u kno how to make that bachata melody thingy luny tunes use in sum of dey songs can u tell me?

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do u make that BAM BAM riddim in fl studios? if u have any info can u tell me?

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all very interesting. I want to create my own reggeaton and dancehall beats. Could someone plz break down the dem bow riddim for me? How do I program it into the computer or a sequencer like my Akai MPC? I have a Mac, so I can't run FL, but I have Cubase, Reason Adapted, Pro Tools, and of course, GarageBand. Can I use those programs like I would FL, or do I need to go get another program for the dem bow / reggaeton beat? Thanks.

11:35 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

All right, y'all, I appreciate all the queries, but this is not exactly a reggaeton how-to page. I'll indulge some of the latest questions briefly, though.

As for drum rolls and bachata melodies, these are not so easily made with something like FL. The best option is probably to sample some drum rolls and bachata lines from various recordings and to tweak them in order to make them your own.

As for making the Bam Bam riddim, pretty much the same thing holds: you're not going to be able to really make something that sounds like the Bam Bam without actually sampling the drums from the Bam Bam and then reconstructing the rhythms in a sequencer of some sort (again, while preferably adding your own touches).

As for making the dembow, see the link to DJ Harold's page above. He lays it out in a sequencer and you should be able to arrange such a sequence in any number of the programs that you mention. They don't all work like FL, but Reason also has a step sequencer and the other programs will allow you to arrange sounds in time, if without the help of a plug-n-play grid.

Hope that helps. Suerte!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what r sum tips to making a melody to go along with a reggaeton song

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said:
"adding accents on the downbeat, the (sub)beat just before beat 2, and the "and" of 3 (or the off/upbeat before beat 3) gives you the distinctive rhythmic pattern that we hear in reggae, reggaeton, salsa, son, soca, calypso,etc."

I don't quite get this but can you please help me what the most common time signature would be for Soca music?

7:51 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

The most common -- or really, the only -- time signature for soca is 4/4 (aka, "common time").

But that doesn't tell you very much. It's soca's (poly)rhythmic accents against the 4/4 -- what I'm calling 3+3+2 here -- which gives the genre it's distinctive rhythmic profile. If you can't understand what I mean by the description you quote, I would hope that the images and audio files above would help. Otherwise, I don't know what to tell you.

But you may find the additional examples here useful.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great blog, this article is hot. It's the best source out there for reggaeton on the web, real good info.

Wayne, do you still talk about reggaeton anywhere on the web?

For eveyone who found this article looking for wav samples: Go to http://reggaetonproducers.com/
Joining is easy, check it out if you need dembow loops, kicks, snares, everything for download.


1:44 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

Thanks for the good words, reggaetonproducers.com.

As I mention above, yeah, I'm still writing about reggaeton, but I've moved my blog. You can find my more recent reggaeton writings aqui:

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man - reaggaeton does have some gems - and I appreciate the article. But does no one appriate the layered SPANISH REGGAE scene in Latin America/Mexico. Let me school you on some people:
www.myspace.com/todostusmuertos [aka THE GOD FATHERS]
[contemporary and from puerto rico aka reggaeton paradise]

and a lot more. glad you got the convo going though!

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good point, Nati. Of course, I tend to follow dancehall/hip-hop-inflected reggae more than roots reggae, ska, etc., but it's definitely worth noting that the reggae scene in Latin America is LAAAARGE and longstanding. And I'd hate for Putumayo to have the last word on it (they recently released a "Latin Reggae" comp that's way too rosy and comfy for my tastes). Thanks for adding to the conversation.

1:46 PM  
Blogger hateration said...

what happened to the basic fruityloops lesson/ difference between hip-hop,techno, and reggae link? i would really like to see that again.

8:59 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

hi sam,

they've moved, i'm afraid. sorry about the broken links. you can now find my ol' FL lessons relocated here:

5:15 AM  
Blogger Santi said...

que articulo mas chevere y interesante chico. you're right about the reggaeton scene here in the UK... and it's not just chicos latinos, I've got Irish english, greek english, nigerian english friends all checking out fresh beats. Dunno about FL though, does just feel like a kiddies toy to me.

2:54 AM  

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