American Radio And Latin Music Is More Than Just Despacito

American Radio And Latin Music Is More Than Just Despacito

But it's also a little bit about Despacito.

Despacito. There. The elephant has been ADDRESSED, and I am here to tell you that there is way more to the Latin Music Industry than just this song. Lucky for you, I will be talking about exactly that. However, that does not intend to detract from Despacito’s importance either.

Before Justin Bieber slid his way into the Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee tune, the song was already a global hit. It’s worth mentioning that the original video has reached over 3.7 billion views as of September 20th, and does not have the Canadian singer even make a cameo. Why? Because Bieber is not the reason this is a hit (he “allegedly” jumped on the track after hearing Despacito in a club during his Latin American tour). Although Bieber’s appearance solidified it as a juggernaut in American radio, we’ll talk more about this later, the world was already hip to this style of music many in America cannot name: reggaeton.

Now, I too was not aware of just how global Latin American music was until I began taking a Latin Music Industry course at USC, instructed by Loren Medina. This is the first course of its kind to be taught at not only USC, but any college campus in the U.S. (if you know of another, I’ll wait). So, don’t feel bad for not knowing of its relevance. However, take the time to get familiar with it now, because it’s coming either way, and it’s amazing. I am lucky to get an insider view on the industry but, ANYWAY, back to matters at hand.

Born out of Panama and Puerto Rico, with heavy Jamaican and hip-hop influence, reggaeton has been ruling the insurgence of Latin American music around the world. Many reggaeton artists like Maluma, J Balvin, and the Despacito boys (am I allowed to call them that?) have been capitalizing on this, racking up hundreds of millions, if not billions, of views. BUT, you might be mulling over a question in your head similar to “Okay cool, issa global hit...but what does that mean for American Airwaves?”

I’m so glad you asked. Before Despacito, no primarily Spanish-speaking song had claimed the number one spot on the Billboard 100 since “La Macarena” in 1996. That’s about 21 years later. Or two decades. Two separate milleniums. Whatever you want to define it as, it is baffling. Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in America making up 17 percent of the population, and it’s high time that music starts reflecting that. The silver lining however, is that Despacito may have come at just the right time because of two genres BOOMING in the States: EDM and Mumble Rap.

We all know EDM and its power to make people dance and roll (on the ground..yea..on the ground), and mumble rap’s ability to do relatively the same thing, the additional factor being indecipherable lyricism (y’all do y’all though). BUT, do we know how it is subconsciously altering our perception of reality?

Look at how the producers of these genres, Skrillex, Metro Boomin, etc, even producers who are more-so “talent-wranglers”, have sky-rocketed to fame and success. It is because of the tracks they create. So, how do they get you, and myself, to ATTEMPT to scream the lyrics and shake our bums to it even though we legitimately might not know what it is they’re saying? Did someone say “Work”?* It’s not because we are drones or robotic, it is because we are becoming desensitized to the importance of lyrics (kind of sad for songwriting, but that’s another issue). For it to be a commercial pop hit it just needs to be catchy, and have a danceable track. This sounds as if it comes with a negative connotation, but I mean it in the most positive way.

Because we are getting away from lyrics, we are also moving away from language BARRIERS, which are ultimately what is keeping Spanish-speaking hits, like Despacito, out of the top of the charts in America without remixes. Despacito more than likely would have performed well on the charts, it was approaching the top 40 before Bieber hopped on, but it would never have had the reign at number one it did without the help of an English-speaker(ing) collab. This is evident with previous Spanish-speaking U.S. number ones like La Bamba and La Macarena also..all remixes.

If American music continues down this road, then it is conceivable to imagine a Billboard number one single being completely in Spanish, no remix, hopefully within the next couple years. However, we will probably see a lot more songs follow the path of Despacito before that happens.

So, if I leave you with anything, I want to say that this is something you want to be a part of. Latin music is great music, and it’s so fun to explore sounds and artists that you might never get to know if it weren’t for the help and accessibility of streaming, the internet, and all that millennial gizmo junk. Happy hearing. And if you speak spanish, happy listening.

*"Work" is a WORK of art that people don’t understand the lyricism of because it is partially in Jamaican patois.

Cover Image Credit: Google/Billboard

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If Jay Gatsby Got A Do Over

What if there was a redo button for our tragic hero?

My all time-favorite story by FAR has always been The Great Gatsby. I was that nerd in high school who poured through the pages of the book wanting more and more, just wanting Gatsby and Daisy to end up together. That book has taught me more about life and relationships than anything else in the world.

So recently I started to think, what if the story ended differently? What if the characters chose differently, what would happen? If anyone in the book deserves a do-over, I believe it's Gatsby himself. The guy pines over the love of his life for five years, only to discover that she's not only a horrible person, but married, and using him when they finally have the opportunity to be together. That, sucks.

But what would he do with a do over? As a lover of the book, it's really hard for me to imagine this. How far would he go back to change things?

What if he never met Daisy? What if he never had "the one"? The story would be incredibly boring for one. For two, what is the point of it all then? Yes, he might not get heartbroken, he might avoid a lot of awkward conversations, and he probably wouldn't get shot at the end (sorry, spoiler), but what would all his success have been for?

I think F. Scott Fitzgerald was trying to teach us through Gatsby and Daisy that worldly possessions are nice, but what are they worth if you have no one to share it with?

It's interesting to imagine Gatsby still being the poor boy that he was meant to grow up as, and trying to win Daisy's affection still. As the person she grew up to be, she would never have even looked in his direction. But what then? Would he have ended up with someone else? Someone more real, down to earth, and sensible?

Gatsby's fears are realized at the end of the story, he dies alone. His chance with Daisy is gone. I like to think that if he had not attracted so much of that fear into his life, he may have had the opportunity to live happily.

All in all, if a do over was possible, this would not be the story we all know and love. I believe that is part of the lesson, things happen for a reason. There aren't always happy endings, and we have to learn to be okay with that because that's how life is.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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20 Times 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Accurately Represented College Life

Unbreakable but rarely feeling that way... sums up college.

If you've never seen "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix, it is definitely worth a watch! Funny and relatable characters deal with everyday problems as well as some pretty unique ones with humor and bravery. Though it's called "unbreakable" these characters totally relate to the same struggles us college kids experience on the daily. Here are 20 times "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" accurately represented college life.

1. When you first get on campus

2. When you consider going somewhere for dinner

3. Trying to meet new people like

4. When people are trying to hand you flyers around campus

5. Feeling like a grown up and hating it

6. Sitting through a vocab-heavy class

7. Walking through the rain across campus

8. When you have your second exam of the day

9. Discussing politics in class

10. When someone is being fake AF

11. Drinking for the first time

12. When you have to listen to a monotone lecture at 8 am

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14. When you know you're gonna ace that test

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Cover Image Credit: Universal Television

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