Reggaeton seems to have taken the world by storm in 2017, particularly in the wake of the global mega-hit that was Despacito. Colombia might not be the home of reggaeton, but there are excellent reggaeton artists throughout the country nonetheless, from established global superstars to hungry up-and-comers. So here are 10 Colombian reggaeton artists you should be listening to.
The Colombian reggaeton artist who really needs no introduction: the hit machine that is J. Balvin. This Medellin-born reggaeton superstar has a number of massive hits to his name, including 6 AM, Ay Vamos and, of course, the global smash hit Mi Gente. This last track solidified J. Balvin’s reputation as the hottest artist in reggaeton right now: it was the number one song in the world in August according to the Spotify Global Top 50, and the remix featuring Beyonce reached the US Top 10.
Another Medellin reggaeton artist with a strong global reputation, Maluma is more of a reggaeton singer than a rapper, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been responsible for some absolutely huge tunes! Credited with evolving the reggaeton genre thanks to his broader musical interests – including mambo and merengue – Maluma’s music is naturally indebted to reggaeton, but there’s a lot more to him as an artist.
Kevin Roldán was born in Cali and has been performing since he was just 13 years old. With a string of hits to his name – including Salgamos, Una Noche Mas and Me Matas – he is particularly beloved by a number of football players. He was invited to Cristiano Ronaldo’s birthday party and has been mentioned by James Rodriguez and Gerard Pique, among others.
Farina is one of the pioneers of the reggaeton genre in Colombia and, in a genre largely dominated by male artists, was one of the first women to make reggaeton songs in the entire country. She has been making popular songs since back in 2005, but remains active to this day, being nominated as an Artist of Tomorrow at the 2016 Grammy Awards, as well as signing for Roc Nation Latin in 2017.
Feid is a young reggaeton singer and songwriter: he may have only started his singing career back in 2015, but reggaeton aficionados will surely be familiar with some of his lyrics. Remember J. Balvin’s massive hit Ginza and it’s instantly iconic chorus: “Si te gusta el reggaeton…” – Feid was one of the composers of the track and has also written songs for Nicky Jam, Alberto Style, Magnate and Valentino y Reykon, along with his own solo material.
At just 17 years of age, Manuel Turizo – born and raised in the Caribbean coastal city of Monteria, before relocating to Colombian reggaeton mecca Medellin in 2016 – is the talented wunderkind of Colombian reggaeton, and is surely on the path to superstardom. His 2016 single Una lady como tú was the track that really broke him into the mainstream, and it currently has almost half-a-billion views on YouTube!
Although Legarda was born in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, he moved to Atlanta 15 years ago, and the influence of the US city’s hip-hop and R&B scene on his music and style is unmistakable. One of the more eclectic Colombian reggaeton artists out there today, his remix version of J. Balvin’s Ay vamos led to a deal with Sony Records, a move back to Colombia, and a few million views on the video for his single Ya Estoy Mejor.
Born in the Coffee Region city of Pereira, Jaycob Duque is another Colombian reggaeton artist who started young and has since made big waves in the Colombian music scene. His first single A Fuego Lento featured popular Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Arcangel: quite the coup for a young artist just starting out on the scene.
Valenti had quite the itinerant childhood: born to an Italian father and Colombian mother, he spent his early years moving between Milan and Medellin. He was also a talented footballer, playing for Medellin side Envigado, and even the reserve team for AC Milan. He then decided to give music a go, and his debut single Muévete Así came out earlier this year and featured a cameo from veteran artist Cheka.
At just 25 years of age, Karol G is the great female hope in a genre that is still overwhelmingly dominated by male artists and perspectives. She may have started out as a contestant in a children’s reality TV talent show, but don’t write her off. Since 2012 she has collaborated with such reggaeton luminaries as Reykon, De la Ghetto, Ozuna and Nicky Jam, and has well over 60 million YouTube views, making her easily the most well-known and respected new female artists in Colombian reggaeton.