Alive With Ivy Queen
August 4, 2005
Like rap before it, reggaetón isn't easy to navigate: The bins are full of albums on little-known labels, quick-hit compilations and dubious live recordings. Where to start? Here are few records to check out:
Tego Calderón, "El Enemy de los Guasíbiri" (Jiggiri).
This greatest-hits collection comes just in time to introduce Calderón, one of reggaetón's earliest adopters, to American audiences. With a lazy-but-tough rap style (shades of Biggie?), Calderón straddles the line between reggaetón, rap and Latin hip-hop: Check out "Cerca de mi Neighborhood" and "Gatas Gozan."
Daddy Yankee, "Barrio Fino" (Universal).
Yes, "Gasolina" is on here, but there are also 20 other tracks to show why Yankee is reggaetón's biggest star. If the language barrier is a problem, try the track "Like You," in which Yankee holds it down in English and Spanish, with a nod to Big Pun (a fellow Puerto Rican, or "boricuan").
Ivy Queen, "Real" (Universal).
Say it: "ee-vee queen." One of reggaeton's only female stars, Ivy Queen dabbles in dance music and American-style hip-hop, too. She also sounds as hard-hitting as any of her male peers. Check out the electro-crunch of "Soldados" and the snaky funk of "Quitate Two."
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