The Death of Reggaeton
“They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.” — Jean-Paul Sartre
You’ll recall that several months ago (way back in March), in a post on this site, I wondered whether or not reggaeton might eventually come to replace hip-hop. After all, if the Clear Channels of the world (i.e. the people who run hip-hop) replaced rock stations with reggaeton stations, and the reggaeton stations are beating out hip-hop stations in the ratings, what’s there to suggest that the TIs won’t replace the hip-hop stations as well?
As it turns out, I may have been worrying a bit too soon. In the best news I’ve heard since the BGM gave me a gift certificate to Applebees for Christmas, it seems that reggaeton is losing steam. Big time. Word to Peter Gabriel. It ain’t dead yet, but the hype is beginning to fade. Radio stations that dropped modern rock and easy listening formats in favor of reggaeton are beginning to see their ratings plummet. A few of them have already dropped reggaeton in favor of salsa music. While I’d much rather hear Air Supply than whoever it is that makes salsa music, this should still be viewed as a step in the right direction.
The problem with reggaeton, it seems, is that there are only five reggaeton songs, and none of them are particularly worth listening to. Hispanics, who are a very proud people (hence the flags on their cars and what have you), were willing to patronize these artists for quite some time out of a sense of racial pride, but even they have a limit. Also, even at the rate that hispanics tend to procreate, it’s going to be difficult for the genre to experience any significant growth unless it expands outside the hispanic community. Black people don’t like “Rompe.” White people don’t like “Rompe.” And there aren’t too many reggaeton songs that aren’t “Rompe.”
Rompe, rompe, rompe!
That said, it’d be naive of us to think that we’re out of the woods just yet when it comes to “latin” music in general. According to the oft-quoted statistic, which may or may not have been invented by Pat Buchanan, the United States will be fifty percent Mexican by 2050. Reggaeton might end up going the way of rap-rock just by virtue of the fact that it sucks; but unless we put up a fence or something, we should probably get used to hearing some form of awful hispanic music. In fact, there may very well be a day when the hip-hop community looks back fondly on the brief period in which reggaeton ruled the airwaves.
In other words, we really do need a fence!