In the early 2000s, if you were in your teens or older, you probably knew who Ivy Queen, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Tego Calderon were.
Did you know that during the time Reggaeton was on the rise, there were Latinos killin’ it in Electronic Music as Remixers, DJ’s and producers?
In fact, Latinos have been important in music involving DJ’s since the inception of both arts.
Since we have so much content regarding Reggaeton & Latin Trap these days, I’d like to take this time to give some Latinos in Dance music their flowers.
Back when Hip Hop was young and learning how to walk, there was a young man named Dj Charlie Chase. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because he was a part of
Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Furious Five.’ That was all in the 70’s and 80’s.
Latinos have been heavily involved in the rise of Dance music, Pop music and Hip Hop.
Legends like ‘Masters At Work’ from New York have made a huge mark in music across many genres for decades.
Little Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez are the members of the Grammy award winning duo from The Bronx and Brooklyn, New York. They’ve worked with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Donna Summer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Daft Punk, Bjork among many other big names. Can you imagine what the bag looked like when they got paid for working with those names?
My favourite song by the duo has to be ‘Deep Inside.’ The first time I listened to this song, I was with a group of friends and I swear we played that track about 20 times back to back. You know who recently sampled this filthy track? Kanye West in ‘Fade.’
We also have ‘The Martinez Brothers.’ They are The Bronx born brothers but of Puerto Rican descent. They were signed by legendary DJ ‘Dennis Ferrer’ and their careers took off from there. They held down a residency in Ibiza, Spain for 10 years. Talk about job security! They began to see commercial success when in 2012, RIM (Blackberry) chose them for a commercial to try and reach a new audience for their products. One of my favourite songs they’ve been a part of is ‘Together- Carnage, The Martinez Brothers, Elderbrook, Mike Dean.’
Deorro. He’s a Producer who’s in his own lane. He’s a Mexican American DJ/Producer who’s real name is Erick Orrosquieta. One of my favourite songs by him is ‘5 Hours.’ It was later re-released in 2014 featuring Chris Brown on the vocals. I personally like the version without Chris Brown. Music taste is subjective, don’t come for me. Other songs to check out by Deorro: Amanecer, Bailar Ft. Elvis Crespo, Se Vuelve Loca Ft Gente De Zona.
There’s a huge misconception about EDM but specifically House and Techno music. It has been unfairly and wrongly labeled “white people music.” Just like Elvis Presley didn’t invent Rock and Roll, the same is the truth about House and Techno. It’s unfortunate but there has been a constant anti-Black, anti-Latino approach to modern Western music and its origins. We are living in a time when we have all the access in the world to information yet choose to not use those tools and believe what we’re told without questioning.
The beginnings of House Music began with Chicago’s DJ Frankie Knuckles. The term “house” came from the name of the club where he DJ’d called The Warehouse. It was a predominantly Black and Gay club but given the fact that it was in Chicago, it was also frequented by Latinos. Quickly heading over to 1980s Detroit, we have an African-American man named Juan Atkins as the founder of Techno music. The music was hugely embraced in the UK. For many reasons including lack of access to expensive producing equipment is the probable reason why House music blew up there at a larger scale than in the USA.
Last but definitely not least, we have an amazing D/Producer from New York, NY. He goes by the name JOESKI. He has Colombian roots and he really displays his Latino heritage through his music. I first heard about him when he was booked to perform at Sydney Blu’s ‘Blu Party’ in Toronto, Canada back in June of 2016. “Summer 16” wasn’t just about Drake. House music was on fire that summer as well. The vibe was amazing. The venue (Sunnyside Pavilion) is one of the nicest and intimate outdoor venues I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited.
When JOESKI came on stage, I saw this heavily tattooed man dressed in black with some dope shades ready to rock the crowd. I couldn’t believe how dope his set was. One of the best DJ performances I’ve ever experienced. JOESKI produces House music with Tribal elements with many famous samples. One of the most recognizable samples he’s flipped is ‘Periodico De Ayer by Hector Lavoe.’ It’s such an excellent song. You definitely need to check it out. His music really makes you feel like you’re in a jungle or Amazon setting. Songs you must check out by him are: Dia De Ayer, Tierra Linda, Traicion, El Santo, Pasteles and Soy Latino.
Because of the contributions of so many Black and Latino producers and DJs, we have this beautiful music that pounds that four on the floor beat throughout the night in clubs all around the world.
In most recent instances, we’ve had House elements find their way into Reggae en Español from Panama in the early 90’s to Puerto Rico with DJ Blass and others using elements of House when they started producing music using FL Studio music software. Fast forward to modern day Reggaeton and you’ll still find heavy influences of classic House in songs such as Black Eyed Peas collab with J. Balvin in Ritmo (Bad Boys For Life).
I can only hope that this blog post opened your curiosity to check out music by the DJ/Producers that were mentioned. There’s such an enormous amount of music to explore outside of what you hear on Top 40 radio. Latinos are winning in the House music/EDM scene. We are very adaptable people with soul and a good ear for music.
Here are other Latino DJ’s in House and Techno you should check out: Mariana Bo (Mexico), Carl Nunes (Guatemala), Luciano (Chile), Mario Ochoa (Colombia), Sinvergüenza (Colombia/Italy)
Written By: Mario Funes
@wokeuparebel on Instagram