Colombian pop singer, Manuel Medrano, made a heavy claim a few days ago. He sent out a tweet in Spanish, which has stirred up a lot of emotions. He stated that J Balvin had transformed reggaeton. His complete tweet translates to the following:
“If J Balvin hadn’t transformed reggaeton at the time, that genre would have ended a while ago, that man is the true boss of that music today.”
Almost immediately, people started to come after him for making such claims. For example, Twitter user @tocamimadera said that his tweet was disrespectful to “Puerto Ricans artists who live and create reggaeton.”
They continued, “Puerto Rico is the center and cradle of reggaeton and J Balvin (a foreigner who makes pop music) does not dictate the success of our art.”
Esto es una falta de respeto a todos los artistas boricuas que vivimos y creamos reggaeton porque es nuestra herencia cultural y nos rodea día a día. Puerto Rico es el centro y la cuna del reggaeton y JBalvin (un extranjero que hace música pop) no dicta el éxito de nuestro arte
— Ana Fockin' Macho! (@tocamimadera) January 15, 2023
On the other hand, Twitter user @eljadeanteed said sent out a tweet somewhat agreeing with Medrano. (The tweet has been roughly translated from Spanish.)
“You are partly right, brother. With the Trap era, Reggaeton declined a lot and it was J Balvin who brought perreo to the streets and that was when he began to have his greatest moment! J Balvin brought many things to the game, he helped the industry.”
En parte tienes razón hermano. Cuando la época del Trap el Reggaeton decayó mucho y fue J Balvin sacando Reggaeton que trajo perreo para la calle y fue cuando empezó a tener su mayor momento! J Balvin trajo muchas cosas al juego, ayudo a la industria.
— ᴰᴵᴱᴳᴼ (@eljadeanteed) January 15, 2023
Shortly after, Medrano tweeted a response to the massive criticism he was receiving from his original tweet. “The sheep of hate are the most manipulable humans in the world, obviously this tweet was for you. Welcome to your eternity, you will never get here… I don’t see a single interesting person who is commenting something negatively… Keep drowning in your own flames.”
Los borregos del hate son los humanos más manipulables del mundo, obvio este tuit era para uds, bienvenidos a su eternidad, uds nunca van a llegar aquí… No veo una sola persona interesante comentando algo negativo… Sigan ahogándose en la hoguera de su propio ardor… 😂
— Eterno (@manuelmedrano) January 15, 2023
Medrano’s tweet caught the eye of the Puerto Rican entertainer, Chente Ydrach, who recently released a new podcast episode where he discussed the matter with Scoffield, commonly known as Realengo. They both talked about what the Colombian singer meant to say while unpacking the tweet. Realengo, the self-proclaimed “inflowencer,” recognized that J Balvin is not the one who founded reggaeton.
However, he said it was important to understand how J Balvin allowed reggaeton to enter the mainstream industry – at least in recent years. Regardless, he thinks that even if Balvin wouldn’t have been at the forefront of this modern transformation, reggaeton would have survived – it wouldn’t have died as Medrano tweeted a few days ago. He also credits Colombian reggaeton artists for making reggaeton more appealing to the pop world, hence spearheading a transformation of reggaeton.
The roots of reggaeton
It is important to have this discourse because it’s another opportunity to remind the world of the roots of reggaeton. Reggaeton is inherently Afro. Its beginning is intertwined with the infectious kick drum rhythm, which traveled to Jamaica. Thus, adopting subtle reggae vibes into it. It then made its way to Panama, where greats such as El General, El Chombo, and Renato are from. Not giving credit where credit is due is a form of erasure, and in this case, erasure of the Afro-Latine community in the music industry.
It is true, Daddy Yankee and Nicky Jam popularized reggaeton in the early 2000s, but let’s not forget who forged their path.
J Balvin has yet to respond to Medrano’s tweet – and we doubt he will.
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