¡Ay Bendito! Puerto Rico’s Vibrant Music Scene

A rallying call to arms to fight for our future. Guerra by Chuwi is a must-listen. (Photo: Daniel Alfaro Rizek)

A mere 3.2 million people live in Puerto Rico and yet today, it’s a global powerhouse in the international music scene. The sunny Caribbean island is the birthplace of one of the world’s most popular music genres, reggaeton, and some of the globes most popular artists.

The success of Puerto Rican artists such as Bad Bunny, Rauw Alejandro, Ricky Martin, Daddy Yankee have shifted the dial, propelling Spanish-language music into the mainstream and making Latin urban a billion dollar music industry.

Dei V released his new album on June 14th.

Rapido (with Cris Mj) Dei V, Cris Mj

As Puerto Rico is the home of reggaeton, it’s only right that we start with some of that. Rápido is a track designed to get bodies perreando on the dance floor, and it makes a convincing case. Dei V is joined by Chilean rapper Cris MJ for a hook-laden collaboration over the familiar dembow beat. Dei V dropped his seminal album, ¿Quién es Dei V?, in June. 

Keyshla Somar, AKA Keysokeys, briefly tried her hand at music in 2016 but as a single mother, she had to press pause on her aspirations to focus on raising her child. The indie rapper officially relaunched her artist career in 2020 with Decline. She released her debut album InMortal in 2023, and the rising star now counts Young Miko and Bad Bunny among her fans. NAVEGANDO strikes a more reflective note, compared to her usual hard-hitting trap style. The track is about acceptance, as she rolls with life’s ebbs and flows, whatever they may bring.

Andres Cruz (Photo: Michael Álamo)

Caída — Andrea Cruz

In Caída, Cruz’s soft voice and the woody textures of the acoustic guitar wash over the listener. It’s a healing listening experience. The singer-songwriter shared the meaning behind her track, saying: “For me, the theme is reconciliation, with yourself and with the things that happen to us every day that are sometimes not so easy to accept […] the meaning of the verb to caer [to fall], is to leave something on the ground that had once been held. It leads me to think about our beliefs, ideologies, family, work contexts, and relationships, how sometimes you let yourself fall, and how you come to terms with that.”

sorry es que soy bipolarrr — ROBI, Young Miko

From her roots as a footballer and tattoo artist to Latin music sensation, Young Miko is one of the most exciting new voices in Puerto Rico. The 26-year-old features on fellow Puerto Rican newcomer ROBI’s single, sorry es que soy bipolarrr. She eschews her usual reggaeton and trap leanings in favour of sing-along pop rock. In typical Gen-Z fashion, this dilemma of mixed romantic feelings plays out via drunk texting each other on Instagram.

Guerra— Chuwi

Chuwi comprises siblings Willy, Lorén, Wester and Isabela, and their friend Adrian. Their EP Tierra is a concoction of Latin jazz, bolero, cumbia and alternative indie. Tracks like Mundi and Tierra dwell on the pull between their US and Hispanic identities, while Guerra is an impassioned prayer to the Haitian spirit Papa Candelo. Protest songs about the climate crisis are few and far between, so it’s refreshing to see Chuwi sound the alarm over the impending ecological disaster. Over feverish percussion, singer Isabela decries the depletion of natural resources, the microplastics in her veins and the rising sea levels swallowing her hometown. Guerra is a rallying call to arms to fight for our future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *