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The Rise Of Urbano In The 2010s: An Alt.Latino/All Songs Considered Crossover

Luis Fonsi (left) and Daddy Yankee perform "Despacito" during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018.
Luis Fonsi (left) and Daddy Yankee perform "Despacito" during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018.

It's almost always impossible to pinpoint an exact moment in music history when the plates shift. But looking back at the last decade in Latin music, it's easy, now, to see that the release of "Despacito" by Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi in early 2017 was just such a moment.

To say it was a hit is a gross understatement. Over the course of several weeks and months, "Despacito" went on to practically break the Internet, with a record number of YouTube views from around the globe (currently hovering around six billion) and more than a billion streams on Spotify.

But as we discuss in this week's Alt.Latino/All Songs Considered collaboration, "Despacito" was more than a very popular hit song. It was the culmination of a decade-long rise of sociological and musical forces that eventually birthed and cemented a style now called urbano, or "Latin Urban." Spanish-language artists from just about every corner of Latin America and Spain took reggaeton and ran with it, adding elements of hip-hop, R&B and soul.

Felix Contreras joins All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen to look back at the decade and play some music samples from this period of profound transition in Latinx music.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.