Criteria: Songs and Artists are ranked based on their international popularity, impact, credibility and historical regional importance.
Edited By: Jose Luis Mercado
Last Updated: 2011-09-15
Background: The term urban was initially used commercially by the music industry since the mid 2000's (in the United States created the term "Hurban"), but artists and audiences have accepted the term to give it a pan-Latino context that turns on the grassroots of hip hop in Latin America and does not deny the influences that have been embraced since the mid 80's, as the connection of reggae in Panama or the Latin Alternative movement in South America. All this has resulted in heterogeneous cultures that claims their own features.
Latin rap has evolved over disjointed scenes by different countries. Scenes such as Mexico and Chile have been more influenced by bands from the U.S. scene (such as Cypress Hill), while countries as Colombia and Cuba have been more influenced by the scene of Latin alternative music. On the other hand, Puerto Rico -the first country which rap was introduced- and Panama have had a symbiotic coexistence with the movement of "reggae en español" (especially ragga and dancehall) which evolution gave birth to reggaeton, a genre that have had a commercial boom over all the Americas. Very few artists have had international recognition and credibility at a time, but some of his songs have been become anthems of the Latin urban movement, among hip hop, latin alternative rap and raggaeton songs.
1. Vico C - La recta final (1989) 2. Control Machete - Comprendes Mendez (1996) 3. Calle 13 - Se vale to-to (2005) 4. Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas - Abarajame (1995) 5. El General - Muévelo (1991) 6. Orishas - A lo cubano (1999) 7. Tego Calderón - Pa' que retozen (2002) 8. Ruben DJ - La escuela (1985) 9. Tiro de Gracia - El juego verdadero (1997) 10. Tempo - Ven y vuela (1999) 11. Daddy Yankee - Gasolina (2004) 12. Mala Rodriguez - Tengo un trato (2000) 13. Don Omar - Dale Don Dale (2003) 14. Control Machete - Sí señor (1999) 15. Wisin & Yandel - Rakata (2005) 16. Vico C - Tony Presidio (1990) 17. Akwid - No hay manera (2003) 18. Calle 13 - Atrevete-te-te (2005) 19. Los Tetas - Corazón de sandía (1995) 20. Ana Tijoux - 1977 (2009) 21. Don Omar - Reggaetón latino (2005) 22. Los Aldeanos - Aveces sueño (2003) 23. El General - Te ves buena (1990) 24. Cartel de Santa - Perros (2002) 25. Nando Boom - Enfermo de amor (1990) 26. Makiza - La rosa de los vientos (1999) 27. Vico C - Bomba para afincar (1991) 28. Wisin & Yandel feat Daddy Yankee, Tony Tun Tun, Baby Ranks & Hector El Father - Mayor que yo (2005) 29. Tres Coronas - Falsedades (2001) 30. Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas - Coolo (1999) 31. Big Boy - Mis ojos lloran por ti (1996) 32. Calle 13 - Querido FBI (2005) 33. Tego Calderón - Punto y aparte (2004) 34. Wiso G - Me levanto los domingos (1994) 35. Daddy Yankee - Rompe (2005) 36. Orishas - Represent (1999) 37. Julio Voltio - Mambo (2004) 38. Choc Quib Town - De donde vengo yo (2009) 39. Mala Rodriguez - Por la noche (2007) 40. Tempo - Amén (2001) 41. Eddie Dee feat. Gallego, Vico C, Tego Calderón, Julio Voltio, Zion & Lennox, Daddy Yankee, Ivy Queen, Johnny Prez, Nicky Jam and Wiso G - Quitate tú pa ponerme yo (2004) 42. Vico C - Explosión (1993) 43. Cypress Hill - No entiendes la onda (1999) 44. Kinto Sol - El capitan (2001) 45. Eddie Dee - Señor Oficial (1996) 46. Control Machete - Así son mis días (1996) 47. Renato - El D.E.N.I. (1985) 48. Ivy Queen feat Wyclef Jean - In the zone (1998) 49. El General - Tu pum pum (1988) 50. Tego Calderón - Abayarde (2002) 51. Don Chezina - Chezidón (1998) 52. Lisa M - Trampa (1991) 53. Calle 13 - Que lloren (2008) 54. Actitud Maria Marta - Hijo mío (2002) 55. Orishas - El kilo (2005) 56. Dyablo - El juego de la vida (2002) 57. Lito y Polaco - Mundo frío (2002) 58. Akwid - Jamás imaginé (2004) 59. Latin Fresh - Tranquilo (1996) 60. Luny Tunes feat. Daddy Yankee, Wisin & Yandel, Hector El Father, Tony Tun Tun and Zion - Noche de entierro (2006)
Greatest Songs of US Latin Rap / Latinos in Hip Hop Music
1. Cypress Hill - Latin lingo (1991) 2. Kid Frost - La raza (1990) 3. Mellow Man Ace - Mentirosa (1989) 4. Big Pun feat. Fat Joe - Twins (1998) 5. The Mean Machine - Disco dream (1981) 6. The Beatnuts - Watch out now (1999) 7. Funkdoobiest - Bow wow wow (1993) 8. A Lighter Shade of Pale - On a Sunday afternoon (1995) 9. Fat Joe - Flow Joe (1993) 10. Spanish Fly & the Terrible Two - Spanglish (1981) 11. Immortal Technique - Dance with the devil (2001) 12. Cypress Hill - Insane in the brain (1993) 13. Delinquent Habits - Tres delincuentes (1996) 14. The Mexakinz - Phonkie melodia (1993) 15. Funky Aztecs feat. 2Pac - Slippin' into darkness (1996) 16. Big Pun - Still not a player (1998) 17. N.O.R.E. feat. Daddy Yankee and Nina Sky - Oye mi canto (2004) 18. Kid Frost - No sunshine (1992) 19. Chino XL - Nunca (2001) 20. The Psycho Realm - Scandalous (1994) 21. Funkdoobiest - Rock on (1995) 22. Latin Alliance - Low rider (1991) 23. Cypress Hill - How I could just kill a man (1991) 24. The Beatnuts feat Big Pun and Cuban Link - Off the book (1997) 25. South Park Mexican - High so high (1999) 26. Cuban Link feat D'Mingo - Flowers to the dead (2000) 27. Johnny J - Get away from me (1994) 28. Lil Rob - Summer night (2005) 29. The Real Roxanne - Roxanne on a roll (1988) 30. Tony Touch feat Nina Sky and B-Real - Play that song (2005)
TOP 20 - LATIN RAP ARTISTS
TOP 20 - US LATIN RAP ARTISTS
1. Vico C 2. Control Machete 3. Orishas 4. Tego Calderón 5. Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas 6. Tempo 7. Calle 13 8. Akwid 9. Tiro de Gracia 10. Ruben DJ 11. Cartel de Santa 12. Makiza 13. Tres Coronas 14. Kinto Sol 15. Dyablo 16. Los Aldeanos 17. La Etnnia 18. Crooked Stilo 19. Sindicato Argentino del Hip Hop 20. Boca Floja
1. Cypress Hill 2. Big Pun 3. Kid Frost 4. Mellow Man Ace 5. The Beatnuts 6. A Lighter Shade of Pale 7. Fat Joe 8. Immortal Technique 9. Funkdoobiest 10. Pyscho Realm 11. N.O.R.E. 12. Tony Touch 13. Delinquent Habits 14. Chino XL 15. A.L.T 16. Johnny J. 17. The Real Roxanne 18. South Park Mexican 19. Cuban Linx 20. Lil' Rob
TOP 10 - REGGAETON ARTISTS
TOP 10 - PANAMANIAN "SPANISH REGGAE" ARTISTS
1. Daddy Yankee 2. Don Omar 3. Tego Calderón 4. Wisin & Yandel 5. Ivy Queen 6. Hector & Tito 7. Zion & Lennox 8. Baby Rasta & Gringo 9. Don Chezina 10. Big Boy
1. El General 2. Nando Boom 3. Renato 4. Aldo Ranks 5. Kufu Banton 6. La Factoría 7. Eddy Lover 8. El Roockie 9. Nigga (DJ Flex) 10. Latin Fresh
TOP 10 - CHICANO RAP ARTISTS
TOP 10 - SPANISH RAP ARTISTS
TOP 10 - BRAZILIAN RAP ARTISTS
1. Kid Frost 2. Lil Rob 3. Lighter Shade of Pale 4. Brownside 5. B-Real 6. Pyscho Realm 7. Akwid 8. Mr. Capone-E 9. Delinquent Habits 10. Mr. Shadow
1. SFDK 2. Violadores del Verso 3. Mala Rodriguez 4. CPV 5. 7 Notas 7 Colores 6. Nach 7. Solo los Solo 8. Frank T 9. Tote King 10. La Excepción
1. Mc Racionais 2. Gabriel, O Pensador 3. MV Bill 4. Facção Central 5. Marcelo D2 6. Thaíde & DJ Hum 7. Face da Morte 8. Sabotage 9. Consciência Humana 10. GOG
TOP 10 - LATIN URBAN POP ARTISTS
Artists that combine different latin amercan styles - especially caribbean (bachata, merengue, etc)- with R&B or pop rap music and their lyrics are more oriented to popular love songs and party anthems getting success into the commercial radio stations.
1. Aventura 2. Pitbull 3. Proyecto Uno 4. RKM & Kenn-Y 5. Ilegales 6. Don Omar 7. Tito El Bambino 8. Chino y Nacho 9. Arcangel 10. Nigga (DJ Flex)
Vico C and El General are considered as "The Fathers of Reggaeton" but his influences have been different during their music careers. Vico C was inspired by The Old School American Rap and El General initially took as music reference the Jamaican dancehall.
Although Vico C was the first act to get into the US Latin Billboard charts, the first album that achieves more than half a million copies were Control Machete's "Mucho Barato" (1996) which obtained many gold records in several Latin American countries.
MTV has been important in the broadcast of latin urban music. In 1995, the videoclip "Abarajame" of Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas had a heavy rotation on MTV Latin America. El General's "Muévelo" won 1991 Video Music Awards for MTV Internacional category and in last years Daddy Yankee and Wisin & Yandel have been nominated in major categories on the VMA's.
During 2008 and 2010 there was a Latin Urban Album category at the Grammy Awards. The only winners were Calle 13 and Wisin & Yandel. Another acts like Vico C, Akwid or Ana Tijoux have been nominated for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album in other years.
Mala Rodriguez was the first artist to make the crossover from Spain to the Americas and has collaborated with artists like Vico C, Tego Calderon and Calle 13.
While reggaeton is a genre widely throughout Latin America, some acts -especially outside the Caribbean area-, reject it for its banality and promote promiscuity. However, the most popular reggaeton artists have put aside those lyrics to get into commercial radio stations.
Toy Selectah, ex-member of Control Machete, says that Machete Music (an urban music label owned by Universal Music Group that signed acts like Wisin & Yandel and Don Omar) took the name of the band because of an idea of its president Gustavo Lopez, while he was working on it as an A&R.
Cypress Hill was the only band to record rap albums in both English and Spanish and entering the Billboard charts with all its records. Collaborations are so diverse that include artists such as Fermin IV (ex-Control Machete), Psycho Realm, Tego Calderón or Pitbull.