We’re only three years into the decade, but Latine artists have been really killing it in the 2020s. In 2022, these genres, often lumped together under the umbrella term Latin music, became the fourth-most popular genre in the United States, surpassing country temporarily for the first time. Acts like Bad Bunny, Shakira, and Brent Fiyaz have been consistently dominating the charts. And while we’re only a few months into 2023, Latine artists have already been serving new hits that secure their place at the top.
In 2022, Bad Bunny’s World’s Hottest Tour set the global record for the highest-grossing tour in a calendar year, earning more than $435 million across 81 shows. The Un Verano Sin Ti rapper-singer was heralded as the first Spanish-language artist in Grammy history to be nominated in the coveted Album of the Year category at the 65th awards ceremony. According to Luminate’s Year-End Music Report, fellow Puerto Rican wordsmith Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Encanto also became the second best-selling digital album of 2022, with its catchy “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” emerging as the most consumed digital song of the year. And in 2023 already, Colombian pop empress Shakira set a new Spotify record for the most-streamed Latin track in a single day with “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.”
"Tamo En Nota" by Rauw Alejandro and Angel Dior
Worlds collide in Rauw Alejandro and Ángel Dior’s “Tamo En Nota,” a dembow that leans on the electronic side while employing Dior’s frantic cadence. The song’s visuals were captured in La 42 in the Capotillo sector of Santo Domingo, a Dominican barrio often propped up by many of Dior’s music colleagues and other burgeoning dembow artists. In addition to Alejandro’s recent cosign, Dior was invited on stage by Bad Bunny during his tour stop in the Dominican Republic last October, and El Alfa tapped the rising rapper on “Selfies con Tres Millones” the following month.
"X Si Volvemos" by Karol G and Romeo Santos
Days after the Colombian star announced her upcoming album, Mañana Será Bonito, Karol G premiered its lead single featuring Romeo Santos. The Ovy on the Drums-produced record was originally teased on TikTok before the King of Bachata was invited to christen the mid-tempo reggaeton number with his signature dulcet vocals. With G’s collaboration, Santos earned his first debut in the Top 10 on Hot Latin Songs since 2017. Mañana Será Bonito follows the 2021 Grammy-nominated KG0516, which earned G her first No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Latin Albums.
"Albaricoque" by Brray
The Puerto Rican rapper called “Albaricoque” the unofficial anthem of SanSe, referring to the popular Puerto Rican carnival, short for Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. The song samples the classic “Voy Subiendo” by Plena Libre. The record’s official album cover pays homage to reggaeton pioneer Tego Calderon and his seminal debut, El Abayarde, which turned 20 this past November.
"Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53" by Shakira
The Colombian pop empress’ “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” smashed Spotify records, becoming the most-streamed Latin track in a single day, simultaneously earning more than 14 million Spotify streams and 63 million YouTube views. Fans have lauded her post-breakup song as a declaration of self-love rather than heartbreak, one that stands to disrupt societal norms in Latine communities.
"Herrera" by YENDRY
Yendry puts on for her Dominican hometown in “Herrera” with a gorgeous electronic twist on traditional bachata. “This one is for the lovers,” she shared on social media, just in time for Valentine's Day. The Dominican-Italian singer-songwriter has made a name for herself with previous collaborations that dare to push Caribbean music to new heights, including Congolese-Belgian singer-rapper Lous and the Yakuza, reggae legend Damian Marley, and Medellin’s own J Balvin. “Herrera” is a bright sign of things to come from the rising star.
"1000Canciones" by Alvaro Diaz and Sen Senra
The San Juan rapper often draws from vintage hip-hop, alternative, and EDM, but on “1000CANCIONES” (1,000 Songs), Álvaro Díaz recruits Spanish upstart Sen Senra and invites fans to the global dance floor with reggaeton. “I can honestly say this was one of the best experiences,” Diaz said about his new collaboration. “It’s rare for either of us to do a reggaetón record, and that’s why this song is so special.” The audiovisual has raked in over 500,000 YouTube views in under five days.
"Rulay & Pica Pollo" by El Perrote WZ's and Wander Love Feat. El Alfa
A quintessential bajo mundo entry bubbling in the dembow capital of Santo Domingo, Wander Love and EL PERROTE WZ’s original “Rulay” dropped November of last year and became No. 1 on Spotify in the Dominican Republic at the top of February. El Alfa – a recognized leader of dembow – co-signed the record and contributed to the “Rulay & Pica Pollo” iteration, which helped push the record to mainstream currents, earning 5.5 million YouTube views alone since its release one week ago.
"Assanhadinha" by Pocah and MC Durrony
Despite continuing to face heavy persecution, baile funk unapologetically empowers the streets of Brazil in the music video for Pocah and MC Durrony’s song "Assanhadinha." With images of Biggie Smalls and MC Marcinho decorating Pocah’s bedroom walls at the start of the video, it is clear the song draws inspiration from the early days of funk carioca, when the genre’s diverse mix of Miami bass, gangsta rap, and freestyle permeated through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian funk song is the first track in Pocah’s latest EP, and it has amassed more than 1 million streams since its release in September 2023 one month ago.
"Ella Baila Sola" by Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma
Crowned Spotify’s global Song of the Summer, Ella Baila Sola by Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma has broken a long list of records for regional Mexican music. Incorporating a unique mix of instruments that display both Eslabon Armado’s urban sierreño music style and Peso Pluma’s affinity for corridos tumbados, the song deservedly became the first regional Mexican song to top the Billboard Global 200 chart as well as the first to reach top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100.
"Mama Eh" by Elyanna
Nicknamed the “Arab Rihanna,” Palestinian-Chilean artist Elyanna delivers a powerful female anthem in her latest single, "Mama Eh." Elyanna broke records this year as the first artist to perform a Coachella set entirely in Arabic, and she continues to push the boundaries with chart-topping singles and millions of streams. Synthesizing an alluring mix of cumbia, Arabic folk, and Western pop sounds into her music, Elyanna harmoniously blends her roots into her art with edge. More than a yearning expression of love, "Mama Eh" is a song about being empowered in her decisions and finding strength in vulnerability.
“La Receta” by Tego Calderon
Tego Calderón is one of the only artists who can say “hazlo como lo hago yo, yo sé que tú no puede’, no” and have it be true. Tego’s shameless Black pride and politically conscious lyrics in the '90s paved the way for the reggaeton genre as we know it today, and we’re happy the king has returned with "La Receta" after years of hiatus. With lyrics about having eyes for only one woman, this playfully romantic single has touched the hearts of millions of Tego fans everywhere.
"Thick Thick" by Lil Jou Jou, Villano Antillano and Rome LMN
Alternating between trap and reggaeton beats, this collaboration between Lil Jou Jou, Villano Antillano and Rome LMN delivers bar after bar with ease. The interplay between Villano’s iconic barbie aesthetic and her references to Beyoncé’s Renaissance (2022) album in the music video stresses her unapologetic femininity as she indulges in her power as a trans woman. With a solid production and cadenced delivery, "Thick Thick" effectively exhibits the talents of these rising stars.