Latin hip-hop is one genre in particular that has been making its presence known on playlists all over the world with artists like J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna breaking out in the North American music industry in a new way.
From Bad Bunny’s infectious 2018 collab with Drake on “Mia” to his recent Number One spot on the Billboard 200 chart for his album El Ultimo Tour del Mundo, the floodgates have been opened and other Latin American artists are thriving in a new space with a distinct sound.
The most popular examples of Latin hip-hop typically blend the triplet flows and hi-hats that dominate the sound up north with more classic qualities of Spanish-language music like club-ready reggaeton, dancehall, and even samples from traditional styles like bachata and mariachi.
Here are six rising hip-hop stars from Latin America you should know.
This Argentinian trap star founded a popular freestyle rap competition at the age of 13, so you know he’s well-versed in the culture. As a member of the Modo Diablo collective that also includes breakout star Duki, his style is frequently just as devilish as the name suggests. Despite his aggressive flow, YSY A has been a lifelong advocate for leaving the often homophobic-machismo embedded in the genre’s lyrical history in the past.
Puerto Rico has been home to some of Latin trap’s biggest stars, and it’s about time they’re joined by a femcee from the same place. A recent signee to legendary reggaeton star Yandel’s record label, WY Records, Catalyna’s speedy melodic rap flows often break into a pretty stunning singing voice as well. Her effortless cool is capable of transcending any language barrier.
It’s surprising how many young rappers at the moment are frequently citing pop-punk bands like Blink-182 or Fall Out Boy as their musical influences rather than fellow hip-hop stars. That transmutation of the genre’s angst-ridden energy into hip-hop music made it all the way down to Chile as well. Polimá Westcoast applies those passionate emo-trap vocals to a reggaeton backdrop.
Another product of the burgeoning Argentinian hip-hop scene, Dakillah augments laid-back instrumentals reminiscent of Travis Scott or Kid Cudi’s psychedelia with quicker, melodic flows on the surface. Complete with eye-catching and colorful music videos and a talent for beatboxing, the natural charisma of a worldwide superstar is already there and the fanbase should follow.
Consistently one of the biggest names in Mexican hip-hop, many of his recent songs have incorporated elements of 90s G-funk for a new-yet-nostalgic twist on Latin trap. He pulled off the classic West Coast sound well enough to attract the attention of Snoop Dogg, who recently joined him for a collaboration on the track “Mi Tio Snoop.” His grimy and percussive trap bangers are just as enjoyable.
At 22 years old, Londra has already crossed over and landed multilingual collaborations with artists like Ed Sheeran and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. A former battle rapper coming out of Argentina, Londra’s approach to Latin trap is more soulful and vibe-heavy, toning down the rain of hi-hats for more smooth and romantic material. Londra is essentially South America’s answer to the Auto-Crooner.