Fonsi Goes Grime (Sort Of) And Daddy Yankee Goes Old-School

Jun 20, 2018
Originally published on June 26, 2018 3:22 pm

Friends, a lot happened over the weekend. On Friday, Luis Fonsi proved once again that he can get millions of views with a well-drawled ayyyyy on any given beach in Puerto Rico; this time, he got an unexpected assist from U.K. grime star Stefflon Don. On Saturday, Daddy Yankee recruited the recently reunited old-school duo R.K.M. and Ken-Y for another go at it, now that reggaeton seems to (finally) be having its mainstream moment.

Also on this week's playlist: Puerto Rican synth-pop band Los Wálters, digital cumbia craftsman Chancha Vía Circuito and Uruguayan rapper Santi Mostaffa make for a truly eclectic weekly mix that fuses pop, cumbia, rap and electronic rhythms.

This playlist is the second in a weekly Spotify series of NPR Music's favorite Latin songs that will be updated every Wednesday. Catch our weekly thoughts and hot takes here.


Luis Fonsi feat. Stefflon Don, "Calypso"

Leading the running for least expected collaboration this year, Luis Fonsi and Stefflon Don's "Calypso" is making a late grab for song of the summer. In just five days since it dropped on Friday, the video has already amassed 38 million views on YouTube, outperforming Drake's Degrassi reunion more than two times over in the same week. The video features the Puerto Rican crooner-turned-hitmaker and the British-Jamaican "Hurtin' Me" rapper on to the beaches of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, where they stage a calypso-dancehall rager in — where else? — a seniors resort.

Fonsi himself looks a little like a grandpa banging out those dance moves to the sound of steel drums on that sandbank, but he's clearly not stressed. "Calypso" is Fonsi's first single since his November collaboration with Demi Lovato on "Échame La Culpa," which now sits comfortably at 1.3 billion views, and only the second since "Despacito," which at 5.2 billion views is the most streamed song of all time. Both of those songs featured pop superstars; if Fonsi can eclipse a billion views on "Calypso" with an emerging star like Stefflon Don, it might be his most impressive feat yet. — Stefanie Fernández


Daddy Yankee, RKM, Ken-Y & Arcangel, "Zum Zum"

Can it get more old school than RKM and Ken-Y? As if we haven't had enough reggaeton summer hits (which we haven't), Daddy Yankee partnered with Arcangel, Natti Natasha and the Grammy-nominated duo to bring us "Zum Zum." They're bringing the word "dembow" back to our daily vocabulary and proving once again that contagious tracks that make you grab a partner and get on the dancefloor will always be in demand.

The song revisits terms like "la combi completa" and "dale pa'l piso" that avid dembow listeners are all too familiar with. This is part of a series of comebacks and collaborations artists of reggaeton "viejo" are staging with up-and-coming artists in the Latin trap scene. Just as Wisin & Yandel made a comeback, collaborating with Bad Bunny, Noriel, Jon Z, and others, RKM and Ken-Y reunited in 2017 after a four-year split. On what seems like a tutorial for dancing reggaeton, "Zum Zum" reminds us where the genre's roots are planted and where they're headed. — Coral Murphy


Los Wálters, "Calma"

The Puerto Rican duo delivers synth-filled, hazy afternoon melodies to a crowd that just couldn't take the wait any longer on "Calma." The track showcases the upbeat, yet idyllic rhythms Los Wálters are best known for. Luis López Varona y Ángel Emanuel Figueroa continue to sell out venues in Puerto Rico, attracting a variety of crowds who come to groove to the relaxing electronic drum beats and puppy love lyrics. Although they foster a soothing atmosphere, the energy they bring to the stage encourages the audience to move however they please.

López Varona described the song as "a natural act to find calmness among all the mess." This marks the band's first single after Hurricane Maria, not counting their collaboration with Eduardo Alegría to cover Menudo's "Y Yo No Bailo," twisting it into a glitzier electronic tune that echoes the island's escena. This may just be the calm before the storm that leaves us dancing. — Coral Murphy


Chancha Vía Circuito, "Illaló"

Producer, DJ and purveyor of digital cumbia, Argentinian Pedro Canale, aka Chancha Vía Circuito, remains my favorite sound alchemist in 2018. He sticks to a basic framework: reinterpreting folk music with his like-minded collection of friends (in this case, vocalist Mateo Kingman). My pick this week definitely captures the sound I was looking for but never knew existed. — Felix Contreras


Santi Mostaffa, "Andar"

Uruguayan rapper Santi Mostaffa reminds me of what every skater dude in Miami was listening to while I was growing up. It's oddball rap at its most fino with a jazz-funk twist; remove the vocals and backbeat, and "Andar" sounds like your hip dad's weekend jam band. This spirit of fusion is bubbling up all across Latin "alternative" scenes, and Mostaffa is quickly becoming a frontrunner. Alternative to the reliable perreo-and-Don Q summer jams that come every year (that I love with my whole heart), Mostaffa offers an anthem in the self-celebratory spirit of summer, this time, in Spanish. This will be on heavy rotation on your phone in your bolsillos (hard sh), I promise. — Stefanie Fernández

This playlist is updated weekly.

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