9. Farruko—Presents Los Menores
Reggaeton isn’t dead. It’s just that its insistence on the Dembow rhythm, which made it immediately recognizable—and, for many, prohibitively monotonous—is. With Dembow running its course, reggaeton artists and producers have been pulling from other templates, including other classic early ’90s dancehall rhythms, like Bam Bam and Tonight. (Dembow is based on a rhythm, produced by Bobby Digital and built by Steely and Clevie, used in Shabba Ranks’ 1990 single “Dem Bow”).
On his fourth LP, Los Menores, Puerto Rico’s Farruko—like a dancehall singjay (or Drake), he’s proficient in both singing and rapping— works with a variety of production styles (including straight-ahead hip-hop) but the best tracks have a dancehall slant. “Estas Pa Mi,” a remake of Wayne Wonder’s “The Saddest Day” features a cameo from Wayne Wonder and production from Jamaican dancehall impresario RVSSIAN. “Passion Whine,” a RVSSIAN-produced mashup of dancehall, reggaeton and pop featuring Sean Paul, was one of the biggest singles on Urban Latin radio this year. Jamaica is making its presence felt in Latin music once more, and Los Menores is a great exhibit. —Jesse Serwer