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FEEL THE NOISE

A Movement Is Born
First lesson about Reggaeton: It is not Hispanic hip-hop. It's a unique music phenomenon that includes elements of hip-hop. Reggaeton is faster and – dare we say it? -- mas caliente.

It's a delicious stew spiced from Latin American salsa and bomba and Caribbean reggae and dance hall with a dash of American rap. The lyrics are often steamy to match the hip-grinding beat (care to dance the perreo?), and it's packing clubs and iPods from San Juan to Harlem to Paris.

Reggaeton has its roots in Panama, where Spanish-language reggae was created in the 1970s by resident Jamaicans whose fathers worked on the Panama Canal. The hybrid made its way to Puerto Rico and merged with Spanish rap popularized by Vico C. in the 1980's.

In 1991, the throbbing "Dem Bow” beat, based on a song of the same name by Shabba Ranks, became contemporary Reggaeton's musical foundation.

Reggaeton made its home in Puerto Rico in the new millennium with a wave of locally grown stars.

Now it's grabbed American youth culture. Street mixes and barrio play have blasted Reggaeton into the mainstream. English-speaking voices are popping up on the tracks, and Reggaeton artists are muscling into the top 10 U.S. charts.

Reggaeton has arrived – and "Feel the Noise” is putting out the welcome mat.

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