It doesn’t matter how if you break it down, reggaeton is one of the most popular styles of music in the world. The stars of the genre are some of the biggest in the industry – Bad Bunny has been the most streamed artist in the world for two years in a row – and their hits have quickly become international supernovas, played in every country imaginable. Reggaeton is a global phenomenon and commercial force that has changed the Latin music business despite naysayers, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
The genre also represents a rich cultural history, full of stories of migration, resistance and celebration. The music has deep roots in Panama, where black communities pioneered reggae in the 1980s and 1990s en espanol tracks that traveled all over the world and captured people’s imaginations. Those sounds especially thrived in Puerto Rico, blossomed in the island’s underground in the 1990s, eventually breaking out in Latin America and around the world. So many songs — be it classic deep parts from playero mixtapes, or record-breaking chart-topping charts from more recent years – are a reflection of the genre’s complex storytelling and intricate evolutions.
It was no small feat to narrow down the 100 greatest reggaeton songs of all time. Spanning decades and continents, the reggaeton canon has branched out into all kinds of music – bachata, EDM, hip-hop, salsa, and more. Some people might debate whether a few songs here belong on a reggaeton list; there were some reggae though en español, dembow and underground rap classics from pioneers like Nando Boom, El General and Latin Fresh that were so fundamental we couldn’t possibly keep them away.
We also had input from all corners of the music business. To make our list, we’ve put together a panel of music industry critics, experts, and veterans. Those voters included:
Kat Bouza, senior news editor, rolling stone
Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo, Writer and Editor
Jon Dolan, review editor, rolling stone
Ricardo Duran, Rolling Stone en Espanol
Katelina “Gata” Eccleston, reggaeton historian
Veronica Bayetti Flores, music journalist
Simon Vozick-Levinson, deputy music editor, rolling stone
Julyssa Lopez, senior music editor, rolling stone
Jennifer Mota, music historian and journalist
Moises Mendez II, culture reporter
Diego Ortiz, Rolling Stone en Espanol
Jorge Pabon, Molusco TV
Jerry Pullés, Latin music programmer, Apple Music
AJ Ramos, artist relations manager in US, Latin and Latin America, Youtube
Maykol Sanchez, Head of Artist & Label Partnerships, LATAM & US Latin, Spotify
Gary Suarez, music journalist
Lucas Villa, music journalist
Antonio Vázquez, Head of US Latin Editorial – Spotify
Chente Ydrach, host
The genre is complex; it continues to bloom and bloom in ways that surprise even the biggest fans. We are sure that over the years songs will take on new meanings and new innovations will change the course of the genre. For now, be here rolling stoneThe 100 best reggaeton songs of all time.