On one hand, Latin pop is an endless stream of singles from a handful of talented musicians who just dominate that arena. On the other, Latinx musicians are tearing down the walls of genre and creating music that sounds both familiar and new.
Such is the state of things as we present our picks for New Music for the week.
Lunay, Daddy Yankee, & Bad Bunny, "Soltera (Remix)"
18-year-old Puerto Rican newcomer Lunay hasn't even hit a year since releasing his first single before he got the king and crown prince of urbano -- Daddy Yankee and Bad Bunny, respectively — to jump on a remix of one of his hits, "Soltera." Off the strength of his singles and his Instagram presence, Lunay landed an organic following and snagged a management deal with producers Chris Jeday and Gaby Music. The remix has become a vital step in the life cycle of some the biggest urbano songs of recent years — the first of the two "Te Boté" remixes, which 1.8 billion views on YouTube, comes to mind. The "Soltera" remix gathers three generations of urbano hitmakers to deliver a by-the-book, old-school perreo summer classic. — Stefanie Fernández
Combo Chimbita, "Revelación (Candela)"
The members of Comba Chimbita call themselves "tropical futurists." I'm here to tell you I've seen the band live and I have indeed seen the future.
Lead vocalist Carolina Oliveros fronts a band (which also includes bassist Prince of Queens, guitarist Niño Lento and drummer Dilemmastronauta) that uses Afro Colombian music as a base for music that reflects a future in which genres are merely cultural reference points and cultural mash ups happen in life and music.
Ahomale is a cleverly executed concept album centered around a mythical shamanistic figure of that name who can "communicate ancestral wisdom through the music." The band pulls it off with literate lyrics, powerful music and a shared sense of purpose. — Felix Contreras
Xenia Rubinos, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"
Xenia Rubinos is incredibly punk. Even if her work doesn't always sound it, the invention and irreverence the Cuban-Puerto Rican singer brings to R&B, funk, jazz, and noise made her the perfect fit to cover The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go." The song becomes richer and more complex in Rubinos' Spanish translation and inflection (that even includes a "dímelo papi"). Commissioned for the documentary I'm Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy), which chronicles an undocumented Mexican worker's fraught decision whether to stay in the United States or return to Mexico, Rubinos' cover illuminates the humor, anger, and love behind the story the rest of the world sees. — Stefanie Fernández
Jhay Cortez, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, "No Me Conoce (Remix)"
Jhay Cortez is a bit more seasoned than Lunay, having already collaborated with the likes of Zion & Lennox, Darell, Miky Woodz, Bryant Meyers, and other boricua heavy-hitters. And yes, J Balvin, with whom he's already collaborated on "Están Pa' Mí" and "Bajo Cero." And even before that, Cortez was a songwriter on dozens of reggaeton classics by artists like Daddy Yankee, and even won a Latin Grammy in 2011 for his writing on Tito El Bambino's Invencible. The original from February is already very loved, well into the 2 millions on YouTube. Yet the video for the remix, not even out for a week, is already over 12 million. His second album, Famouz, is out this Friday, and he's pretty much there already. — Stefanie Fernández
Rubén Blades and Making Movies, "No Te Calles"
In the 2018 documentary film My Name Is Not Rubén Blades, the Panamanian musician/actor/activist wonders out loud if he will be singing "Plástico," one of his late '70s salsa hits, when he's 70 years old.
If you're a Blades fan, you'll hear a familiar voice and socially conscious lyrics take on the state of things today. But the sound has more of a Santana feel than straight ahead salsa. The result is the sound of a one-of-a-kind artist stretching artistically, answering only to himself and the restive creative soul that has given us over four decades of inspired music. I've been a fan since the beginning and I'll follow his vision wherever it takes him and us. — Felix Contreras