It’s safe to say that the Hispanic Influence on American culture made a transcendental leap this past summer with the crossover phenomenon of “Despacito” and “Mi Gente.” Where to go from there? The normal next step would be for other Latin artists from other genres to try their hand in promoting their Spanish-predominant songs in the US market. Yet, once again, the unexpected has happened. An American Cross Back has happened.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” as the saying goes; yet, to have American artists tackle Spanish songs for the Hispanic market goes beyond that. Doing so presents the full recognition that Hispanic culture through the Latin American population offers a marketable AND cultural tour de force. The leading example is “Mi Gente (Remix)” by J. Balvin and Willy William featuring Beyonce. Yes, Queen Bee cut a Spanglish remix of the hot summer hit that really works. She moves from Spanish to English seamlessly throughout the original framework of the song without missing a beat. In other words, her inclusion — while obviously edited in — does not feel forced. That, in and of itself, is a triumph. That it’s #1 on the Billboard Latin Hit charts just reinforces the point.
However, the Cross Back do not end there. “Reggaeton Lento (remix)” by CNCO featuring Little Mix meshes Latin vibes with British pop in a Spanglish version of the former group’s leading, billion view smash. Smooth, rhythmic, loyal to the original, this version stands well on its own keeping its uniquely Latin nature but incorporating airy, European stylings.
For those hip-hop/trap lovers out there, labels do hear your multicultural voice. “Bodak Yellow (Latin Trap Mix)” by Cardi B featuring Messiah combines the staccato beats of the original with the hard rhythmic undertones of trap. Similar to the songs above, the Latin influence blends itself as an essential part of the song.
The end game of all these musical experiments?