2017 saw reggaeton coming back in a big way thanks to the huge success of "Despacito" and "Mi Gente," and now the genre looks to grow in an even bigger way with J Balvin's latest release in "Machika" featuring Brazil's Anitta and Aruba's Jeon.
First of all, the song itself has a clear intention of expanding what people know and expect from reggaeton—a staple of Balvin's career who helped lead the music scene's revitalized movement to a smoother blend of rapping and singing. While "Machika" has a clear reggaeton beat that kicks in around the 20-second mark, there's a heavy influence of electronic music with a swirl of percolating EDM beats buzzing through the entire song that could give the track a more accessible, inviting sound to those still needing to hop aboard the Latin-pop train.
Plus, the artists themselves prove the expanding scope of reggaeaton. While Panama, Puerto Rico and, most recently, Colombia have been the epicenter of the scene's talent, bringing a Brazilian pop diva in Anitta and Aruban singer-producer in Jeon together with one of the world's biggest regageton stars in J Balvin proves how the scene is expanding way past its core creators. This song continues J Balvin's journey of working with diverse collaborators that have included the likes of Pharrell, Beyoncé, Major Lazer and France's Willy William to wow new audiences.
Lastly, the accompanying "Machika" video is a cinematic, Mad Max–inspired epic which taps into a new visual side of reggaeton music. Balvin's "Mi Gente," Luis Fonsi's "Despacito," Enrique Igleasias' "Subeme la Radio" and Chris Jeday's "Ahora Dice" were among 2017's most-watched music videos on YouTube, but had very common themes of people dancing outside in tropical locations before going to a club at night. Not that there's anything wrong with these storylines, but "Machika" taking the time to create a fully fleshed-out, cinematic concept like this—apocalytipc makeup and all—indicates a desire to show audiences something different in addition to hearing something different.
"Machika" is showing promising signs, earning nearly 25 million views since its Jan. 18 release and rising up iTunes around the world. But no matter how the single performs, there's a larger message about the exciting places to where the reggaeton and Latin-pop music scenes are going and how J Balvin is undoubtedly leading this movement. With the star just revealing today on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show that he's snagged Pharrell, Skrillex, Camila Cabello and more multi-genre talents for his upcoming album, there's no doubt he'll continue the movement as well.
Watch Nicky Jam share his thoughts on where reggaeton is going in a classic interview below: