Nicky Jam and J Balvin are superstars in their own right, and the two friends came together to create magic with new song "X (Equis)." The reggaeton track is sexy, passionate and surprisingly fuses two of the most influential cultures in music right now.
It's no secret that Latin artists have been making the jump to mainstream popularity over the past year, with both Nicky Jam and J Balvin on the forefront. The artists use their smooth rap-sung flair to make this "X" collaboration unique to both their own background (Jam is Dominican and Puerto Rican, while Balvin hails from Colombia). But the track is elevated even more thanks to its dancehall influence. The inspiration is subtle enough to where it doesn't overpower the song's reggaeton roots, and it's also just enough to add an unexpected twist.
The song itself is crafted over a steady but thumping bassline that is central to the Jamaican genre, and the horn-heavy production is used just as much in Latin music as it is in dancehall and reggae. Jamaica's influence transcends beyond the hip-shaking melody, with the video paying homage to classic dance moves like the "Bogle" and the "Nuh Linga" that the artists and their backup dancers all perform with joy. Blacka Di Danca, who is one of dancehall's most prominent choreographers, also makes an appearance and gives a burst of authenticity. Along with performing at street parties in NYC and Jamaica, he has also worked on videos for Major Lazer, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. Even Balvin goes along with the vibe, rocking a reggae-themed outfit with a Bob Marley shirt for the majority of the video.
With dancehall constantly getting ripped off in mainstream music without proper accreditation, it's refreshing to see Nicky Jam and J Balvin honor the genre's creativity while also showing it respect. Next, watch Nicky Jam break down his fresh take on Reggaeton: