Reggaeton rules the Latin American pop charts, and this tour, headlined by Puerto Rican superstar DADDY YANKEE, is solid proof of its growing popularity in the U.S. Since July Chicago has had its own full-time reggaeton radio station, WVIV 103.1 FM, and Latino music promoters must see a growing market here if they’re booking this show the same night as a major Latino hip-hop show with LA’s Akwid and others at the Aragon. Reggaeton was born in Puerto Rico in the early 90s, and it’s rooted in dancehall, the urban, aggressively rhythmic Jamaican music performed by the likes of Sean Paul, Shabba Ranks, Elephant Man, and others, as evidenced by the repetitive electronic bass tones and galloping beats. But the lyrical boasts and vocal style come straight from hip-hop. There are flashes of trad Latin American sound on Daddy Yankee’s latest album, the platinum-selling Barrio fino (VI/Universal)–some salsa polyrhythms, banda brass, bachata guitar, and even a cameo by El Gran Combo singer Andy Montanez. But the emphasis is on his vocals: his rhyme style is a mix of rhythmic finesse and pure aggression, and he rides the syncopated grooves like an expert broncobuster.
His fellow Puerto Rican TEGO CALDERON is a more seasoned star with broader appeal and a wider repertoire of sounds. On his latest album, El enemy de los Guasibiri (BMG U.S. Latin), he sings and raps with more restraint, allowing his low, relaxed baritone to insinuate rather than declaim. He also works with uncut, funky hip-hop and incorporates more liberal doses of Caribbean styles, making him sound more like a charismatic rule breaker than a canny crossover act.
Daddy Yankee headlines, Tego Calderon goes second, and Zion & Lennox open. Sat 10/8, 8 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $45-$100. All ages.