With Latin(x) artists having “a moment” right now—the crossover collaborations are too numerous to list—the current takeover could have been predicted by soothsayers with a keen ear and a quick record-button-hitting trigger finger. All the signs were there: the hypnotic rhythms, the catchy melodies, and the effortless calls to dancing—these are just some of the things that Latin-inspired music has always possessed, these are the same things that have permitted it to continue being an aural staple in the modern era.
While these lockdown days endure, here are five songs from a bygone time that deserve a spin on your quarantine playlist.
Livin’ La Vida Loca—Ricky Martin
This list would be bordering on the blasphemous if it did not start with Ricky Martin, the man who composed one of the most ubiquitous songs of the last millennium. Yes, it has been that long. 1999 was memorable for many reasons—we were told the world was going to end back then, too—but chief among them was that it was a great year for Latin pop and no one did it bigger or better than the man who had everyone singing along to “Livin’ La Vida Loca”.
Enrique Iglesias has gone through numerous iterations. While not all of them were good—the Ciara collaboration remains unforgivable—the version of him that made “Bailamos” has to be given credit because this song was never skipped when it played on the radio.
If You Had My Love—Jennifer Lopez
Another 1999 staple. Jennifer Lopez had not yet ascended to the heights she later would with her music and acting prowess, but even back then the signs were there for anyone who knew where to look. This electro-pop tune counted out the last millennium and announced the arrival of an era-spanning performer who remains at the top of her game.
Miss California—Dante Thomas featuring Pras
The early 00s produced some of the most memorable crossover collaborations. Hip hop and Latin R&B gave us some of the most enjoyable music of the time—a collaboration which continues in present times. For this list we have to pay respect to Dante’s “Miss California”, a song with the power to change a salsa party’s gears today.
If I Could Go—Angie Martinez featuring Lil Mo & Sacario
Angie Martinez, despite all of her promising talent, would never have a hit like “If I Could Go” again. No matter. For the brief moment when she was recording, she gave us this gem that remains a dope reminder of days by gone.