J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Karol G, Luis Fonsi and Ozuna

50 Essential Latin Songs of the Decade: Critics' Picks

The 2010s were a decade in which Latin music once again became a force to be reckoned with in the global market. More so than albums, it happened through its songs. From "Danza Kuduro" and "Bailando" to "Despacito" and "Mi Gente," this was a decade of global Latin hits that transcended language and genres.

Here, our staff members choose the 50 most significant Latin songs of the decade, ordered by year.

Don Omar feat. Lucenzo, “Danza Kuduro” (2010)

Before ”Despacito” there was ”Bailando.” And before “Bailando”  there was “Danza Kuduro.” Don Omar’s Spanish language remake of the Lucenzo original Portuguese track struck a global chord, becoming one of the most viewed videos on YouTube at the time. Used as the end song for Fast Five, it set the stage for the eventual explosion of Latin dance songs on the charts. -L.C.

Camila, “Mientes” (2010)

With beautiful harmonies and raw emotion, the Mexican trio (which now is a duo) reshaped Latin balladry, infusing it with touches of R&B as well as rock-tinged arrangements. -L.C.

Shakira, “Waka Waka” (2010)

Shakira marked a new era between soccer and music with the release of "Waka, Waka (This Time For Africa)" featuring Freshlyground. The song unites African rhythms with pop, demonstrating Shakira’s musical versatility and her passion to explore new sounds. On the Billboard charts, Shakira’s "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)" peaked at No. 38 on the July 3, 2010-dated Hot 100 chart. It spent a total of 18 weeks on the chart. -J.C.N.

Samir Hussein/Redferns
Shakira performs live at The O2 Arena on June 11, 2018 in London.

Anita Tijoux, “1977” (2010)

Chilean rapper Anita Tijoux’s autobiographical “1977” (the year she was born) showcased the power of a young female MC when it was released in 2010. The song took on another life when it was heard in an episode of “Breaking Bad. -J.C.N.

Calle 13, “Latinoamerica” (2010)

Calle 13's "Latinoamérica" is at once a doubled-over-in-pain lament and a fist-in-the-air anthem. Residente’s talk-rap vocals are framed with folkloric rhythms, and he’s joined by the powerful trio of Susana Baca from Peru, Toto La Momposina from Colombia and Brazil’s Maria Rita. Released in 2010 on the album Entren Los Que Quieren, the song was quickly adopted by audiences who sang along at Calle 13’s concerts, and it won Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2011 Latin Grammys. And “Latinoamérica” continues to inspire. Residente recently dedicated the song “to the whole continent more than ever.” -J.C.N.

3Ball MTY, “Inténtalo” (2011)

In 2011, three teenage DJs in Monterrey, Mexico released “Inténtalo,” launching the “tribal guarachero” movement and bringing boots with yard-long upturned toes to international audiences through the song’s addictive video. “Inténtalo” flooded dance floors, and went to no. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Songs chart; it stayed on the chart for 42 weeks. 3Ball MTY’s inescapable hit crossed genres, bringing a fresh sound to regional Mexican music and foreshadowing the appeal of today’s Latin trap. -J.C.N.

Alex Anwandter, “Como Puede Vivir Contigo Mismo” (2011)

Chilean singer Alex Anwandter’s gay pride anthem was released together with a video that pays homage to the acclaimed documentary Paris is Burning; the song similarly supports the right to be yourself – and to dance the night away.  -J.C.N.

Maná, “Amor Clandestino” (2011)

The Mexican rock band’s Drama y Luz álbum was full of songs that literally veered on the edge of darkness. “Amor clandestino” was one of them. Ostensibly a typical Maná rock ballad, beginning with its harmonica intro, its lyrics about hidden love connect at multiple levels, while the layering of instrumentation underscores a band evolving beautifully with time. -L.C.

Ricardo Arjona, “El amor” (2011)

Arjona’s declaration of independence was the 2011 set Independiente, a collection of new tracks that are vintage Arjona in their fine craftsmanship and their stunningly eloquent lyrics. The simply titled “El amor” (Love), spent 18 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Latin songs chart, reaching No. 1 Oct. 22. Its name alone could have been a cliché in any other hands. In Arjona’s, it’s a song for every kind of love. -L.C.

Vicentico, “No Te Apartes de Mí” (2012)

One of the most romantic real-life love songs in Latin music is sung by Vicentico and his wife, actress Valeria Bertuccelli, in a duet that combines Argentine rock’s characteristic lyricism with country music twang. “No Te Apartes de Mí” was included on the Fabulosos Cadillacs frontman’s 2012 solo album, Vicentico 5. -J.C.N.

Michel Teló, “Ai Se Eu Tu Pego” (2012)

In 2012, a sweet, shy young Brazilian singer’s silly love song and sillier dance caught on with a lot of people who couldn’t even pronounce the title. Michel Telo’s “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” went to no. 1 on Hot Latin songs and Latin Airplay, and  the entire audience danced along with glee when Teló performed the song at Latin Billboard Awards that year. In 2013, he took home the awards for Song of the Year and Pop Song of the Year for “Ai Se Eu te Pego.” -J.C.N.

Espinoza Paz, "Un Hombre Normal" (2012)

Espinoza Paz was one of a new breed of regional Mexican artists who emerged at the beginning of the decade to reset the genre. 2012’s layered story-song “Un Hombre Normal” became a signature for Paz, an acclaimed songwriter and singer with a shy manner who had braces on his teeth. "Un Hombre Normal," released on the album of the same name, went to no.1 on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart and notched at no. 4 on Hot Latin Songs. -J.R.

Prince Royce, "Las cosas pequeñas" (2012)

If Romeo Santos paved the way for a new breed of bachata, Prince Royce romanticized it up a notch. “Las cosas pequeñas,” from his sophomore album, Phase II, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay chart and heralded and even more romantic approach to bachata. With hints of R&B in his vocals, Royce also cemented the multicultural appeal of the dance music from the Dominican Republic. -S.F.

Carlos Vives, “Volví a nacer” (2012)

After nearly a decade without releasing a studio album, Colombia’s premiere purveyor of tropi pop returned with “Volví a nacer” (Reborn), a song about rebirth through love that served as the perfect metaphor for Vives’ musical rebirth. A joyous vallenato, it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, reigniting Vives’ career and winning a Latin Grammy for Song of the year. -L.C.

Marc Anthony, “Vivir mi vida” (2013)

Marc Anthony’s anthem to life spent 18 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, becoming the first tropical single in a decade to top the chart (and without the aid of remixes) and the longest-running No. 1 tropical song in the history of the chart. The track ushered in 3.0, Anthony’s first studio salsa album in a decade.  The set would go on to become the biggest-selling Latin album of the year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.“Vivir,” a remake of Khalil’s Ces’t La Vie (see sidebar), transcended languages and territories, shooting to No. 1 in at least 10 countries, a rare feat for a tropical song. -L.C.

Jim Spellman/Getty Images
Marc Anthony attends the Hispanic Federation Spring Gala at American Museum of Natural History on April 11, 2019 in New York City. 

Enrique Iglesias feat. Descemer Bueno and Gente D'Zona, "Bailando" (2013)

Before “Despacito,” there was “Bailando.” The track broke, by a long shot, all records on the Hot Latin Songs chart, remaining 41 weeks at No. 1. Its closest competition was “El perdón” (not coincidentally another Iglesias smash, this one with Nicky Jam), which notched 30 weeks at No. 1, a huge distance from “Bailando.” “I remember ‘Bailando’ making me feel exactly like I felt when I released my first album. It excited me. It affected me, not only musically; it affected the way I felt,” Enrique tells Billboard today.  If “Despacito” broke ground with its mix of reggaeton and pop, raps and melodies, “Bailando” opened the door to that possibility, marrying Iglesias’ up-tempo pop with Descemer Bueno’s singer/songwriter vibe and, the coup de grace, the reggaetón beats and gritty vocals of Cuban duo Gente de Zona. At a time when Cuban-based artists had long been absent from the Billboard charts, “Bailando” brought them back, with a vengeance; in 2014 Gente de Zona became the first Cuban-based act to ever top Billboard’s airplay charts after they were featured on “Bailando,” which they co-wrote. -L.C.

J Balvin & Farruko, "6 a.m." (2013)

“But, what a sick party, pa-pa-pa.” By early summer, the chorus of “6 a.m.,” the sultry reggaetón hit by Colombian J Balvin featuring his Puerto Rican pal Farruko had become a mantra for revelers continent-wide. “6 a.m.” had a slow, organic rise, debuting at No.47 on the charts in February an rising in February to No.1 on the Latin Airplay chart (for a week) and the Latin Rhtym Airplay chart, where it spent 10 weeks at the peak. It also spent 13 weeks on the top 5 of Hot Latin Songs. More importantly, it broke Balvin, and Farruko, to the world.  “This has to be a Latin version of the ‘Hangover,” and visualized the video as we wrote. Things like, why don’t we put a car in the bedroom? The song came together very quickly, Balvin told Billboard back 2013. -L.C.

Romeo Santos, "Propuesta Indecente" (2014)

Romeo Santos’ “Propuesta Indecente,” released in 2014, tells the story of exactly that: an indecent proposal. In its lyrics, Santos tries to convince a lady who’s in a relationship that “an adventure is more fun if it smells like danger.” The sensual bachata and its music video featuring Mexican actress Eiza Gonzalez, helped Santos become the second Latin artist to hit 1 billion views on YouTube, following Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando.” -J.R.

Plan B, “Fanatica Sensual” (2014)

Anyone wondering why trap took off among a young Latin audience only has to dial back six years and listen to Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Plan B. Borderline erotic, “Fanática sensual” was tantalizing enough to become a smash. It peaked at No. 3 on the Hot Latin songs chart, spending 34 weeks on the tally. -L.C.

Vetusta Morla, “La Deriva” (2014)

The insistent drum intro on “La Deriva” heralds a call for both personal and social reflection in search of, in the band’s words, “the positive things around us.” The title track of the 2014 album increased the Madrid rock band’s fan base, and the song has since been the introduction of the band for a much wider audience, thanks to its inclusion in the soundtrack of 2019’s season three of the Spanish Netflix hit “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”). -J.C.N.

No Te Va Gustar, “Comodín” (2014)

Every song in the repertoire of Uruguay’s No Te Va Gustar sounds obsessively crafted. But while many of NTVG’s tracks contemplate the darker shades of the soul, Comodín is a funky and celebratory break-up song punctuated by jubilant horns and jangly beats. Irresistible. -P.B.

Nicky Jam and Enrique Iglesias, “El perdón” (2015)

When “El Perdón” (Forgiveness) reached No. 66 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, it became one of only a handful of Spanish language tracks at the time to ever make it onto the Hot 100. The track also debuted on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart Feb. 21 at No. 50 and rose to No. 1 March 21, where it remained for 30 weeks (it would eventually be dethroned by “Bailando” and later “Despacito”). The gritty, but beautiful video, shot in Medellín, became the only Latin video to  win in the 2015 Youtube Music Awards. A mid-tempo, melancholy reggaetón song about lost love, “El Perdón” was the first No. 1 for Nicky Jam (Nick Rivera Caminero), the 35-year-old rapper whose climb to fame in the early 2000s was derailed by drug, alcohol and bad decisions.  His return to the charts, after years spent in Colombia redefining his sound, is one of perseverance , redemption and a damn good song. -L.C. 

Carlos Vives & Shakira, “La Bicicleta” (2016)

Carlos Vives and Shakira, two of Colombia’s beloved artists, teamed up for their first-ever and long-awaited collaboration with “La Bicicleta.” The feel-good track, which fuses cumbia, vallenato and urban-pop melodies, became a zumba favorite, and its positive message resonated among music and sports fans to guarantee global success. “La Bicicleta” debuted at No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart (dated June 18, 2016). -L.C.

Morat, “Cómo te atreves” (2016)

In the midst of an urban revival, pop/rock raised its hand with this irresistible track from Colombian pop band Morat. If girls could bare their hearts, certainly boys could too in this guitar-heavy break-up song, told from the guy’s point of view and full of memorable lines. -L.C.

Shakira feat. Maluma, “Chantaje” (2016) 

Shakira has moved her hips to great effect in the past. But moving them alongside hottie newcomer Maluma has been combustible. “Chantaje” not only entered the Hot 100, an anomaly for a Spanish only track, but it’s also become the Spanish language video to most quickly reach over 100 million views. Sultry reggaetón with electronic touches, “Chantaje” is the kind of track that sticks after one listen and makes us work up a sweat in the gym. But let’s be honest; that video bathroom scene doesn’t hurt either. Who knew urinals could be so sexy? -L.C.

Maluma, “Felices los 4” (2017)

On the road to becoming a major superstar, Maluma took a very risqué detour with “Cuatro Babys,” a song that celebrated loving four women at the same time. The lyrics sparked controversy, with an online petition calling for its ban and arguing that it promoted an image of women as “worthless.” Undeterred, Maluma followed up with “Felices los 4,” another take on multiple lovers, but this time, it’s the woman who has more than one, prompting Maluma to croon: “If you’re spending time with someone else, let’s all four of us be happy together.” The mix of melodic pop over the underlying danceable reggeaton beat with just the right dose of bad boy (and girl) in the lyrics, made it irresistible.  "Felices," written by Maluma, Servando Primera, Mario Cáceres and Miky La Sensa and produced by hitmakers Los Rude Boyz, became Maluma’s first charting song on Billboard’s Hot 100 as a solo act (peaking at no. 48 on the chart dated Aug. 5) and his sixth No.1 hit on Latin Airplay chart. -S.F.

J Balvin & Willie William, "Mi Gente" (2017)

Built on French DJ Willie William’s irresistible beat and augmented by Balvin’s message of universal unity –delivered in Spanish— “Mi Gente” was visionary. Released in the midst of “Despacito’s” historic 2017 chart run, it didn’t reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 -- though it came close after Beyoncé jumped on the remix that September. But in its original, all-Spanish version, it became the first Spanish-language song ever to top Spotify’s global chart. The success of the song’s two versions opened the floodgates for cross-cultural and cross-genre collaborations, spurring dozens of remixes by major EDM acts. -L.C.

Karol G & Bad Bunny, “Ahora me Llama” (2017)

Part of her debut studio album Unstoppable, Karol G’s first  trap song is about a girl who’s living her best life after breaking up with her ex. With “Ahora Me Llama,” the  Colombian rising urban star scored her first top 10 on the Hot Latin Songs chart (dated Nov. 4, 2017), helping pave the way for a new generation of female urban artists on the chart. The song also benefitted from a Spanglish remix featuring Quavo. -S.F.

Gizelle Hernandez 
Karol G photographed on April 24, 2019 at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

Ozuna x Romeo Santos, “El Farsante Remix” (2017)

Leave it to Ozuna and Romeo Santos to not only team up for a heart-wrenching remix but perform at the top of a building to send a message to the person they failed to love. While “El farsante” was a hit in its original version by Ozuna, the remix peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated Feb. 17, 2018. A tour de force that joined the two top artists on chart, it demonstrated might in numbers; the music video has over 1.3 billion views on YouTube. -J.R.

Manuel Turizo, “Una Lady Como Tu” (2017)

“Una Lady Como Tu” never had airplay traction, but this innocent, respectfully sweet love song put Colombian teenager Manuel Turizo on everybody’s radar in early 2017. Turizo’s sultry deep voice, as heard in this catchy urban-pop jam, spotlights his versatile sound and capability to flirt with other genres including trap, R&B, and vallenato, taking it home to his Colombian roots. It also highlighted an early marriage of urban and pop that appealed to a younger audience. The music video to “Una Lady Como Tu” entered YouTube’s Billion view club in 2018. -S.F.

Christian Nodal, “Adios Amor” (2017)

Christian Nodal had no time for games when he released “Adios Amor” in January 2017. Singing about a heartbreaking farewell to his ex, the ranchera song’s success in Mexico and the U.S. bumped Nodal to the top 10 of Hot Latin Songs (peaking at No. 4 on the chart dated Feb. 25, 2017), Latin Airplay (peaking at No. 5 on the chart dated Feb. 22, 2017) and Latin Regional Mexican Airplay, where his single was No. 1 for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in April 2017. The success placed Nodal squarely in the forefront of a new, romantic generation of regional Mexican balladeers. -J.R.

Los Angeles Azules feat. Natalia Lafourcade, “Nunca Es Suficiente” (2017)

Los Angeles Azules and Natalia Lafroucade is the collaboration you never knew you needed. The Mexican musical group formed in 1983 by the Mejia Avante siblings (Elías, Alfredo, José Hilario, Jorge, Cristina and Guadalupe) and known for their distinct cumbia sonidera, teamed up with alt darling Lafourcade –who has embarked on her own mission to rescue folk rhythms-- to give a modern twist to their classic “Nunca es Suficiente.” The experiment became a hit, landing the group their first No. 1 in 19 years on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart (dated Jan. 26, 2018). “We’ve been working for many years with cumbia and romantic music,” founding member Elias Mejía Avante told Billboard in a previous interview. “I think that everything that’s happening to us right now is something very historic for a tropical group.” -J.R.

Natti Natasha & Ozuna, “Criminal” (2017)

All eyes were set on Natti Natasha when she dropped “Criminal” in collaboration with Ozuna—one of the most important songs of her entire career. “It was my second chance. Before that, I had so many great songs that never got released because I didn’t have the help and support and I’m very grateful that Ozuna said yes and believed in me." "Criminal' would pave the way for Natasha's success on the charts. -J.R.

Residente feat. Soko, “Desencuentro" (2017)

“Desencuentro” featuring French indie-pop artist Stéphanie Sokolinski better known as Soko is a song that details a chronicle of a love relationship that is anything but systematic. Swaying from Spanish to English, the song encircles the listener in an orbit of effervescent incredulities with such gracefulness that is impossible not to dive deep into this dreamlike reality. With a gorgeous video, it highlights the more romantic side of the usually feisty Residente. -P.B.

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feauring Justin Bieber, “Despacito” (2017)

The Latin-pop, urban-tinged "Despacito" generated a new level of commercial success for all acts involved as the song claimed the all-time longevity mark atop Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart: 56 weeks. With Daddy’s urban flair and Justin Bieber’s smooth layered vocals the rhythmic tune became a cross-pollination of cultures and genres with Luis Fonsi’s Latin pop as the backbone of the tune. The song commanded the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-tying 16 weeks. It now ranks second (with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day"), after only Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), which dominated for 19 weeks this year. -P.B.

Bad Bunny & Drake, “Mia” (2018)

2018 sparked some of the most interesting collaborations in Latin music history, including hip-hop superstar Drake linking up with Bad Bunny for the sultry "MIA." The two artists surprised fans when the single dropped, with Drake flaunting his Spanish-speaking skills as he did in Romeo Santos' "Odio" a couple years earlier. The infectious reggaetón track, with romantic-meets-kinky lyrics jumped 9-1 on the Hot Latin Songs art in late October, becoming both Bad Bunny and Drake's second No. 1 on the chart.  -J.R.

Reik, feat. Ozuna and Wisin, “Me Niego” (2018)

Reik’s pull-at-your-strings ode to lost love (watch the video so you can cry) saw the Mexican band trio join forces with Ozuna and Wisin for one of the most successful pop/urban collaborations to date.  "Me Niego " became Reik’s first chart topper on the Latin Airplay chart (dated May 26). -S.F.

Rosalia,“Malamente” (2018)

Bursting with poetic lyrical imagery, “Malamente,” is a conceptual song fraught with continuous forceful handclaps and a landslide of sounds that delve into flamenco’s roots and meshing with contemporary urban components. The first single off El Mal Querer made Rosalía a trailblazer of a new take on a traditional genre. -P.B.

Vicente García & Juan Luis Guerra, “Loma de Cayenas” (2018)

Vicente Garcia rummaged into his native Dominican essence in “Loma de Cayenas,” a merengue-imbued song that pulls back from his wistful bachata and bolero, to step into an unaccustomed ground. Carefully shaped, the tune, featuring Juan Luis Guerra, trills with lively verses about love at first sight: “cayó en la siembra lluvia, y crecerion las flores. Ya se cosecha el fruto de nuestras ilusiones” (“rainfall over the crops and the flowers grew. The fruit of our illusions is harvested”). -P.B.

Becky G & Natti Natasha , "Sin Pijama" (2018)

This sultry reggaetón collaboration became an empowering anthem for women around the world, and a song that changed the game in Latin music. The two Latinas took the reins and unapologetically sang about sex, weed, and booty calls, sending the message that it’s OK for women to talk about these topics. On the Aug. 11, 2018-dated chart, “Sin Pijama” topped the Latin Airplay chart, becoming the first time since the chart’s inception in 1994 that a title with two credited women led the list. It also entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 70 on the chart dated Aug. 11, 2018, the highest-charting Latin title for both artists. -J.R. 

Pedro Capó feat. Farruko, "Calma Remix" (2018)

Pedro Capó’s feel-good anthem of life in Puerto Rico and its beaches got tons of local traction and touched the hearts of Puerto Ricans everwhere, including Farruko. The rapper reached out to Capó on Instagram and said he’d be interested in participating in a remix.  Their infectious collaboration earned Capó many chart firsts: HIs first top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, first Latin Airplay No. 1 (in April, 2019, nine months after the song’s original release), and his first-ever Billboard Hot 100 hit. In April 2019, Alicia Keys joined the two Puerto Rican artists and gave “Calma” the bilingual treatment. “Calma (Remix),” which has over 1.7 billion views on YouTube, won the 2019 Latin Grammy for best urban/fusion performance. -J.R.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartRadio
Farruko and Pedro Capo perform onstage at iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina at AmericanAirlines Arena on Nov. 3, 2018 in Miami. 

Macaco, Jorge Drexler, Joan Manuel Serrat, “Blue (Diminuto Planeta Azul)” (2019)

Joan Manuel Serrat opens with a pivotal message ushered by the sound of water at seashore on “Blue (Dimunuto Planeta Azul),” Macaco’s new single which draws together a trio of greats. Anchored by superb yet unpretentious songwriting, the song puts Macaco’s artistic perspective to the fore with Drexler’s warm confidence and poetic susceptibility.  With just a few harmonic elements, “Blue” surrounds itself by a resilient missive speaking of love and its simplicity and its attempt to overcome our ego in the most elementary moments. -P.B.

Daddy Yankee & Katy Perry feat. Snow, "Con Calma" (2019)

Admittedly part of “Con calma’s” success in the original Daddy Yankee and Snow version was that addictive video, featuring the now-famous Daddy Yankee meme and choreographies performed by diverse groups of dancers representing every shape and stripe.  But the Katy Perry version only expands on the inclusiveness from the opening verse: “I know we don’t speak the same language, but I’m going to let my body talk for me.” After all, isn’t that what reggaeton is all about? Connecting with your feet and emotions, beyond language. “Con Calma” reachef No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart in May, after release of the Katy Perry remix. The original version, in turn, is a remake of Snow’s hit “Informer,” which reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993. -J.R.

Ile, “Odio” (2019)

Formerly known as the little sister in Calle 13, Ileana Cabra – Ile – has emerged not only as a major talent but one whose voice we’d be wise to heed. “Odio” (Hate), leitmotif of our current conflictive age, gives name to a galloping, crescendoing ballad whose lyrics, while universal , were specifically inspired by the 1978 murder of two independence activists in Puerto Rico. It’s a visceral call for “recognizing our differences as people and from there arriving at the political solution as a social movement,” as Ile told Billboard. “It is important to learn to understand each other.” -J.C.N.

J Balvin & Bad Bunny, “Cuidado por ahí” (2019)

If Bad Bunny is the “bad guy” in Oasis, the collaborative album between Bunny and J Balvin. “Cuidado por ahí” is a role reversal. Here, Balvin takes on the opening lines, chanting and singing in a register far lower than usual before Bad Bunny picks up in a higher voice. It’s a musical switch that underscores how seamlessly these two work together. Set solely over a repetitive, sometimes disturbing beat, “Cuidado por ahí” is as addictive as it is unsettling. -L.C. 

Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Farruko & Anuel, “Baila, Baila, Baila” (remix) (2019)

Are five reggaeton stars better than one? In “Baila, Baila, Baila,” Ozuna’s original uptempo but slightly melancholy track about a girl who dances to forget morphs into a showcase for multiple voices and styles.  With Ozuna’s distinctive voice singing the chorus as the unifying thread, “Baila Baila Baila” serves as a kind of canvas for the kings of reggaeton to improvise on. -L.C.

Sech feat. Darell, Nicky Jam, Ozuna & Anuel AA, "Otro Trago" (Remix) (2019)

Panamanian artist Sech took the music world by storm with his soothing vocals and sensual urban fusion melodies when he released “Otro Trago,” which translates to “Another Drink,” from his debut studio album, Sueños. The song, which features Puerto Rican artist Darell’s raspy urban voice, as well as star guests Ozuna, Anuel AA, and Nicky Jam on the fiery remix, narrates the story of a girl drinking and dancing her sorrows away at the club -- totally relatable to those going through heartbreak in 2019. With its infectious R&B-meets-reggaetón beat, the song quickly became a hit, nabbing Sech his first No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, and pushing the Panamanian music scene back onto the map in 2019. -J.R.

Rosalía feat. J Balvin & El Guincho, "Con Altura" (2019)

In late March, Spanish singer Rosalía dropped the impossibly catchy “Con Altura” in collaboration with J Balvin and El Guincho. The fresh single, released after her breakthrough 2018 set El Mal Querer, pays tribute to old-school reggaetón, fusing modern flamenco and Middle Eastern sounds. Adding her own contemporary twist and fierce flamenco-pop dance moves, Rosalía demonstrates her admiration and respect for the Latin urban genre. “Con Altura” peaked at No. 12 on the Hot Latin Songs chart in June, and its fabulous-party-in-a private-jet music video, filmed by Director X, entered YouTube’s Billion View Club in October -- putting the spotlight on the global appeal of "Con Altura" in 2019. -J.R.

Los Tigres del Norte, “La Prisión de Folsom (Folsom Prison Blues)” (2019)

The norteño band’s remake of the Johnny Cash classic was recorded live inside the same prison, 50 years later. The recording and concert marked the first time since Cash’s concert that filming was allowed inside the prison. The powerful lyrics and impeccable delivery marked a seminal moment in time for politics and Latinos in this country. -L.C.

Contributors: Leila Cobo, Judy Cantor-Navas, Suzette Fernandez, Jessica Roiz, Pamela Bustios