Zumba Latin Playlist: 15 Pop, Reggeaton and Dancehall Tunes to Make You Move
Although the dance-fitness program Zumba encompasses numerous styles of music and movement, its roots lie in Colombia, birthplace of creator Alberto "Beto" Pérez. It’s no surprise, then, that tropical tunes factor so heavily in Zumba locations around the world. With 2016 newly dawned and fitness on everyone’s minds, Billboard has partnered with Zumba to compile a series of playlists highlighting the most popular songs being played in classes across the globe. This installment looks at reggaeton, dancehall, and Latin pop: hot-blooded sounds built to make the body move.
BREAKING DOWN THE BEATS
“Hasta Abajo,” Don Omar
The chorus of this Latin Rhythm Airplay chart-topper translates to “I get down like this” -- an idea Omar hardly needs words to sell. Even if you don’t know the language, know precisely what the Puerto Rican artist known as “El Rey” is singing about.
“Energia, “Alexis and Fido
A No. 25 hit on the Hot Latin Track chart, “Energia” celebrates being with someone who fills you with life and makes you feel like you’ve won the lottery. It’s a jackpot of a dance track -- a reasonably paced reggaeton groover that won’t completely sap the energy reserves.
The spooky synths and rolling Rs add just the right amount of menace to this ice-cold reggaeton jam, all about stealing another guy’s girl. All’s fair in love and war, especially at the club.
“Ahora Es, “Wisin y Yandel
It’s the classic sweet-sour mix that drives “Ahora Es,” a Top 5 smash on the Hot Latin Songs, Latin Tropical Airplay, and Latin Rhythm Airplay charts. After Llandel Veguilla Malavé, aka Yandel, sings the hook, bandmate Juan Luis Morera Luna, aka Wisin, barks the verses with an aggressiveness just right for aerobics.
“Ginza (Remix),” J Balvin
The reggaeton revival begins with this hypnotically tropical international smash, which topped the Hot Latin Songs, Latin Pop Songs, and Latin Rhythm Airplay charts and snuck into the Hot 100, bowing at No. 84. “We’re going to dance like animals,” Balvin promises, presumably referring more to primal intensity than to technique.
“Gasolina (DJ Buddah Remix),” Daddy Yankee
More than a decade after its release, the tune that lit the fire for reggaeton as a global phenomenon remains as infectious as it simplistic. Daddy Yankee wrote the lyrics about girls who accept rides from dudes with fancy cars, though some figured he was singing about drugs or booze. The unintended ambiguity may have helped “Gasolina” burn up the charts, all the way to No. 32 on the Hot 100.
“So Fine,” Sean Paul
Even in rapid-fire mode, Sean Paul shoots off rhymes with a fluidity not always found in dancehall. On “So Fine,” he stays sweet and cool over a frantic beat, romancing a lady who mashes up his mind.
“Konsey,” J. Perry
It’s no accident that “Konsey” is perfect for Zumba. “Exercise in disguise” enthusiast J. Perry concocted this relentlessly perky blend of dancehall, soca, and EDM just for the company -- an official partner of his since 2012.
“Remedy,” Machel Montano
Released in conjunction with the 2015 Carnival celebrations in Montano’s native Trinidad, this African-flavored soca jam is three minutes and 19 seconds of pure party bliss. “Girl, I losin' patience,” he sings, “no more hesitation.” There’s no sitting on the sidelines when this one’s spinning.
“Policeman,” Eva Simons ft Konshens
Eva isn’t looking for any trouble. “I just wanna drop my jiggelin’ down to the floor,” the Dutch singer pleads on this international dancehall chart-buster. Shaking your booty ain’t no crime–even if you do so with lethal power.
“Plakito (Remix),” Yandel
Yandel’s brother Gadiel helps out on this tune about a “wild dance” that facilitates a bit of the old “boom boom.” Some phrases require no translation.
“Oye Mi Canto,” Nore, Tego Calderon
Queens rhymer N.O.R.E.’s decision to dabble in reggaeton was a good one -- “Oye Mi Canto” (translation: “Hear My Song”) became a major pop crossover, reaching No. 12 on the Hot 100. “You see this is what they want,” he raps in the first verse, after Nina Sky has already stolen the song with her sexy hook. “They want reggaeton!’
“Ting-a-ling,” Shabba Ranks
It’s a tough world out there. You might need to do like Shabba says in this 1992 dancehall single and brandish a “knife and fork / a fight fi’ dumpling.” Stepping to the lean riddim of “Ting-a-Ling” is one way to train for tussles with potential dumpling snatchers.
“Bailando,” Enrique Iglesias
After more than a decade in the game, one of Latin music’s biggest crossover stars proved he can still bring the goods with “Bailando,” a reggae-spiced pop jam that went No. 1 in multiple countries and made nine Billboard charts, topping three. Good for dancing, exercising, and other physical activities that lead to sweating and accelerated heart rate, “Bailando” is about as close to universal as it gets.
“Heads High,” Mr. Vegas
There’s a lesson about female sexual propriety embedded in the lyrics, but one need not follow Mr. Vegas’ moral compass to enjoy this addictive dancehall smash.