Trap Music Gets a Puerto Rican Twist: 3 Artists to Watch

Courtesy of Sold Out Entertainment
Bryant Myers

Urban radio has been run by Atlanta’s skittering hi-hats for years. Now, stars like Farruko, who will cap off his breakout year (three tracks in the top five of Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart) with early 2017’s all-trap TrapXFicante, are tuning in. “Latin trap is at a high right now,” says Pandora head of Latin music programming Marcos Juarez, who launched a Trap Latino channel. Billboard keeps you from getting lost in translation.

Name: Anuel AA, 23

Country: Puerto Rico

Backstory: Anuel was arrested in April on a gun possession charge (he’s still in jail in Puerto Rico), and his dad is a former Sony Music executive — but still, his slogan is “Keeping it real.”

Breakthrough: 2015 single “Nacimos Pa Morir” (“We Are Born to Die”) has notched close to 40 million views on YouTube.

On the Charts: “Anuel is one of the next generation of Latin urban artists,” says Juarez, as evidenced by the up-and-comer’s No. 5 debut on Billboard’s Latin Rhythm Albums chart with Free Anuel in July.

 

Name: Noriel, 20

Country: Puerto Rico

Breakthrough: Noriel is the lead artist on the Trap Capos compilation, the first trap release to debut at No. 1 on Latin Rhythm Albums. He’s also savvy with collaborations: The project’s “Cuatro Babys” (“Four Babies”) features rising star Maluma as well as Bryant Myers, and its video has tallied more than 34 million YouTube views.

What Sets Him Apart: “Trap’s hook is its forbidden quality,” says Jonathan Gandarilla, the compilation’s executive producer. “Noriel says the things you normally can’t say, and the kids listen.”

Name: Bryant Myers, 18

Country: Puerto Rico

Breakthrough: Known as much for his deep voice — which he can easily shift into Auto-Tuned hooks — as his quirky hairdo (two buns perched atop his head), Myers was featured on Pepe Quintana’s “Ella y Yo” (“Her and Me”), which reached No. 34 on the Hot Latin Songs chart in August.

What Inspires Him: Myers cites Tyga and Lil Wayne as influences, saying, “I identify with the street, the hood, the underworld.”

 

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 12 issue of Billboard.