Billboard is celebrating the 2010s with essays on the 100 songs that we feel most define the decade that was -- the songs that both shaped and reflected the music and culture of the period -- with help telling their stories from some of the artists, behind-the-scenes collaborators and industry insiders involved.
Back in 2016, J Balvin sat down with Billboard and said something that sounded like a pipe dream at the time: “A Spanish-language song would eventually make its way to No. 1 on the Hot 100... I think it’s possible, but we’re still not there yet. It may take many years, but as new generations expand through the world and realize the United States isn’t the only place in the planet and English isn’t the only language of value…”
A mere year later, the “Despacito” remix topped the Hot 100. And while “Mi Gente,” released in the midst of that song’s historic 2017 chart run, didn’t reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 -- though it came close after Beyoncé jumped on the remix that September -- 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.