The Latin rhythm genre caps a staggeringly impressive year with eight out of the top 10 acts on the year-end 2021 Top Latin Artists recap belonging to the format. Pairing up with Latin pop, tropical, regional Mexican and even dance artists, Latin rhythmic acts delivered a collection of defiant collaborations, helmed by Bad Bunny, who easily crosses the finish line at No. 1 for a third straight year. He’s also the highest-ranking act who primarily records in Spanish on the all-genre overall Top Artists recap (No. 16).
Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts dated Nov. 21, 2020, through Nov. 13, 2021. The rankings for MRC Data-based recaps reflect equivalent album units, airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that the titles appeared on a respective chart during the tracking year. Any activity registered before or after a title’s chart run isn’t considered in these rankings. That methodology detail, and the November-November time period, account for some of the difference between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by MRC Data.
Bad Bunny’s Third Consecutive Reign: Bad Bunny, who earned the No. 1 finish on the Top Latin Artists roundup in 2019 and 2020, takes the win for a third straight year. He rules thanks largely to three No. 1 albums on the weekly Top Latin Albums chart (which also rank at Nos. 1-3 on the year-end Top Latin Albums recap) and multiple hits and collaborations with artists from different genres.
When Bad Bunny’s last studio album El Último Tour del Mundo arrived on the Billboard charts in November 2020, it earned the chameleonic act his first No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart and made history as the first all-Spanish album to claim a spot atop the tally since the list began publishing on a regular, weekly basis in March 1956. The set also scored the second biggest week in terms of equivalent album units for a Latin release since Billboard began tracking titles by units in December 2014.
While El Último Tour del Mundo is No. 1 on the year-end Top Latin Albums tally, Bad Bunny has three more albums in the year-end ranking, with his earlier releases YHLQMDLG at No. 2, X 100PRE at No. 3 and Las Que No Iban a Salir at No. 10.
El Último and YHLQMDLG are also the only two Latin titles among the top 40 of the year-end all-genre Billboard 200 Albums summary (Nos. 17 and 35, respectively).
Bad Bunny also walks off with further accolades, snatching the No. 1 spot on the year-end Top Latin Male Artist survey, while “Dakiti,” with Jhay Cortez, is No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs recap. The latter notched 27 weeks on the weekly Hot Latin Songs chart – the fourth most in the 35-year-old chart’s history.
Bad Bunny is also the only act who records primarily in Spanish among the overall top male artists of the year, among all genres, at No. 9.
All About Rauw Alejandro: Stepping away from his usual reggaeton and urban aesthetic, Rauw Alejandro scored with “Todo de Ti,” a Latin pop-rhythmic tune that populated the charts around mid-year.
The track led the weekly Latin Airplay list for two weeks and scored him a top 40 hit on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart and his highest ranking on the multimetric Hot Latin Songs chart (No. 2 high in September).
In addition, Rauw notched his first No. 1 on Top Latin Albums and a top 20 on the Billboard 200 with his sophomore effort Vice Versa, a 14-track set that blended his standard urban fare with synth-pop, drum ‘n’ bass and dance rhythms. As a result of his impressive charting performance on both Top Latin Albums and Hot Latin Songs, the 28-year-old closes 2021 as the year’s Top New Latin Artist. He’s additionally the No. 2 Latin Artist overall, and the No. 2 Male Latin Artist.
Latin Pop Stands Tall: Kali Uchis brought the Latin pop genre back to the forefront in 2021, as the singer/songwriter closes the year at No. 4 on the Top Latin Artists recap. She’s the highest-ranking artist of the Latin pop genre to finish in the year-end top 10 since 2018, when Shakira was No. 8.
Uchis is one of just two women in the year-end Top Latin Artists’ top 10, as Karol G is No. 3. Uchis also makes a splash as the No. 2 Top New Latin Artist and finishes at No. 81 on the overall all-genre Top Artists list.
In 2020, Uchis’ viral TikTok hit “Telepatía” spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, and the tune’s popularity spurred its parent album, the all-Spanish-language set Sin Miedo (Del Amor y Otros Demoninos) to No. 1 on the Latin Pop Albums survey (dated March 6), her first No. 1 on any weekly Billboard chart.
The set traced its surge to the song’s gain across streaming services sparked by its popularity on the video-centered social network. “To be able to create an album that I feel fully captures not only my upbringing, but also how multi-dimensional Latin music really is, was ultimately my goal,” Uchis told Billboard as the set took over atop the tally.
Regional Mexican Makes a Mark: Regional Mexican music surfaced throughout the year with distinct fusions and collaborations, mostly coming from underground trap and corridos tumbados acts. As a result, the genre garnered its first three entries ever on the 63-year-old all-genre Billboard Hot 100 songs chart.
Gera MX and Christian Nodal were first with “Botella Tras Botella” (debuted and peaked at No. 60 on May 8). Seventeen-year-old Ivan Cornejo followed with the No. 61-peaking “Está Dañada” (Oct. 23), and Grupo Firme was the latest beneficiary with “Ya Supérame (En Vivo Desde Culiacán, Sinaloa)” (No. 91 high, Nov. 13).