A perreo intenso touched down in Miami last weekend. In the colorful Wynwood area, Red Bull hosted Estados Unidos de Bass, a one-night only event that celebrated and put to the forefront the DJs, artists, and producers who are behind Latin music’s recent rise. The unsung heroes included producers like Sky Rompiendo El Bajo and Dimelo Flow, singer-songwriter Justin Quiles, and rising talent like Mariah. Música urbana was well represented that night, and surprisingly another genre, moombahton, was brought back to its roots thanks to another headliner, DJ and producer Dave Nada. Remezcla was on-hand to talk with some of the acts about participating in the special concert as well as being part of the growing Latin music movement.
Red Bull turned one of the warehouses in Wynwood into a multi-room concert experience. There were two stages setup: one for the música urbana acts like Sky and Dimelo Flow, and another stage for electronic artists like Dave Nada, and his collaborators Tittsworths and Happy Colors. No matter where you were in the building, the bass could certainly be felt everywhere and there was no shortage of perreo among the crowd. Alejandro Ramirez, who is better known as Sky, inspired the most perreo with this DJ set that blended reggaeton past and present. He would weave in and out of his hits like J Balvin and Bad Bunny’s “Como Un Bebé,” into Wisin y Yandel’s classic “Pam Pam.”
For being one of the backbones of reggaeton’s new era, Sky was very humble and soft-spoken when talking about his success as one of the most in-demand producers. “I feel great, but it’s a motivation for me to keep working hard,” he says. Many hits on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart right now are Sky productions since his studio work helped launched J Balvin as a household name. Sky recently co-produced Balvin and Bad Bunny’s collaborative album Oasis with Puerto Rican legend Tainy, who joined him onstage during his DJ set.
“To me it’s important for the culture and the fans to soak up more on the stage the DJs and the producers behind the scenes, who are very important for the market in this moment,” Sky says. Having conquered the industry as a producer, recently he has been releasing music under his own name. “As an artist, I have a chance to show my point of view, my tastes, and to put out songs that move me. I feel like a producer is always behind the artist and pleasing the needs of the artist.”
Spanish rapper C. Tangana was another special guest who performed some of the songs that Sky has released himself. “The music that I like to put on in parties is more movida,” Sky says. “It’s music that doesn’t necessarily have to comply with the commercial norms. I believe it explores more of the world and different countries that you’ll hear in a Sky set with artists who aren’t well known yet but who are important to me.”
Música urbana is the genre making the biggest moves in Latin music right now. “We’re a group of people, who aside from having talent, work every day for the music to reach every person in the world,” Sky says of the movement. His DJ set was not just reggaeton, but proudly Latinx with classics mixed in there like Elvis Crespo’s “Suavamente” and “La Bomba” by Azul Azul. “In this moment we’ve arrived to a very major point. In the future, I see all the world, all the universe are going to be moving their heads to the rhythm of Latin music.”
In the other room, Dave Nada, the pioneer behind moombahton music, was playing a wild set. It was 10 years ago that an edit of a song he made ended up launching a new genre. “I always thought Dutch house sounded like really fast dembow reggaeton, so I decided to pitch down the Afrojack remix of ‘Moombah’ by DJ Chuckie and Silvio Ecomo,” he says. “That shit went viral. It just kicked off from there and the next thing you know, everyone was making moombahton edits and it just kind of spiraled into this thing.”
Despite moombahton’s popularity in the EDM circuit, Nada used his set to remind partygoers of the genre’s Latin roots. “It went super EDM and pop and I think it’s cool that it did,” he says. “It kind of needed to, but I think there’s more to it than just that. That was like a moment. I think it’s important to push it back to its Latin roots, or the global essence of it.”
Nada played some of the music from the Moombahton 10th Anniversary album released on his own Hermanito imprint. One of the collaborations, “Te Encontré,” with Dominican group Mula especially struck a chord. “That for me is really heartfelt, very meaningful in the sense that it’s full circle. Like here we are, we’re the pioneers of this sound and here are the new generation that are doing their interpretation of that sound.”
Nada sees Latin music’s success as more than just numbers. “I think it’s pushed this whole Latin identity beyond being this gimmick or this flash in the pan, or like a big Latin boom, because all that shit is business talk,” he says. “This is a good representation to show that this is a force. With Latin music being as big as it is now and worldwide, I see moombahton growing along with that.”
Quiles was another headliner who sang his hits like “DJ No Pare” and “Que Más Pues.” “It’s a very special moment for urban music,” he says backstage. “We’re having a lot of fun.” Mariah held it down for the women on the bill. She was invited to the event by Sky personally to perform her banger with bite, “Perreito.” “Latinos are on the hype,” she added. “We’re like the wave right now. It’s like everyone is trying to ride our wave.”