It’s an interesting time to be a reggaeton fan, especially as nuanced conversations on representation, anti-blackness and classism continue to unfold and put a spotlight on antiquated gatekeeping and whitewashing rampant within the music industry. We at Remezcla have covered these topics extensively, frequently highlighting reggaeton’s Caribbean and Panamanian roots, as well as the exciting and unique strains emerging across Latin America, everywhere from Chile to Colombia.
Mexico is often omitted from the greater reggaeton narrative despite developing the largest music market in the Spanish-speaking world, frequently attracting heavy hitters like Bad Bunny and J Balvin, and fostering vibrant underground scenes in Monterrey and Veracruz. Parties like 01-800-Perreo in Monterrey and CyberWitches in Guadalajara have helped spread the reggaeton gospel domestically, while in Mexico City, the Perreo Millennial crew has taken up the baton as one of the capital’s leading urbano forces.
Perreo Millennial was born three years ago as a joint birthday party between co-founders Patricia Castellanos (Sugar Mami) and Jesús Daniel Hernández (Mucha Onda). After meeting at a house party the year prior, the pair struck a friendship, bonding over their love of reggaeton and their history working in nightlife – Castellanos in production and Hernández as a photographer, blogger and DJ. When they discovered their birthdays were in September, a few weeks apart from each other, they decided to throw a casual function at a small club in the city’s Zona Rosa neighborhood. However, the supposedly modest soirée escalated into a rager that welcomed over 200 people and a few existential crises.
“Coming from the punk scene and seeing all my punk and rocker friends singing along to Calle 13, I was in shock,” says Castellanos, who for a longtime considered her love of reggaeton a guilty pleasure. “At first, I was really worried that my friends would hate me for ‘becoming a reggaetonera,’ but I’m not embarrassed anymore. I mean, this is how I make my living now, and even though I’ve worked on many other projects, the most important moments in my career as a promoter, or the music industry in general, have been because of reggaeton.”
From the jump, Perreo Millennial aligned with the self-actualizing tenets of the reggaeton underground, promoting their events as inclusive and safe for all revelers, keeping covers cheap and eschewing over-sexualized flyers as well as genre limitations. Far from the first to bank on the culo-shaking power of reggaeton, their parties also became known for their unwavering support of domestic talent, sourcing acts like Yelram Selctah (Tijuana), Kryone (Morelia) and Sailorfag (Guadalajara) to compliment international bookings ranging from Talisto to Tomasa Del Real and Mi$$il. “It’s a lot of worlds colliding,” adds Hernández, “like when the Power Rangers met the Ninja Turtles.”
Collaboration is another pivotal strategy – partnering with 01-800-Perreo early on, and later teaming up with Cyberwitches to bring Spanish dancehall star Bad Gyal to Mexico for the first time. “The idea was to join forces and avoid feuding between promoters,” says Castellanos, explaining how the annual SUDA blowouts were born. Described as The Avengers of reggaeton, SUDA convenes national perreo powerhouses to pull their resources and book buzzy international acts for their first Mexican appearances. Past headliners have also included MC Buzzz, King DouDou and Florentino, while the same curatorial vision carries into Perreo Millennial’s own massive anniversary parties, which have brought Ms. Nina, La Favi, Pimp Flaco and Kinder Malo.
“I like to think people really look forward to the Perreo Millennial anniversary parties,” says Hernández, “and the truth is past events have been very memorable and this year will be no exception.” Going down on September 28, at Galera, Perreo Millennial’s third anniversary will include performances by Chilean reggaeton star Princesa Alba and influential Spanish trap DJ and producer, Steve Lean, as well as sets by EsaMiPau, Youyou Solo, Chanty OTM and Mucha Onda, himself.
As if their hometown prominence wasn’t enough, earlier this year, Castellanos and Hernández took the party international, with an invitation to showcase at Primavera Sound’s industry focused offshoot, Primavera Pro. With a panel called “El Reggaeton en México” held at the conference’s Salon De Las Ideas, Perreo Millennial’s appearance helped contextualize the evolving urbano market, much of which was reflected across the festival’s mind boggling line-up, which included Rosa Pistola, Uzielito Mix, Ivy Queen and DJ Playero. “I still think about the whole thing and can’t believe it,” reminisces Castellanos with a smile.
Though it seems like Perreo Millennial reaches new heights every few months, its founders remain focused on finding new ways to expand their reach. Hernández has become one of the most sought after DJs in Mexico City and hosts a popular radio show at Ibero 90.9 aptly named Viernes de Perreo Millennial, alongside EsaMiPau. Castellanos on the other hand is half of “perreo hentai” duo Army of Skanks, with producer Cepillo Cuevas, as well as the main booker for Jueves de Perreo at Rico, the hottest reggaeton-oriented nightclub in the city. Yet, while they remain humble, the impact of their efforts goes far from unnoticed.
“If you like maleante reggaeton, you can find that kind of party,” says Hernández, “or if you prefer Neoperreo or queer reggaeton, you can find that too. Three years ago that wasn’t possible, so we’re really happy to have helped stimulate so many exciting new endeavors throughout the city.” Newer parties like Friki Perreo and Club Cadera are already amassing loyal followings, while clubs that once shuttered their doors to urbano now can’t keep the lights on without the beckoning call of a dirty dembow riddim.
“I’m not a party animal,” muses Castellanos, “but I also can’t stop throwing events.”