10 Best Dembow Songs of 2023

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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In 2023, el movimiento gained important ground in both the national and international markets. With each passing year, dembow manages to rise, and this year was no exception. This contagious rhythm has taken over the streets, radio, clubs, and improvised teteos to become part of the Dominican Republic’s cultural DNA.

Dembow already appears in soundtracks of TV series and international movies, and it’s recognized in the most prestigious award ceremonies in the music industry. The impact of this music transcends all age groups, but it’s the current generation that represents this movement with intensity. The deployment of songs and new talents comes in a constant flow and is consumed by all sectors and social classes without distinction. So much so that Bad Bunny thanked part of his success to the support of the Dominican Republic. What’s more, he expressed gratitude for the chance to share the success of the multi-award winning dembow song “Tití Me Preguntó” throughout the world. Even more recently, on Drake’s album, Benito and the Canadian rapper collaborated on a dembow. Yes, a dembow titled “Gently,” demonstrating the genre’s global influence yet again.

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the impressive work of its protagonists, who work hard to sustain this popular rhythm. Exponents such as El Alfa, Tokischa, and Chimbala, among others, have been constantly stepping on the great stages of the world to export this contagious and catchy musical trend.

In short, dembow is the musical explosion of the moment, and every year, new stars emerge who shine brightly, leaping into popularity. Among the most notable are Angel Dior, Flow 28, Yaisel La Melodía, Jey One, and Yeezy. Not to mention artists like Yailin La Mas Viral, La Perversa, Tivi Gunz, Yomel El Meloso, and others, who have ascended to astronomical success this last year.

Next, we share our favorite dembow songs from 2023 based on the opinions and testimonials of radio hosts, song programmers in the media, and DJs in DR, as well as our music contributors.

— Ovni Villa

Rauw Alejandro, Angel Dior – “Tamo En Nota” 

At the start of the year, Angel Dior was already one of the rising dembowseros to watch out for. His budding career skyrocketed to the moon with several hits in 2022 that had the streets in an iron grip of culo-shaking beats that could transform any crowded room into a sauna. This year is no different, with a guest appearance at Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti tour stop in the Dominican Republic, a feature in Karol G’s acclaimed Mañana Sera Bonito album, and a collaboration with none other than Puerto Rico’s favorite star boy Rauw Alejandro, Angel Dior joins the growing network of Dominican artists bringing the sounds of teteo de calle to the ears of mainstream Latine music. As an artist with one of the strongest pen games in el movimiento and who is also adept at genre-bending, it’s no surprise Raulito was able to keep up with Dior’s rapid-fire lyrical flow. The intoxicating, percussion heavy track easily ping pongs between dembow and reggaeton with the assistance of a few synths and hi-hat snare beats. Only one month after releasing his chart-topping album Saturno, “Tamo En Nota” was a welcome addition to the already abundant number of summer hits Rauw bestowed us with. From beginning to end, the single is one of many examples of the authenticity and talent that continues to emerge from the Caribbean. – Rosy Alvarez

Jey One - “ONANA”

“ONANA” became one of the most acclaimed songs in Dominican nightclubs thanks to its extremely contagious rhythm that invites you to move your body instantly. In this hit single, Jey One raises the temperature with a performance in his own peculiar style, with quite a showcase for his flow. The most striking thing about this track is that the artist uses the word that gives the song its title, “onana,” to write a catchy and repetitive chorus. It’s easy to pronounce and full of intention, making it easy for everyone to sing along with it, regardless of their age. It’s precisely this element that became the key to it achieving its viral status. — Ovni Villa

Inka, Bigoblin, Dinamita, Leamback - "Palo"

This single begins with Inka rapping, “Yo soy la tormenta que no pronósticaron” (“I am the storm they didn’t predict”), foretelling the powerful whirlwind of the track that combines a minimalist dembow riddim to ghostly vocal incantations in the background. The fusion of dembow and palo music themes feels forbidden, as these two worlds often exist in different, albeit underground, contexts. Yet dembow — a Black Dominican rhythm stemming from el barrio — and palo music — an afrosyncretic spiritual rhythm played during ceremonies — belong together in the realm of maroon dreams where the root of it all is invoking freedom, and it was Inka and his peers who finally brought them together in this catchy, energetic single. “Palo,” featuring Bigoblin, Dinamita, and Leamback, is part of Inka’s powerful debut album Villa Mella. – Amanda Alcántara

Yaisel LM - “Boy Boy”

2023 brought us an avalanche of solo and collaborative tracks by Dominican newcomer Yaisel LM, including a co-sign by dembow giant El Alfa. But it’s his hit single “Boy Boy” the one that hit the hardest. La Melodía struck TikTok gold with this effective bop that features inventive, minimalistic production by Hansel El De La H and sexually charged bars that the rapper lays out in his raspy voice with such a delivery that makes it impossible not to want to hit the nearest club in town. He eventually recruited Blessd and NLE Choppa to hop on the song’s remix, but we keep coming back to the original version. With “Boy Boy,” we’re witnessing Yaisel LM starting to carve his own path. – Cheky

Kali Uchis, El Alfa, JT - “Muñekita”

One of the best collaborations of 2023 is “Muñekita” by Kali Uchis, El Alfa, and City Girls’ JT. After the success of her Spanish album Red Moon in Venus, the honeyed-voice singer continues to lean in with this unexpected joining of forces. Featuring the king of dembow on this song is like a badge of honor amidst the current co-opting of the Dominican genre. Even with the exciting tempo fluctuations, “Muñekita” remains fluid as a dembow and reggaeton fusion thanks to production from FABV and Mazzarri. It’s a feisty track, seeing the protagonist totally unbothered and confident. Like the song says, “Está en su mood.” — Chelsea Quezada

Mestizo Is Back, La Más Doll - “Wilan (Prendela a Valor)”

When you have a banger on your hands, you don’t need to dress it in artifice. Much of the viral success of “Wilan (Prendela a Valor),” the hard-swaggering crossover between Mestizo Is Back and La Más Doll, is its sparse production. Instead of the throbbing synthesized bass lines that have become synonymous with dembow, the song favors minimalist, clanging percussion and the tongue-twisting vocal loops that made Angel Dior one of last year’s breakout stars. Throw in some cheeky bars about sticky-icky and body-wrecking bedroom shenanigans, and voilá, you’ve got one of the year’s most undeniable rump shakers! – Richard Villegas

Mediopicky - “R0s4L14 no se invento ese sonidito”

Once again, Dominican artist Mediopicky made his way to our Best Dembow Songs list this year after we highlighted his tasty and understated Diego Raposo-produced banger “Ají Titi.” This time it’s thanks to a jam that’s equal parts club smasher and satirical social commentary. Mediopicky gets nasty on “R0s4L14 no se invento ese sonidito” with a distorted, high-octane dembow instrumental adorned with exhilarating chirping synths and samples, all pieced together to remind Rosalía stans that “Bizcochito” wasn’t the birth of dembow they want it to be, and he won’t let the whitewashing of the Dominican genre fly, not on his watch. With his music, Mediopicky is able to conjure sound, rhythm, and a sense of humor to speak his mind with satire that hits the bull’s eye every time. – Cheky

Lomiiel, Alex Roxario, Papera - “TATARA RMX”

The Dominican Republic remained the guiding light and exporter of hard-as-hell dembow, and these three young emcees have underlined this fact, ensuring the legacy lives on. “TATARA” didn’t pretend to be aimed at the charts or at an international audience by keeping the delivery fierce and the slang airtight. Still, the sheer exhilaration of the beat and how they relish in their vocal attack made for a contagious and breezy event track. You didn’t have to understand everything they were saying — with rhymes that were rebellious, horny, and hilarious at the same time — to tap into their collective excitement and to discern what made all three artists special, witnessing their prowess made for repeat listening fodder. In a year where dembow remained a vehicle for crossover success, it was exciting to hear street stuff so inherently Dominicano to know the future of the genre is in good hands. — Marcos Hassan

La Perversa - “Eta Flaca”

With a fiery, slick wordplay and the vocal rhythms that have become ubiquitous in dembow, La Perversa’s “Eta Flaca” dominated Dominican loudspeakers. And while it has all the elements of a dembow hit, the track’s unique slow tempo and La Perversa’s cadence stand out as she patiently delivers verses, tasting every line. In “Eta Flaca,” La Perversa reclaims her throne as “Mamá Tarima,” standing out as a badass perreo diva. In a year that saw women take center stage in the dembow scene, with historical moments like the Mujeres Del Movimiento sold-out concert, La Perversa’s “Eta Flaca” shines as a standout single that establishes the young dembowsera’s staying power. – Amanda Alcántara



Snitches lie in ditches, and this year, Donaty and Polo Joa underlined that age-old proverb on their troublemaking dembow rump-shaker, “EMPAQUETATE.” “Nosotros somos los malos,” declares Polo Joa with a wink, pulling air triggers that suggest he’s ready to back up his loaded warning at any moment. The song’s music video was shot amidst a throbbing teteo where burning trees and overflowing cups abound, and the hypnotic looping of the title’s ta-te syllables weaves into the song’s sparse percussive production, ultimately making for devilishly fun waist-winding time. – Richard Villegas