Just as the heat of the reggaeton-rich Un Verano Sin Ti began to cool down, Bad Bunny came through with the promise he made on that album and released an all-trap follow-up, nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana. Already a huge hit despite being only a month old, it nevertheless underlined the recurring sentiment amongst fans and artists that Latine trap was making a comeback to the mainstream.
Trap stalwarts such as Eladio Carrión came out with new albums that had him join forces with U.S. hip-hop stars, strengthening the bridge between genres. Tainy, one of the few who can be called a legend, a veteran, and young all at the same time, finally dropped his full-length LP to universal acclaim. DATA reunited him with artists he’s worked with from the beginning and also newer ones that he helped elevate, all powered by his singular vision and ear.
The array of artists excelling in genres within el movimiento continued to grow beyond the music’s Puerto Rican roots — acts from Argentina to Venezuela, Chile, and beyond rapidly make up a plurality of those churning out bangers and streaming toppers. Most importantly, perhaps, are all the other ways the umbrella widened as well. Queer acts had one of their most outstanding years yet, most notably with La Cruz’s unabashed “regaytón” (as fans have coined it) and Young Miko being, well, everywhere. Check your calendar because you probably did a song with her in 2023 too. But who are we to complain when the music continues being so fire?
Read on for Remezcla’s Best Reggaetón & Trap Songs of 2023.
— Juan J. Arroyo
Feid, Young Miko – “Classy 101”
This collaboration from Colombian hitmaker Feid and Puerto Rican rapper Young Miko became an instant fan favorite when it hit airwaves last March. It also earned Young Miko her first charting song on the Billboard Top 100, and recently won them the Best Urban Song at the Los40 Music Awards. In the electrifying track, the artists take turns lusting over an unforgettable baddie that has left them both stunned and yearning for more. Pairing a classic booming reggaeton beat with delicate floating synths creates an atmosphere that oozes summer nights perreando pegadito amongst the stars. Young Miko’s flow and swaggy delivery of the track’s raunchy lyrics add necessary grit to the sentimental reggaeton vibe Feid is best known for. The song’s chorus lights an instant fire under your feet, whether you’ve heard the song once or 1,000 times, it makes you want to grab a partner and hit the dancefloor. Together, this duo created a single that’ll make you want to text the toxic ex you can’t stop thinking about. – Rosy Alvarez
Bad Bunny feat. Eladio Carrion - “THUNDER Y LIGHTNING”
After years of fans begging Bad Bunny for a trap album, the No. 1 artist did not disappoint when he released his new album, nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana. This resurrection of Trap Bunny came with exceptional features, iconic samples, y mucho fronteo. Yet there was one track that stood out loud and strong, “THUNDER Y LIGHTNING.” This specific track once again gave us the explosive combination that is Benito and Eladio Carrión. We hear Bad Bunny experimenting with drill music, a genre that has been gaining popularity within el movimiento. When Carrión steps up, his verses come packed with vicious bars that he delivered with his unique Puerto Rican hip-hop and trap flow. The contagious beat and the ferocious verses leave you craving more. It’s undeniable that both artists leave listeners bobbing their heads and mean-mugging their steering wheel on their way to work. While Bad Bunny reminds us all who the king of trap is, he also makes room for the newly crowned king of the genre, Eladio Carrión. As Bad Bunny says, “Bad Bo, Ela, no estás escuchando a cualquiera.” – Nina Vazquez
Tainy, Arcángel, Myke Towers, Jhayco, Omar Courtz, Arca - “PASIEMPRE”
Years after being a key piece in the evolution of el movimiento’s sound, 2023 finally saw the first solo album by Boricua superproducer Tainy. The star-studded DATA is a playground where Tainy found freedom to take his favorite genres to more experimental territories and explore influences like ‘80s pop and early ‘90s R&B. But no track on the album popped more than “PASIEMPRE,” a squad track featuring Arcangel, Myke Towers, Jhayco, Omar Courtz, and a surprise verse by El Conejo Malo that foreshadowed his recent return to trap. Each of them goes hard on the bars, especially Benito, who uses his time to give Tainy his flowers (“El Conejo y Tainy son Kobe con Shaq”). But the secret ingredient here is Arca and her contribution in vocals and production. Alejandra Ghersi’s sonic imprint is all over the track, giving it a gritty edge that’s balanced with her heavenly voice in a bridge that’s a high mark on the six-minute song. This is the kind of track that reminds us why Tainy deserves to be the star he is today. – Cheky
Young Miko - “Lisa”
Looking back, 2023 brought even bigger watershed moments for Young Miko than the year before. Last summer, “Riri” opened the doors for her, and this time, she blew them wide open, releasing single after collab after remix, cementing herself unequivocally as one of the top artists in the field. “Lisa” stands out from the crop by serving as a spiritual successor to “Riri” — an infectious beat, flirty lyrics that are catchy and perfect for singalongs, and an uncompromising attitude that fully owns her sexuality. Like every superstar that came before, she proved that not only is productivity one of her strengths but also knowing what her fans want and when they want it, and sometimes that’s another dose of her formula that doesn’t miss. — Juan J. Arroyo
La Cruz - “Quítate La Ropa”
In another year dominated by monster collaborations, seeing an artist break out with their own fresh, uncompromising vision is nothing short of inspiring. This summer, Venezuelan reggaeton rookie La Cruz took the Internet by storm with his so-raunchy-its-poetic ode to sexy writhing men, aptly titled “Quítate La Ropa.” Built on malevolent synths a-la-Tainy and conjuring the pearl-clutching explicitness of a certain Conejo Malo, La Cruz delivered an unabashedly gay perreo anthem that objectified men as freely and gleefully as when the genders are flipped. Before touting it as a revolutionary slice of mainstream-leaning gay reggaeton, remember artists like Young Miko, Villano Antillano, and Sailorfag have taken a rainbow battering ram to the industry for years. What makes “Quítate La Ropa” a game changer is not specifically the rise of a new LGBTQ+ reggaeton star but how it continues to normalize artists living, creating, and fucking in their truth, regardless of industry or public approval. – Richard Villegas
Bad Gyal, Tokischa, Young Miko - "Chulo pt. 2"
On paper, having these three ladies team up for a song seemed like a no-brainer, bridging some of the biggest talents to ride a dembow beat. The three of them are lyrically gifted artists with hot careers that can deliver sexually charged subject matters with equal parts raunch and finesse. However, what “Chulo pt. 2” proved was that each of these women has their own way of giving us horny verses that reflect their personalities and give voice to different attitudes towards sex, partying, and having a good time. Bad Gyal went in a slightly more pop-than-dancehall direction, anchoring the track around a hook and a mood. Tokischa’s verse brings the sex talk to considerable new heights, and Young Miko flipping the script to talk about the girls she’s attracted to while switching between hard bars and melodic motifs. All in all, “Chulo pt. 2” was a celebration of female sex and good times like no other song in 2023. — Marcos Hassan
Nicki Nicole, Milo J - “DISPARA ***”
Nicki Nicole has various multi-genre collaborations – but this might be her best one yet. “DISPARA ***” turns heads with its simple, hard-hitting melody produced by Santiago Alvarado and Santiago “Tatool” Ruiz. Upon first listen, the joint track immediately entices its listener with its sharp, seducing synths that make their way into a hip-hop beat peppered with trap elements and shy piano chords. The Argentinian artist slays the earworm with her signature flow, rapping about having “el don” and shining even when people try to dim her light. Milo J, her emerging rapping compatriot, then lays his like-minded, deep-voiced verse about haters who criticize him for having a dream and how he’s complete without anyone else. Together, they deliver a now Latin Grammy-nominated “haters gonna hate” head-bopping anthem complete with a gunshot cadence that climaxes the song title and, at the same, gives us a hot preview of Argentina’s current popular hip-hop/trap hitmakers. – Jeanette Hernandez
Latin Mafia - “Julietota”
Though Latin Mafia doesn’t like to limit themselves to one genre, the Mexican ensemble came through with a reggaeton banger. At the end of 2021, Emilio, Milton, and Mike de la Rosa first teased their freaky side at the end of R&B track “Julieta.” But now she is all grown up in the explosive sequel “Julietota,” which sees the brothers fully lean into reggaeton. Mike produced the best perreo to come out of Mexico this year. Emilio and Milton sing about a baddie who is living her best life in the club, whether she’s dancing with men or other women. Latin Mafia ends the song on a meditative R&B note, which feels like a hangover the morning after the party. – Lucas Villa
J Noa - “Autodidacta”
In the world of pop rap where artists are often encouraged to pursue commercial hits, “Autodidacta” is a rare, refreshing hymn that shines in its honesty and gut wrenching lyrical mastery. Every line that J Noa drops is intentional, as she boasts with the kind of hunger that can create legends — and with this Latin Grammy nominated single, she’s well on her way. The teen rapper has broken through the scene with strong vocal cadence and lines about the struggle of growing up in Dominican barrios, and in this single she doesn’t hold back from these themes all while dropping bombs on haters. In “Autodidacta,” she raps about music as her lifeline, reaching a sort of climax when the beat changes and she doubles her speed. It is this vocal dexterity that made her September Tiny Desk appearance go viral, flexing her skills for the audience and standing in her truth as “la hija del rap.” — Amanda Alcántara
Taiko, AK4:20 - “Casti”
A blend of old-school reggaeton beats and assertive lyrical and sonic expression, “Casti” is a daring illustration of Taiko’s ever-evolving production. Created alongside AK4:20 on the same day they made “Malibu” — a romantic song that combines a tropical flute sound with a light, synth chord progression — the two songs are vastly different and exemplify the wide range of sound that the duo is capable of. Surrounded by runway models in the music video for “Casti,” while delivering lines like “miradas robo cuando llego pisando destino,” AK4:20 and Taiko make the statement that they’ve made their own destiny, and now everybody wants a slice. — Daniella Tello-Garzon