Let’s Put the Shine Where It Belongs – 8 Dominican Artists Making Merengue Electrónico to Know

Lead Photo: Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla.
Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla.
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With the release of Karol G’s new single “Si Antes Te Hubiera Conocido,” an unexpected controversy was instantly unleashed on social media, as Rosalía fans were quick to point out the song’s similarities to the Catalan artist’s record-breaking hit “DESPECHÁ,” going as far as claiming she’s the originator of merengue electrónico altogether. While this may seem like a petty back-and-forth drama between fandoms, it highlights a much larger issue: the erasure of the genre’s roots and the disproportionate recognition given to non-Dominican, often if not always white, artists who dabble in the genre.

Not to be confused with the popular Afro-Cuban genre popularized by the likes of Dámaso Pérez Prado, Benny Moré, and Tito Puente, the Dominican Republic’s mambo, also known as merengue de calle and merengue electrónico — in which the aforementioned Karol G and Rosalía songs fall under — has a distinct identity. This style is characterized by its use of electronic music production, following in the footsteps of ‘80s Venezuelan tecnomerengue and ‘90s D.R./New York merenhouse. Add some of that street swagger to the mix, and you have the bombastic party music that has proven to be an infallible dancefloor demolisher. 

Merengue de calle has been dominating the airwaves for decades in and out of the Dominican Republic thanks to mainstay names such as Fuego, Omega, and Chino y Nacho’s distilled, harmless take, plus genre incursions by the likes of Daddy Yankee and Farruko. And just like Rosalía and Karol G, other non-Dominican white and light-skinned mestizo artists have dipped their toes on a mainstream scale, including Shakira (“Rabiosa”), Belinda (“Si No Te Quisiera”), Becky G (“Arranca”), and Bad Bunny, who even brought his “Después De La Playa” to the Grammy stage in 2023.  

But even with merengue de calle’s popularity and reach (you’ve probably bumped into Mala Fe’s “La Vaca” on TikTok many a time recently), there seems to be a disconnection between general audiences outside the Dominican Republic and the genre. This disconnect raises a critical point: why does the spotlight often shine brighter on non-Dominican artists while those from the culture and its significance remain in the shadows? 

To address this, we compiled a list of eight veteran and newer artists who take on merengue de calle in their singular way. Along with this, we’ve put together a 50-song Spotify playlist for you to get acquainted with and dance to. Instead of centering the conversation around the Rosalía/Karol G controversy, let’s honor and recognize the true origins of this genre and celebrate the Dominican artists who continue to keep its vibrant spirit alive. 


The undisputed king of mambo, Antonio de la Rosa, aka Omega El Fuerte, aka simply Omega, has been spearheading merengue de calle since coming out back in the early 2000s. Hits like “Merengue Electronico,” “Tu Si Quieres, Tú No Quieres,” and “Si Te Vas / Que Tengo Que Hacer” have propelled him to icon status, and his influence on fellow contemporary merengueros is undeniable. Even Rosalía name-drops him on “DESPECHÁ” — and he actually recorded a verse for the original version of the song but was ultimately cut.


Another torchbearer of merengue de calle is Fuego, who helped put mambo on the map with 2010’s “Una Vaina Loca,” his atomic bomb of a hit that still ripples today in all kinds of parties around the world. Born Manuel Ángel Durán Jr., the Dominican singer often stretches his talent to trap and club music, but his merengue output has the sauce. Just listen to “Que Buena Tu Ta,” his 2009 Indian-tinted collaboration with Deevani that could be released today and still shake the charts.

Rita Indiana y Sus Misterios

A household name in Latin America’s indie world and beyond, multi-hyphenate artist Rita Indiana blasted the doors of the music world open with her 2010 debut full-length with Los Misterios, El Juidero our top album of the 2010s. Songs like “El Blue Del Ping Pong” and “La Hora De Volve” revolutionized the way merengue could be reinterpreted by using elements from rock and electronic music, and she continued exploring mambo on her awaited 2020 follow-up Mandiga Times with “Ensalmo.” But besides her unique musical point of view, it’s her sharp, witty lyrics that set her apart from the rest.


Dominican producer Mediopicky has a gift for blending disparate genres and creating songs that are unapologetically his, as we can hear all over his noted 2022 self-titled album. He uses Caribbean music as one of his main sources of inspiration, and merengue is always in his arsenal. The minimalistic social commentary of “la geopolitica” and the absurdly lo-fi coolness of “proyecto dos” are two great examples. Head over to his Instagram account, and you’ll even find a hilarious parody of “Si Antes Te Hubiera Conocido,” where he imagines Karol G dedicated the song to him, and he bluntly turns her down.

Letón Pé

Although she effortlessly jumps from R&B to dance music to tropical beats, D.R.’s Letón Pé always keeps her country’s music in her heart. It’s on her latest EP Rojo Rubí, where she decided to really embrace its influence. That’s how she gave us some spectacular merengue bangers, from the mambo violento-inspired “Tengo Miedo” with Cabra, Calacote, and Tonga Conga, a sweeter mambo on “Bailo Pa’ Mí,” and even sampling the Los Hermanos Rosario staple “La Dueña del Swing” on “Rojo Rubí – Rompiendo La Cadera.” If you’re looking for merengue fusion that’s current and stimulating, Letón Pé is your girl.

Juliana Oneal

On the more classic end of the merengue spectrum, singer Juliana Oneal has found success in her home country with her flavorful songs, which include her biggest hit “Estúpido,” as well as a list of covers of songs by Gloria Trevi, Ángela Carrasco, and even Madonna. Her latest release is a cry against domestic violence alongside Didi Hernández, but it’ll be harder to find her in the studio nowadays. Since last May, she became a congresswoman representing Santo Doming Este. She really said, “Merengueras al poder.”

Mambo Flow

From Santiago de Los Caballeros, Luis Germán Santos, or Mambo Flow, is as mambo de calle as they come. Sharing the hip-hop edge of fellow merengueros Omega and Fuego, this newcomer has already made a splash with his 2019 debut single “Quienes Son Ellos,” and he has kept the ball rolling with more recent bops like “Millonario,” “No La Tienen,” and “Una Noche Más.” When you hear his tag, “Eto’ E’ Otro Coro, Otro Maldito Coro,” you just know what’s coming is about to be fire.

Dahian El Apechao

If Dahian El Apechao’s name rings a bell, it’s because you’ve heard him bring the heat on Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti hit single “Después De La Playa,” which even led him and his band to perform at the 2023 Grammy Awards with the Boricua artist. Apart from singing, Luis Daniel Frías Felix is a songwriter, producer, arranger, pianist, and guitarist who has previously collaborated with big names like Farruko. He has spent his 2024 sharing live renditions of his greatest hits, including his famous “Popurrí 2.0,” a homage to old-school merengueros Ruby Pérez, Sergio Vargas, and Los Hijos del Rey, to name a few.