An Ode to Mid-2000s Reggaeton: 20 Songs You Sweat Your Ass Off to in Middle School

Lead Photo: Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla
Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla
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The year is 2006, and you’re in somebody’s basement or overly crowded apartment. There is little to no ventilation, and everyone’s 2XL tees are soaked in sweat. Some of the attendees may or may not have braces and/or bedtimes. There’s a faint blue stripe of denim-dye residue on the surface of every visible wall, which can only be blamed on irresponsible contra-la-pared perreo. Somebody’s tía is entering the room in rolos every half hour, making routine checks to ensure that there’s no alcohol and no spit-swapping – there are both, be advised. Despite the seemingly inappropriate nature of all of this, there was definitely an undeniable sense of togetherness, brought about nothing other than reggaeton.

There was something about the sandungueo reggaeton of the early to mid-2000s that really catalyzed a movement. Don’t get me wrong – the genre had already been building on its foundation of dancehall and reggae for years before this (shout out to El General), but there was something different about reggaeton’s commercial explosion. Songs like “Gasolina,” “Oye Mi Canto,” and “Culo” popularized reggaeton, even for the gringos. All of a sudden, it was cooler than ever to be a young Latinx; we had hijacked all that was mainstream.

Please be advised that this piece could never fully encapsulate those years in all their glory – a fragment in time as special as this could never be replicated. However, I hope to at least bring you some nostalgic joy by recounting some of the fire bangers you may have heard at a getty in 2006 – in no particular order. These songs, in my opinion, most appropriately represent this moment in reggaeton.

Feel free to share any we missed in the comments, and let our Apple Music playlist take you back.

“Aquí Está Tu Caldo” - Daddy Yankee

Contrary to popular Caucasian belief, “Gasolina” is not the only reggaeton song that ever existed, nor was it the first banger put out by his majesty Daddy Yankee. This extraordinary man is the crown jewel of the genre, and we applaud him for setting the bar where it needed to be for other reggaetoneros. Also, I’m pretty sure I thought he was talking about “caldo gallego” when I first heard this song. Now, however, I realize he was probably referring to another “soupy” substance…

“El Tiburón” - Alexis y Fido

Ah, a song about a shark. Don’t you love nature? Sharks are fantastically big ocean creatures, and all the more frightening. Yeah, you should probably stay away from sharks. Wait, what was that? You want him to bring you to the shark? Are you okay, sis? In that case, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that when he says “El Tiburón,” he’s referring to his dick. Either way, Alexis y Fido’s sneaky shark peepee anthem is a must-play at any perreo party.

“Te Suelto El Pelo” - Yandel

How many unplanned pregnancies was this song responsible for? This shit is the musical manifestation of the eggplant emoji. All I have to hear is the soft “eyy” in the first few seconds and my ass starts clapping with the frequency of hummingbird wings mid-flight. The only thing stopping me from catching a body is the collection of lit-ass abuelas featured in the music video.

“Mayor Que Yo” - Wisin Y Yandel ft. Daddy Yankee, Baby Ranks, Tony Tun Tun & Hector El Father

This track was, quite frankly, the collaboration to end all reggaeton collaborations. Almost all the artists involved in the production of this song were massively popular at the time of its release. We can thank production duo Luny Tunes for fostering musical coalitions like these. By combining the styles and sounds of Wisin & Yandel, Daddy Yankee, and Hector El Father (who was not featured in this video, unfortunately), we got a fucking phenomenal song about a MILF.

“El Teléfono” - Wisin y Yandel ft. Hector El Father

You would think, judging by the soft, sweet chords of the intro, that this song would be a wholesome, romantic number. Unfortunately, for the less-informed folks, that’s not how reggaeton works. If you didn’t already know, this song is about phone sex. Does that make it any less beautiful? Did that stop 13-year-old me from obnoxiously screaming the lyrics anytime it came on? Absolutely not.

“Guatauba” - Plan B

Have you ever heard a DJ drop a fire track at the function while you’re stuck in the bathroom, so you haul ass back to the dance floor with bodily fluids possibly still trickling down your inner thigh to get a piece of the action while you still can? No? Is that just me? If there’s any song worth peeing yourself for at a party, it’s this one. Whenever this would play at a get-together, we’d all scatter like cockroaches around the room in a horny teenage frenzy to find somebody to freak with (I never said we were good kids).

“Hay Algo En Ti” - Zion y Lennox

Even though Zion is singing about how he misses his shorty, this is a somewhat laughable tune. For example, Tito el Bambino’s “DIOS LO BENDIGA” sample used to leave me with incurable laughter every time I heard it, despite its inclusion on dozens of other tracks. A wiseman once told me, “You knew you were about to sin whenever you heard this blessing at the beginning of a song,” and I’ve never been the same since. The hilarious and classic reggaeton shoutouts don’t detract from the track’s overall quality, though. Zion hits all the right high-notes while Lennox whispers in octaves so low that only certain breeds of dogs can hear him – the combination is unmatched.

"Noche De Travesura” - Hector El Father

Was I the only person pissed off about how often Tito and Hector would take turns being “El Father” and “El Bambino?” If we analyze some of the earlier stuff, we can hear Hector calling himself “El Bambino,” even in songs like “Mayor Que Yo.” Sources don’t reveal when they made the official switch, but “El Father” turned out to be a fitting title, since I’m pretty sure he is repenting for his reggaeton sins as a pastor somewhere right now. Regardless, this song is flames. Whenever you heard those bachata guitar riffs, you knew it was time to get down. Also, the video has horses. Don’t know what they were going for here, but I’m into it.

“Down” - Rakim y Ken-Y

We’ve all been heartbroken once or twice. Usually, the feeling is debilitating. How, then, is a perreo-bop like this one possible in such an agonizing state of mind? I don’t know, but it happened — a true tale of heartbreak told to us by none other than R.K.M y Ken-Y, (aka the other Tito El Bambino, sorry). We won’t clown him, though, because despite his look-a-like status, he was able to bring us the voice of so many flames, like this one, “Me Matas,” and “Dame Lo Que Quiero.” For that, we must pay respect where respect is due.

“Noche De Sexo” - Aventura ft. Wisin y Yandel

Listen. I was not supposed to be listening to any of these songs in middle school. I know that, but I was ESPECIALLY not supposed to be listening to this song. Sure, the other songs talked about ass, tits, and grinding, but this one was promoting fornication in the most straightforward way possible. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to ignore the alarming lyrics in this jam, because we are too busy indulging in the sweet sounds of Romeo Santos’ “So nasty” tagline.

“Machucando” - Daddy Yankee

The literal translation of “machucando” is “smashing,” so, given the context, we can conclude that this song is about some violent bump n’ grind action. Between this song and “Rompe,” Daddy Yankee was really trying to break a bitch in half with his pelvis. This song is animalistic and brazen, but it’s still a high-energy thot-bop for anyone at the function.

“Pa Que Retozen” - Tego Calderon

Look at Tego. No, no, no — look at this ICON. Anyone who tells you that Tego Calderon isn’t an icon is lying to you. They’re also probably the kind of person who pours their milk in the bowl before their cereal. Don’t trust them. From award-winning records, acting, and an outspoken commitment to black visibility in Latin America, Tego has really done it all. He’s an artist who really broke the mold.

“Chulin Culin Cunfly (Remix)” - Julio Voltio ft. Residente & Three 6 Mafia

Nine out of 10 times, when you tell somebody — including Three 6 Mafia stans — that their guys featured on a reggaeton track, people won’t believe you. This oft-forgotten collaboration may not have resonated with Latinos as powerfully as other numbers on this list did, but it’s still important. Aside from Julio Voltio sounding like a hilarious cartoon villain and the video’s problematic orientalizing of Chinese culture (no, we aren’t going to let that slide), this song was an early reggaeton crossover, allowing rap fans to feel connected to the genre, too.

“Atrevete-te-te” - Calle 13

“HELLO, DEJA EL SHOW, SÚBETE LA MINI FALDA HASTA LA ESPALDA” is instinctively the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Calle 13, along with a few other immensely witty bars this song includes. Before going on to become super-woke philanthropists, Residente and Visitante gave us life with this blessed banger. Equal parts comedy, equal parts ass shaking. If you don’t like this song (let alone know all the words), I reserve the right to question your character.

“Ella y Yo” - Don Omar ft. Aventura

Despite all the times Romeo warned us with his infamous line “let me find out,” we ironically let him find out…that his girl was cheating, that is. Shorty was two-timing and tricking on her vacation with her homegirls. Did she even go on the vacation? Or was she just booed up with Don Omar on the low somewhere Uptown for a week? Who knows, really? Regardless, we can appreciate this somewhat hostile yet respectful bro-moment in which Don Omar comes to Romeo “as a man” to spill the tea. Believe me, it is scalding hot.

“Yo Quiero Bailar” - Ivy Queen

This song was released on the earlier end of the 2000s, but you can bet our ass that this was still played at any function in the following decade. The intro’s bachata guitar riffs and the fire-ass fits featured in the video (shout out to the mesh gloves) will definitely bring you back. Ivy Queen was truly the boss bitch of reggaeton, and this is a boss bitch banger. It’s a worthy addition to any “Ladies Night” Spotify playlist (if you’re into that sort of thing).

“Dile” - Don Omar

This may or may not be a hot take, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: “Dile” could quite have possibly been the reggaeton snitch anthem. This could also very well have been a prologue to “Ella y Yo” if we really want to form a reggaeton conspiracy theory. Let’s dissect the lyrics: “Dile que bailando te conocí/dile que esta noche me quieres ver/cuéntale que beso mejor que el.” Don is about to lose it if shorty doesn’t come clean to her man. I can only imagine “Ella y Yo” being the result of this prior confrontation. Despite “Ella y Yo” being released a few years later, maybe this was the idea behind both songs all along. Consider it.

“Perdóname” - La Factoría ft. Eddy Lover

This song never really went mainstream like the others featured on this list, but real reggaeton heads know what’s up — especially those who were active on MySpace in 2005. I’m pretty sure I had this video embedded on my profile at some point. Social media aside, this song slapped. Between La Factoría’s sex appeal and Eddy Lover’s Mickey Mouse-ass vocals, they couldn’t be topped.

“No Te Veo” - Casa de Leones

This song, in my humble (and, subjectively bad, to some) opinion is one of the most well-known reggaeton songs in mainstream and gringo selections, second only to “Gasolina.” Its release in 2007 was definitely pivotal for the genre, paving the way to the top for softer-sounding artists like Arcángel, De La Ghetto, and — included in this group — Jowell y Randy. Even though they were already well-known in the scene, they had extremely popular record releases in the year to follow. This song might be responsible for the shift towards softer artists we now hear on the radio (*cough cough* J Balvin).

“Tra” - Don Chezina

Last but not least, we have this OG Don Chezina track, which flooded our emails by way of a dancing purple hippopotamus, and infused our get-togethers with high-energy perreo dance moves that vaguely resembled the use of a wheelbarrow. It came about a couple of years before most of these other tracks, but it’s still widely played and appreciated to this day. If you don’t know this one, it’s time to re-evaluate the songs you play at your parties.