Meet the Masters of Latino Twerk Music

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For the past few days, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian—and, conversely, James Franco and Seth Rogen—have been keeping our hip-hop radar on overdrive with their cheesy-as-hell video for “Bound 2.” That’s part of his game, but let’s take a break from Ye and talk some twerking. And when I say twerking, what I really mean is the Latino version of twerk music. The concept isn’t totally foreign (as people also twerked to underground, reggae, and reggaeton), but the new generation of twerk music masters are everywhere, from D.F. to D.R.

Hailing from the Caribbean, Dominican twerka is a mash-up of moombahton, trap, and crunk, with hard core reggaeton, bachata, and merengue. What you get (sometimes) is a way faster version of a merengue ripiao with 808 beats, or just a pure, break-your-back dance track. Either way, it’s incredibly entertaining. If you don’t believe me check out producer Happy Colors’ “Oh Oh, Hoy Se Bebe” or download his entire mixtape Twerka Dominicana, released on Mal Dicen (home to Mediopicky) over at the Global Bass Experience. It’s a readymade party starter, but it’s also a hit or miss for me, mostly due to its suffocating lack of breaks.

Producers in Monterrey and L.A. Mexican Americans, on the other hand, are doing something much closer to the U.S. trap music that’s been getting booties twerking lately. Leading the pack is Milkman with the release of the surprisingly varied Milkstape. On that record you can find the booty-clapping, sizzurp-chugging celebration track “Assma” and the softer bass track “Luna.” But where Happy Colors is all high energy at all times, Milkman mellows out. Actually, he’s at his best when he does. You can hear this in “Where I Come From (Get Free),” a mellow, island track that heavily samples Major Lazer’s “Get Free” while functioning as an homage to L.A. life. Watching the video for the Diplo-sanctioned track drives the point home. Even if you’ve never been to El Lay, you can feel the love Milkman has for the place.

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