J Balvin Returns to Reggaeton With Surprise Track “Ahora”

Lead Photo: Photo by Santiago Solorzano for Remezcla

While you were sleeping, J Balvin was up plotting, and now as you rise and shine, he’s got a surprise reggaeton banger you can blast while you start your day. “Ahora” dropped sneakily on Sunday night, debuting with a video that stars Balvin as a lovesick suitor who gets ditched on the dance floor (yeah, right.)

The song is Balvin’s latest release after “Machika,” a throbbing, percussion-driven track that features Brazil’s Anitta and Aruba’s Jeon Arvais. The collab was a hit, debuting in Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs Top 10 and eventually going platinum. It represents a style that Balvin told Remezcla he’s been experimenting with, which focuses on global, African-derived rhythms. He shared that he’d been working on new music that takes a closer look at dancehall and sounds “totally different from ‘Mi Gente,’ ” his massive smash from 2017.

But “Ahora” is a turn back to the Colombian star’s reggaeton roots, resembling the romantic pop urbano songs that helped him blow up on his 2016 album Energía. “Ahora” unwinds with a smooth, slow-rolling riddim that shows reggaeton is something Balvin can’t shake completely. The new track also suggests that Balvin’s upcoming project, which is rumored to come out some time this year, won’t just be an exploration of international, genre-bending sounds, but may also include some of the styles we’re used to hearing him champion in the past.

Still, Balvin doesn’t seem to have abandoned his global domination dreams. He recently delivered a much-hyped about performance of “Machika” at the 30th annual Premio Lo Nuestro awards, and explained the track on Genius’s video series Verified. He’s also up for 12 Billboard Latin Music Awards in April, in large part thanks to the success of “Mi Gente,” which is nominated for Hot Latin Song of the Year and Latin Rhythm Song of the Year.