Honoring Hispanic Creators: 10 Songs You Should Blast to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept.15–Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, when we celebrate the lives and legacies paved by Hispanic culture through numerous art forms ranging from culinary, paintings and music. The hundreds of Hispanic cultures that exist are incredibly diverse in their own ways and should unquestionably be celebrated every day. These 10 songs — in both English and Spanish — are all crafted by Latinx creators and highlight some of the best aspects of Hispanic culture over the past few years.

  1. 1. “Havana (feat. Young Thug)” by Camila Cabello

    In this salsa-inspired single off her solo debut album The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving., Cuban-Mexican Camila Cabello proves that she’s the freshest it girl on the music scene. Along with the blaring of horns traditionally trademarked by Salsa music, “Havana” creates a new, distinct sound with assistance from rapper Young Thug. With a hook as captivating as “Havana, oh na na / Half of my heart is in Havana, oh na na,” this song is well on its way to becoming the song of the year.

  2. 2. “Lo Que Siento” by Cuco

    Cuco is a Chicano alternative singer from south Los Angeles who is continuously making a name for himself through — you guessed it — the internet. Cuco, the 19-year-old singer born as Omar Banos, alternates between English and Spanish in this sweet bilingual ballad. The song contains familiar, sultry synth beats and Cuco crooning “Sin ti mis días son largos y se sienten tan amargos / Me ahogo en un lago de mis lagrimas que hago / Can't look forward to my future if it ain't including you / Promise that I'm gonna love you, it's about that time you do.”

  3. 3. “Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera)” by Pitbull

    As a veteran hit-maker in the Hispanic and mainstream music scene, Pitbull not only makes his hometown supporters in Cuba and in the 305 immensely proud, but provides them with lyrically intoxicating bangers such as 2012’s “Feel This Moment” with powerhouse Latina Christina Aguilera. Mr. Worldwide is living proof that you can come up from nothing and create something exceptional.

  4. 4. “Waiting for Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez

    This song is throwing it back to 1999, where Puerto Rican icon JLo made her musical debut with her album On the 6. The Latin dance-pop influenced track, produced by Ric Wake and Richie Jones, has been claimed to be Lopez’s best song (ever) by Entertainment Weekly. There is also a Spanish version of the hit, “Una Noche Más.”

  5. 5. “La Tortura (feat. Alejandro Sanz)” by Shakira

    It’s safe to say that “La Tortura” took over every mainstream radio station in 2005 when Colombian phenomenon Shakira returned to her Spanish roots. This reggaetón influenced single, featuring Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz, translates into a story about a woman who has faced great “torture” (tortura) because her partner has cheated on her and is begging for forgiveness. “La Tortura” blew up so much that it broke several barriers for Latinos— it was first Spanish music video nominated at the MTV VMAs (2005); Shak and Alejandro also provided the crowd with the first-ever “full-fledged” Spanish performance at the awards show.

  6. 6. “Almost Like Praying (feat. Artists for Puerto Rico)” by Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Broadway phenomenon Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights) has provided the world with a star-studded single to bring awareness to the immense damage brought on by Hurricane Maria in his homeland of Puerto Rico. The song features Latino artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Luis Fonsi, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Camila Cabello and even includes Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez slaying on a rap verse. Miranda did not neglect his musical theatre roots, however; the single fittingly samples “Maria” from West Side Story in the hook: “Say it loud and there’s music playing / Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.” The proceeds of the single go to the Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund and can be purchased here.

  7. 7. “Mi Gente (feat. Beyoncé)” by J Balvin and Willy William

    Colombian singer J Balvin originally collaborated with French producer Willy William on this intoxicating club track to revamp William’s original track “Voodoo Song”; however, philanthropist and musical icon Beyoncé was added into the mix to give the single a little Houston flare. The remix of “Mi Gente,” featuring Queen Bey singing in Spanish, was released to donate proceeds to disaster relief efforts in the Caribbean islands, Mexico and Puerto Rico, that have been affected by the several hurricanes that have hit. It can be purchased here.

  8. 8. “Valió la Pena” by Marc Anthony

    This song is actually a recreation of Anthony’s previous song of the same title—only this time, it’s been revamped to a fresh, upbeat salsa version. The Puerto Rican singer re-recorded his entire 2004 album Amar Sin Mentiras and moderated every song to fit the salsa genre to release it on a new album, Valió la Pena, later the same year. There is no doubt this song will get anyone stepping along to its beat on the dance floor, as Anthony has been dubbed the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time. He even pays homage to the Cuban queen of salsa music, Celia Cruz, on the track.

  9. 9. “Obsesión (feat. Judy Santos)” by Aventura

    This 2002 bachata hit by the Dominican-American band Aventura depicts exactly what its title says: an obsession. The protagonist (vocals sung by lead singer, Romeo Santos) does not express love, but his liking of a woman (whose refrain is performed by Judy Santos) “to the point of obsession.” This single is renowned for exemplifying the signature sound of Aventura.

  10. 10. “Como la Flor” by Selena

    Although we tragically lost the queen of Mexican Tejano music too soon (RIP), Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s legacy is immortalized by her music and fashion. “Como la Flor” is one of Selena’s top-selling singles in her iconic career and is a staple in the Hispanic music community. The song illustrates a melancholic woman who has lost her lover; Selena describes how it hurts to lose that love by belting the lyrics “Como la flor, con tanto amor / Me diste tú, se marchito… / Pero, Aaaayyy! Cómo me duele.” The Tejano singer compares that lost love to a flower that has dried up and died — it was once something beautiful but now it’s gone.

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