6 Famous Latinx Songs You Should Know That Aren't 'Despacito'

This past summer, our radio stations were constantly playing “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi. If you haven’t heard of “Despacito,” then you probably live under a rock (or don’t keep up with popular music). “Despacito” is a Reggaeton song by Luis Fonsi, but the version that became popular in America featured Justin Bieber singing in Spanish alongside Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. The success of “Despacito” shows that Americans really are interested in music from different cultures and languages (either that, or they just liked Justin Bieber singing in Spanish).

With all the hype surrounding "Despacito," especially among non-Spanish speakers, I believe it’s important for those who aren’t Latinx to immerse themselves in other popular Spanish songs from different parts of Latin America. Here are some songs that are popular amongst Latinxs that everyone should listen to.

1. “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” by Selena Quintanilla

You may know Selena’s story as portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in the biopic Selena. Selena Quintanilla was a Mexican singer who’s best known for her songs “Como La Flor” and “I Could Fall In Love,” among others. She was famous for her Chicana music, as well as her crossover into English songs in her last album Dreaming of You. Selena was very proud of her Mexican-American culture, and passed away far too soon at the age of 24. She was shot and killed by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar. Her music continues to live on in Latin America and beyond. Take a listen to her song “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”

2. “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” by Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz (a.k.a the Queen of Salsa) was a famous Cuban singer who’s best known for her songs “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.” “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” and “Quimbara.” She took great pride in her Afro-Cuban heritage, and she was well known for her powerful, distinctive voice. Her percussive and rhythmic music is still played at almost every Cuban party (at least the parties my family puts on), and she’s a role model to many Latinxs all across the world. She had a major influence on Cuban music, and her memory still lives on today through other Latinx artists. Listen to “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” above.

3. “La Dueña del Swing” by Los Hermanos Rosario

This Merengue song is sure to get you up on your feet and moving your hips the minute it plays. Los Hermanos Rosario are a Merengue band from the Dominican Republic. Their song “La Dueña del Swing” has percussive and brass-heavy rhythms that make it irresistible to dance to. At your next party, add this song to your playlist, grab your friends off their feet, and move those hips to “La Dueña del Swing,” I guarantee it’ll be a night to remember!

4. “Dile al Amor” by Aventura

Aventura was a bachata band from The Bronx consisting of Henry, Lenny, Max and Romeo Santos (who is now a solo artist since they disbanded). They’re well known for their songs “Obsesion,” “Un Beso” and “Dile al Amor.” Bachata is a style of social dancing that originated in the Dominican Republic, where Aventura family members are from. It is a popular style of Latinx music and dance today where artists like Prince Royce and Romeo Santos continue to popularize the genre. “Dile al Amor” has a powerful yet calming percussive rhythm because of the use of bongos and acoustic guitar. They complement each other very well when led by Romeo Santos’ soothing vocals. You can listen to Aventura above.

5. “Reggaeton Lento (Bailemos)” by CNCO

This Reggaeton song has been a hit on Latinx music charts since it was released in 2016. “Reggaeton Lento” currently has over one billion views on YouTube and over 300 million plays on Spotify. The song even won an award for the category “Best Song for Chillin’” at Premio Juventud! They were up against big names like Shakira and J Balvin for the award, but in the end CNCO they won. If you’d like to learn more about CNCO, you can read my previous article here.

6. “Felices los 4” by Maluma

It’s difficult to not include Maluma on this list when talking about good Latinx artists and songs. He’s very popular right now with songs like “Felices los 4” and Shakira’s song that he’s featured on “Chantaje.” Maluma is an up-and-coming artist in the Latinx music industry, and at 23 years old, he’s definitely killing the game already! The music video for “Felices los 4” includes Wilmer Valderrama and his girl, who Maluma is low key with. It’s a catchy tune, and it’s under many genres including Reggaeton, R&B/Soul, Salsa/Tropical and Pop. Maluma knows how to incorporate many genres into one beautiful song. He’s also very good looking (if you aren’t convinced to listen to his song by now). Watch Maluma’s “Felices los 4” above.

It would be nearly impossible to list all the good Latinx songs because of how diverse and vast Latin America is, so I highly recommend looking up more songs online. All of us Latinxs are so different and unique in culture and music, but we are all united by our love of music and dance. The music of Latin America is beautiful. It is an expression of our love and symbol of our culture. If you’re not Latinx and don’t speak Spanish, you can still enjoy the music of Latin America. When you’re at your next group hangout or party, put some Latinx songs on your playlist, and impress your friends with your dancing skills! You’re sure to be the life of the party.