“La Negra Tiene Tumbao” – Celia Cruz
The direct translation of “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” is “the black woman has swagger,” and Celia Cruz embodied this title, proving that she was the “queen of salsa.” Cruz was not just a talented musical artist but an inspiring figure as well. She had to combat and overcome sexism, racism and political challenges in Cuba and the United States to make it in the industry all while navigating being an Afro-Caribbean woman. “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” encapsulates all the swagger that Cruz sings about as she encourages listeners to enjoy life well but still work hard.
“Baila Esta Cumbia” – Selena
Selena Quintanilla was a cultural icon who will forever be known as the “queen of Tejano music.” Her combination of cumbia and Latin pop helped redefine Latin music. “Baila Esta Cumbia” is one of my all-time favorite Selena songs because it makes me feel energized every time I listen to it. Despite her short-lived career, Selena remains highly venerated and relevant in Latinx culture.
“Imitadora” – Romeo Santos
Romeo Santos is often referred to as the “king of bachata,” and he infuses rhythm and blues and hip-hop into the bachata genre. His distinct, upbeat sound makes his music appealing to Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking listeners alike. “Imitadora,” a track from his latest album, “Golden,” presents a man’s passionate plea to the woman who once loved him.
“Gasolina” – Daddy Yankee
Reggaeton is a fairly new genre in Latinx music, emerging from Puerto Rico in the 1990s. The first reggaeton song that I remember listening to is “Gasolina.” Daddy Yankee is the king of reggaeton and has paved the way for many reggaeton artists to break into the mainstream American music scene. “Gasolina” remains a highly popular party song, capable of getting entire crowds of people to dance at parties.
“Chantaje” – Shakira
I have listened to Shakira’s music my entire life. She rose to success in 1996 in Latin America and then again globally in 2010 when she performed the official song for the FIFA World Cup. Apart from being a gifted musical artist, she is a philanthropist and the founder of the Pies Descalzos Foundation, which aims to provide poor children with education and food. “Chantaje” is the song that I have been playing on repeat for almost eight months, and I expect it will remain on my playlist for months to come.
“Felices los 4 – Salsa Version” – Maluma ft. Marc Anthony
Maluma is a Colombian singer and songwriter who has recently emerged in the Latin music scene. He worked with Grammy Award-winning singer Marc Anthony to produce a salsa spinoff version of his original “Felices los 4” track. “Felices los 4” was Maluma’s first single to earn a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and is an upbeat, catchy track perfect for dancing.
Jessica Andino is the Vice President of the Georgetown University Student Association.