It’s all about connection. It’s all about chemistry. And when you get three artists who in such different and unique ways create masterpieces that pay homage to the broad base of their varying yet connected cultural backgrounds, chemistry and connections are what you’re bound to get. As hip-hop, R&B, electronica, pop, and the experimental nuances of each continue to expand and shine in new ways, so too do Latino artists and their ever-expanding influence on modern music. The influence has undoubtedly always been prevalent and necessary to the foundation of the modern soundscape, but in current times, it’s gaining strength and popularity at rapid rates. The world is smaller, cultural differentiation is more common, and the artistic aspects that different regions of the world bring to the table allow for each corner of music to discover new sounds and new lanes with techniques and traditions native anywhere and elsewhere than their origins.
Hip-hop was born on the streets of New York and Los Angeles from rhythmic, poetic, and socioeconomic roots of African American tradition. It’s now everywhere and accessible to anyone.
R&B evolved from soul and Motown to coalesce with the burgeoning hip-hop world for a connection stronger than any other cross-genre bond in music. It now blends with an infinite amount of other stylistic approaches to bring the world some of the most impressive and important vocal displays.
Berlin, London, Paris, Scandinavia, Sydney, and Detroit took classical composition, merged it with technological advancements in music and each gave varying takes on the electronica movement. Today, it’s arguably the largest, most stylistically varied, and accessible mega-genre on Earth.
And now, they’re all blending into the indefinable grey areas of an imminent post-genre age where rappers sing, singers produce, and producers rap at will without the stylistic boundaries of the past. The world is connected through technology, music is limitless in its delineation, and three artists in particular are bringing their very different but very complimentary Latino spins on it all.
Out of New York City comes the musical genius of Alë Jay who, aside from being fond of the occasional verse in Spanish, merges his lyricism, flow, and vocals with his true passion – production. An absolute beast of a beatmaker, Alë Jay spends most of his time experimenting with AlëFlips – a series of his making where he remixes anything and everything at his groovy will. The result: short but very entertaining Instagram posts that give but a glimpse into his greater musical range while keeping him seemingly permanently inundated with music. In effect, he continues to improve and grow as an artist, recently winning a collaborative competition where Bacardi Rum and Major Lazer chose a producer whose experimentally inclined, electronically-nuanced music was worthy of an all-expenses paid music video sponsorship.
Doin’ to Me is a smash hit of transcendental musical aptitude where Alë Jay seamlessly folds his passions for all corners of music with almost no stylistic boundaries into one funky, and to be candid – hilarious music video. But, humor aside and pure creativity in focus, Doin’ to Me is the kind of song that would be played on every major radio station had it come from someone already under the bright shine of a pop limelight. Nonetheless, Alë Jay is well on his way and with his production skillset coupled with his ability to write and deliver vocals, he becomes the ultimate, bubbly, Latino-influenced foundation for any collaboration.
Working within the confines of a similar electro-Latino inspiration, A.CHAL is one of the quickest-growing, most underrated artists in international music. The Peruvian crowned prince of transcendental hip-hop and R&B, he also seamlessly experiments with an electronic aesthetic that coalesces to provide his own sonic texture a vibrantly hallucinogenic feel. His entire catalogue – 2016’s Welcome to Gazi, 2017’s On Gaz, and 2018’s EXOTIGAZ – has been a steady and experimentally genius rise of a young artist with bolder and more vibrant take than anyone else across a spectrum of stylistic approaches.
A dark, underworld delineation has always defined his music, granting it an auditory aesthetic that has only come to be more popular as grungy hip-hop continues to emerge from the floorboards of Toronto, London, and New York. And if any other constant has defined his career to an even greater extent, it’s the influence that a Peruvian background has had on his music. An intricate duo-lingo pattern weaves through everything he releases, entrancing listeners and setting the stage for his vibrant utilization of production techniques that – just like A.CHAL himself – stem from different places physically, culturally, and musically. He’s Peru meets Queens, Spanish meets English, South America meets North, Psychedelia meets R&B, and grunge meets hip-hop. He is a dualistic enigma whose brash experimentation and star power have been a key engine in the current explosion of Latino influence in popular music.
And when discussing star power as it relates to Latino influence and the nuances that the Spanish-speaking world is folding into a particularly experimental moment music history, it’s important to note those who shine brightest under the international limelight. At the moment, with respect due to Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna, J Balvin is the missing piece to a collaboration with Alë Jay and A.CHAL. The Columbian superstar is one of the more famous musicians alive today and a firm proponent of reggaetón, hip-hop, and R&B coalescing into his non-descript futurist grey area. Not only would his star power reign in masses to such a collaboration, but his verse would bring another creative and unique Latino spin to the work. The most upbeat and charismatic of the three, he would also work well to balance out A.CHAL’s somewhat opposite approach – granting the entire collaboration a broad feel and pulling both lyricists from their comfort zones to work with one another overtop the production and funk of Alë Jay.
With an Alë Jay beat and his groovy vibes on the hook, A.CHAL and J Balvin could trade verses all the while trading languages, trading cultural inspiration from Peru and Columbia, and trading stories about their broad, artistic, and worldly backgrounds. Alë Jay would get the platform he deserves, A.CHAL could unearth something more positivist and poppy, and J Balvin could dig deep to something less popular and more fitting of the collaboration altogether.
Es el destino.