A History of Latin Trap Music: Where Did it Come From & Where is it Going

Written by Lisandro Chihuahua

Latin Trap music has been on the rise since the early and late 2010s with artists like Bad Bunny and Anuel AA dominating the trap scene, and collaborating on songs with well-respected rap artists such as Drake, Meek Mill, Cardi B and many more. Latin Trap originated in Puerto Rico with influences like reggaeton and southern rap music making it what it is today, but the sound of Latin Trap music has evolved immensely over the years. Many trap artists have debated where the origins of Latin Trap came from because of how many artists define their own sound of trap. In 2007, the song “El Pistolon” or the “Pistoler” in English by Arcángel & De La Ghetto marks the beginning of trap according to trap artist Ozuna in a Billboard interview. Just like the origins of the first rap song called Rapper’s Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang, the song El Pistolon was the start of a new wave of music that listeners weren’t ready for, mainly the explicit verses that modern day rap talks about like sex, drugs, and money. But with the sounds of trap music, there are unique vocals and soothing beats that make it seem like it’s not.

“Messiah El Artista” is who many Latin Trap artists consider to be the pioneer of what started as Latin Trap music in New York City. They bring both reggaeton and southern trap sounds together into one dynamic genre. When listening to Latin Trap music it has a similar sound to what actual trap is in the south, but in more vulgar and explicit lyrics. In 2016, the song “La Ocasion” by De La Ghetto featuring Anuel AA, Ozuna, and Arcangel was the song that made trap boom and took it to another level, According to Ozuna. Leading other Latin trap Artist to hop on the wave and also some reggaeton legends as well. But two of the most important figures in the Latin Trap scene, such as Anuel AA and Bad Bunny that have records dominating the U.S Billboard charts and are played all over the world.

Bad Bunny and Anuel AA are the most commonly known trap artists in the Latin Trap scene. Both artists have different flows that significantly influence what Latin Trap music is about. But if you see listen and look at the way that many of these artist dresses, you can see the integration that the Latin Trap Artists are inspired by American rappers. The lyrics and lifestyle that trap artist sin the United States rap about in their songs is what many countries like Puerto Rico use to develop their own actual Trap style while keeping their cultural identity. One artist in particular that according to Ozuna: “‘defines Latin Trap is Anuel AA. He represents lyrics that really define Trap, which are the raw lyrics of the streets.”

 At the end of 2010, Anuel AA had released some songs online. Having collaboration with underground latin artists like Ozuna. In 2011, Anuel AA was signed to Rick Ross’s label Maybach Music Group; where he released his first song “Demonia” or in English, “female devil”. In addition, Anuel AA began to merge in the Latin Trap with the song called “La Ocasion” or “The Occasion” in English as the new opening to the sound of Latin trap music that has vulgar and explicit lyrics making fans want to hear more about sex, drugs, guns and money. Unfortunately for Anuel AA, on April 3, 2016 he was arrested and plead for guilty charges for having possession of unlawful possession of a firearm; according to Primera Hora. At this stage in Anuel AA’s career, his cage cell started a movement online. Having people posting #FreeAnuel, which made Anuel AA more recognizable while he was serving time in prison. But while serving time, the Latin Trap Scene was still receiving music from Anuel AA from prison, which still made him still have a voice in the trap game like songs like “Bebe” by Ozuna. Kind of like Tupac when he still had the number one album in the country while serving prison. Then on May of 2018, Anuel AA was released from prison and that same day he released his first studio album called “Real Hasta La Muerte” or “real until death”. Which he released on the same day that Anuel AA got out. His album was the number one album in the US Top Latin Albums billboards in 2018.

After having recognition in the US Billboard 200 charts and having a position of #42 in the charts. Anuel AA began to collaborate with American rappers such as Nicki Minaj, Tekashi69, and Cardi B. Anuel AA was also featured in Meek Mill’s album with a song featuring fabulous as well called Uptown Vibes. When listening to the song, you could hear that New York City Puerto Rican vibe and accent. Making one of Meek Mill’s songs from the album to peak at No. 21 in the Billboard charts 2018.

Anuel AA’s music video “Ella Quiere Beber” remix peaked at number 2 on the Top 100 Billboard charts.

Bad Bunny, who is Another Latin Trap artist that also has a significant contribution in the Latin Trap music. Unlike Anuel AA, Bad Bunny sings, raps and produces his music. While Bad Bunny was attending at the University of Puerto Rico, he began to upload music as an independent artist, getting recognition in 2016 with songs like “Diles” or  “tell them”, “Ella y Yo” or  “her and I”, Un Polvo’s “Let’s get lost quick” and many more. But for Bad Bunny, his biggest break was when he released the song “Soy Peor” or “I’m bad” on December 2016, where he received Number 22 spot on the Hot Latin Tracks Billboard. Since then Bad Bunny has collaborated with many American and Spanish Artists like Cardi B, El Alfa, J Balvin and many more. One of Bad Bunny’s biggest collaboration in 2018 was the song “Mia” or “Mine” featuring Drake, which peaked at the #10 in the 100 Billboard charts. While listening to the song, Drake comes out differently than most songs because in the song “Mia”Drake sings in Spanish having listeners have a cultural shook than most music Americans listen.

Bad Bunny’s video for “Mia”

Even though Anuel AA and Bad Bunny have changed the Latin scene and dominated in the US Billboard charts. Their contribution in both Latin Trap and rap scene have a significant amount of audience that is drawn to music because you are getting different demographics from different parts of the world. That’s why songs like “BEBE”by Tekashi 69 featuring Anuel AA and “Mia” by Bad Bunny featuring Drake, both have marketing benefits with cultures clashing together into one song that benefits both artists to be known around the world and have record sales. Anuel AA and Bad Bunny are not the only Trap artists in the industry, but with many artists that have not had the chance to have their voice to be heard in the Latin Trap US invasion in 2020.        


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