New book: Reggaeton


Reggaeton is an anthology of critical essays, interviews, and creative writings on reggaetón edited by Raquel Z. Rivera, Deborah Pacini Hernández, and Wayne Marshall. As its original working title indicated, this collection offers historical, aesthetic, and critical perspectives for “reading” reggaetón. It provides an in-depth exploration of the social and sonic currents that coalesced into reggaetón in Puerto Rico during the 1990s.

This anthology examines reggaetón’s history, musical aesthetics, discourses and images, dance, technology, as well as issues such as migration and media globalization, from the multiple perspectives of production, dissemination, consumption and performance. The essays analyze the implications of reggaeton’s current location within transnational communities, global capitalism, and the discourses and practices of intersecting and competing identities.

Mark Anthony Neal, author of Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic, sums up the book’s important contribution to contemporary studies of culture and society by saying, “I cannot overstate how critically important this volume is. It captures the synergies of a musical and cultural movement that few have seriously grappled with, even as the sounds and styles of reggaeton have dominated the air space of so many urban locales.”

Raquel Z. Rivera is the author of New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone (2003) and Research Fellow at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College. She began writing about reggaetón in 1994, before the genre was widely known, in the pages of Claridad, Diálogo, the now defunct The San Juan Star, United States in Vibe, Urban Latino, and Hoy. From 1996-2001 she was the New York correspondent for In the House Magazine, the first magazine to cover the local rap and reggae scene in Puerto Rico.

Deborah Pacini Hernández, associate professor of Anthropology and director of the Latino Studies Program at Tufts University, is co-editor of Rockin’ Las Americas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America and author of Bachata: A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music.

Wayne Marshall, post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, has published articles and reviews in Popular Music, Interventions, and The World of Music. His blog has been featured in the Village Voice education supplement and one of his posts on reggaetón, “we use so many snares,” has been selected for the DaCapo Best Music Writing 2006 anthology.

For more information, see

For review and ordering information, see

For a full review by Jorge Duany (in Spanish), see

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