Beyond Kpop: 3 Hyperlocal Music Genres That Made Waves Around the World

By Staff Reporter | July 02, 2019 10:48 AM EDT


Different countries have different tastes in pretty much everything, no matter if it's food, sports, clothing, entertainment, humor or music. Just think of how much the Germans love football and beer, how much the Japanese love gambling and Anime, how much the Italians love tomatoes and pasta, and how much the Koreans love Kpop. But Korea is not the only country that loves Kpop - in recent years, the genre has made waves all over the world, with Kpop stars going on live concert tours filling entire stadiums everywhere from Europe to America. And it is not the only musical genre (or another very specific trait of a nation, for that matter) that has become a global phenomenon recently. Thanks to the free flow of ideas, tastes, and music, now even extremely specific things can make waves all over the world.


Reggae is a music genre that is usually associated with feel-good vibes, perhaps the consumption of psychoactive herbs, and Bob Marley's message of peace, love, and unity rooted in Rastafarianism. It has originated in Jamaica's capital Kingston in the 1960s - the origin of its name can be traced back to Toots and the Maytals' 1968 single "Do the Reggay" that effectively named the genre and introduced it to global audiences.

Reggae has spread all over the world in the 1970s, conquering charts like the Billboard Hot 100 and leaving its fingerprints on a series of musical genres ever since. Bands playing reggae have emerged literally everywhere, from the Americas to Africa, Europe, and even Japan - there, it gave birth to a local subgenre in the 1980s.


Another hyperlocal musical genre to conquer the world is reggaeton. It first emerged in the early 1990s from a fusion of hip-hop and reggae with Spanish lyrics and raps. Unlike reggae, it no longer relies on acoustic instruments but focuses more on synths, samplers, and the "dembow riddim". Reggaeton emerged in the club scene of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, first as an underground musical genre. From audiotapes sold on street corners, the genre slowly evolved to be let into music stores, and it found its way into the media.

In the mid-2000s, reggaeton found its way to the United States and Europe as well and embraced by popular artists like Shakira, culminating in the release and insane popularity of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" in 2017.


No list of local music becoming insanely popular around the world would be complete without hip-hop. The genre first emerged in the Bronx borough of New York City in the 1970s, and it went on to create an entire subculture around it. The genre has suffered several major transformations over the years, incorporating elements from a series of other genres. In time, it has become a truly global phenomenon, with many cultures blending it with their local genres, creating their own specific styles - today, there is probably no country without any hip-hop bands to show.


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