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5 Women Essential To Reggaeton: Ivy Queen, Natti Natasha, Karol G, Ms Nina & Mariah Angeliq
In honor of Women’s History Month, GRAMMY.com spotlights the female artists who have helped shape reggaeton, while contributing to its unstoppable force
Historically, reggaeton has been somewhat of a boy’s club — much like the music industry as a whole, for that matter. Women in reggaeton have been a rare breed, particularly when the genre emerged, and it’s only been in the last decade that more female visibility is forming across global Latinx communities.
A female presence in reggaeton should be the norm, though, considering that the genre is bidding for global dominance. "¿Y dónde están las mujeres?," so yells the DJ in basically every single Latin party — yet as "Despacito" became the most watched music video in 2020 and Bad Bunny broke a 64-year-old record on the Billboard 200, reggaeton presented as male-dominated.
Pero las mujeres están aquí: Panamanian songwriter Erika Ender co-authored "Despacito"; Natti Natasha and Becky G slid their way into the billion views club; and Karol G became the first female reggaeton artist to perform at Colombia's historic Estadio Atanasio Girardot. Before such feats were possible, women had to fight their way through.
In the ‘90s, male Puerto Rican DJs created "old school" reggaeton — a robust concoction of Jamaican dancehall, Panamanian reggae en Español and New York Latin rap. The hard-hitting tropical sound was styled for the clubs and, more often than not, accompanied by crass and misogynist lyrics, and collectives like the Noise and DJ Playero delivered mixtapes by the plenty.
Ivy Queen, freshly returning from New York to her native Island, became the first lady of reggaeton, bringing her provocative rap game from abroad. At the turn of the decade, La Sista contributed her invigorating bars to the genre, providing a much needed feminine balance to the scene. A few years later, Puerto Rico-New York twins Nina Sky featured in "Oye Mi Canto," a timeless banger alongside Daddy Yankee and N.O.R.E.. But it would still take a resurgence for more women to represent and be represented.
Fast forward to reggaeton’s second coming of the ‘10s where the genre spread like wildfire in Miami, Colombia, Los Angeles, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and beyond. While male domination seems inescapable in some places, a formidable slew of females boldly stepped into the forefront and would prove their lasting power: Karol G, Becky G, and Natti Natasha. Then, more established singers came into the fore: Anitta from Brazil, Cazzu from Argentina, and Farina in Colombia, as well as rising new talent like Miami-based Boriqua RaiNao. And then there are the dames of neoperreo who formulated their own digitized iteration of the style: DJ Rosa Pistola, Tomasa Del Real, and La Goony Chonga.
By no means is this a comprehensive list, but a starting point to get to know five essential women of reggaeton, who cover sonic ground from various corners of pop culture.
Ivy Queen: The pioneering reggaeton rapper helped put the Caribbean-rooted genre on the global map
The O.G. La Caballota. Ivy Queen is the undisputable queen of reggaeton. As the first lady to join the ranks of the legendary collective the Noise, the singer/rapper instantly impressed the room when she stepped into genre-pioneer DJ Negro’s marquesina in the mid ‘90s and began to ferociously spit what would be her first hit song, "Muchos Quieren Tumbarme."
Alluding to a boxing ring, her power-charged lyrics of female empowerment shone startlingly bright.She unappologetically provided a feminist balance to reggaeton’s hedonistic counterpart. By the turn of the new millennium, she took the genre global with dancefloor anthem "Quiero Bailar" — a flirtatious but dignified track about never confusing perreo with a possible one night stand.
"When I entered the urbano genre to sing reggaeton, there were many lyrics similar to the ones we hear now [in trap] because they denigrated women too much. So the first thing that came out of my mouth was to give respect to the ladies. That was a blessing," she told Rolling Stone.
Decades later, Her Royal Reggaeton Highness still lives up to her name, as testified in 2019’s Llego La Queen, where her linguistic prowess continues to outshine plenty of genre peers. Ivy Queen continued in Rolling Stone, "I always followed lyrical content. I am content. I don’t want to be just a cover that people see on the outside. I want women to feel identified when they listen to me."
Natti Natasha: Reggaeton gets the Dominican treatment
Natti Natasha first broke the internet when she appeared as a love bandit in 2017’s "Criminal" alongside superstar Ozuna for a sizzling duet; its captivating music video has gone on to reach over 2.3 billion viewers. A year later, the Dominican provocateur passed the billion-streaming mark, this time with another female reggaeton powerhouse in tow, Becky G, in the salacious single "Sin Pijamas."
"This type of message is usually given by men," the singer told Deezer about the aforementioned song. "I feel that it was a moment where women felt no shame, in a good way, to say what men usually say."
Claiming influences from Lauryn Hill and Ivy Queen, Natti Natasha is armed with an irresistible smoky flow, and a voice that can turn fiery in an instant. She has become one of the world’s most-watched female artists on YouTube, and the rest is herstory. The singer recently stepped into Dominican dembow, reggaeton’s more hyperactive cousin, with fellow stars El Alfa and Chimbala, for a frisky tropical fête.
Karol G: A Colombian superstar praised as the new queen of Reggaeton
Karol G (née Carolina Giraldo Navarro) is perhaps the most successful female artist to rise from reggaeton’s resurgence. Billboard heralded her as "the Next Latina Queen," her millions of fans praise her as the new queen of reggaeton, and a Univision documentary named her "the warrior of the genre."
Just as Ivy Queen shattered misogynistic boundaries in the ‘90s and aughts within reggaeton, Karol G also stood high as a female powerhouse in a heavily male-dominated space at the start of reggaeton’s second wave. Owning her sexuality over mesmerizing, sensuous vocals, the Colombian artist is an unstoppable hitmaker, releasing timeless songs from the slinky, suggestive "Mi Cama" to the boss-b**** anthem "Bichota," and the GRAMMY-nominated, violin-laden "Tusa," starring Nicki Minaj.
In 2018, the Medellín singer earned the coveted Best New Artist award at the Latin GRAMMYs. Last year, she dropped a 11x Platinum album, KG0516, which peaked at No. 1 on the US Top Latin Albums charts. "I always wanted to be the biggest in Latin America, and I thought that was the biggest I could get," she told Billboard. "But ‘Tusa’ shook me up. It came to tell me, ‘You’re ready for the world, not just Latin America.'"
Mariah Angeliq: Rising reggaeton star brings her deliciously 'toxic' Miami swagger to the game
With her insouciant vocal delivery, no short of sensuous, Mariah Angeliq is a rising star to watch in the ever-expanding música urbana scene. Proclaimed as La Princesa de Miami, the 22-year-old Cuban-Puerto Rican singer, made her big entrance next to Karol G in last year’s chart-topping smash hit "El Makinon," which earned the fiery duet a No. 1 slot on Latin Airplay.
Angeliq has performed alongside J Quiles, Luísa Sonza and Ludmilla, to name a few, but shows that she can also shine on her own in her latest bad grrl banger, "La Tóxica." With a 2020 EP out Normal, and a slew of sultry singles, the proud 305 artist is currently working on her full-length debut.**
Ms Nina: The madam of neoperreo reps bold, sex-positive rap bars
A freakier spin-off to the Caribbean club genre, neoperreo is reggeaton’s digitized, weird cousin. Emerging from the underground of Latinx parties from around the world — with key members making noise in Chile (Tomasa del Real, a.k.a. La Reina del Neoperreo), Spain (Ms Nina) and Miami (La Goony Chonga) — this community of sex positive mostly-female rappers is a defiant presence against the misogynistic wordplay of various male reggaetoneros.
Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Ms Nina, née Jorgelina Andrea, built her music project in Madrid and has been making the rounds as one of the most provocative players of the scene. In 2019, she dropped Perrando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro via Mad Decent and continues to release riveting singles across streaming platforms.
"It’s good to see more women making music now," Ms Nina told Indie Mag. "There’s a growing scene for women in Spain that are making music. They’re doing it really well which inspires more women to be active in making music, because normally they say reggaeton is very machista, and when a woman says equal things she is considered a slut. That’s why I’m trying to create equality for both. Women should feel comfortable being sexy when being out and partying."
Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
How The Latin GRAMMYS Brought Latin Music Excellence To The 2024 GRAMMYs
Latin music was celebrated throughout GRAMMY Week and on Music's Biggest Night. Read on for the many ways Latin music excellence was showcased at the 204 GRAMMYs.
The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs may have occurred months ago and thousands of miles away, but the leading lights in Latin music also shined at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. From historic wins and meaningful nominations, to electric performances and interesting installations, Latin music excellence was everywhere.
In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMYs in 2024, the exclusive GRAMMY House — the site of multiple GRAMMY Week events — included a significant installation dedicated to the Biggest Night In Latin Music.
The cylindrical display showcased some of the biggest moments in Latin GRAMMY history, including images, facts, and even a real Latin GRAMMY award.
The celebration of Latin music continued throughout GRAMMY Week, with several Latin GRAMMY-winning artists also winning on the GRAMMY stage. Among the major moments at the 2024 GRAMMYs, Karol G won her first golden gramophone for her 2023 LP Mañana Será Bonito. "This is my first time at GRAMMYs, and this is my first time holding my own GRAMMY," the Colombian songstress exclaimed during her acceptance speech.
Premiere Ceremony presenter Natalia Lafourcade — whose Todas Las Flores won big at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs — also took home the GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album. She tied in the Category with Juanes.
Beyond the stage, Latin artists graced the red carpet and the nominations list. For example, producer and songwriter Edgar Barrera was the only Latino nominated in the Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical Category.
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
How The 2024 GRAMMYs Saw The Return Of Music Heroes & Birthed New Icons
Between an emotional first-time performance from Joni Mitchell and a slew of major first-time winners like Karol G and Victoria Monét, the 2024 GRAMMYs were unforgettably special. Revisit all of the ways both legends and rising stars were honored.
After Dua Lipa kicked off the 2024 GRAMMYs with an awe-inspiring medley of her two new songs, country star Luke Combs followed with a performance that spawned one of the most memorable moments of the night — and one that exemplified the magic of the 66th GRAMMY Awards.
Combs was joined by Tracy Chapman, whose return to the stage marked her first public performance in 15 years. The two teamed up for her GRAMMY-winning hit "Fast Car," which earned another GRAMMY nomination this year thanks to Combs' true-to-form cover that was up for Best Country Solo Performance. The audience went wild upon seeing a resplendent, smiling Chapman strum her guitar, and it was evident that Combs felt the same excitement singing along beside her.
Chapman and Combs' duet was a powerful display of what the 2024 GRAMMYs offered: veteran musicians being honored and new stars being born.
Another celebrated musician who made a triumphant return was Joni Mitchell. Though the folk icon had won 10 GRAMMYs to date — including one for Best Folk Album at this year's Premiere Ceremony — she had never performed on the GRAMMYs stage until the 2024 GRAMMYs. Backed by a band that included Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Blake Mills, Jacob Collier, and other accomplished musicians, the 80-year-old singer/songwriter delivered a stirring (and tear-inducing) rendition of her classic song "Both Sides Now," singing from an ornate chair that added an element of regality.
Later in the show, Billy Joel, the legendary rock star who began his GRAMMY career in 1979 when "Just the Way You Are" won Record and Song Of The Year, used the evening to publicly debut his first single in 17 years, "Turn the Lights Back On." (He also closed out the show with his 1980 classic, "You May Be Right.") It was the latest event in Joel's long history at the show; past performances range from a 1994 rendition of "River of Dreams" to a 2022 duet of "New York State of Mind" with Tony Bennett. The crooner, who died in 2023, was featured in the telecast's In Memoriam section, where Stevie Wonder dueted with archival footage of Bennett. And Annie Lennox, currently in semi-retirement, paid tribute to Sinéad O'Connor, singing "Nothing Compares 2 You" and calling for peace.
Career-peak stars also furthered their own legends, none more so than Taylor Swift. The pop star made history at the 2024 GRAMMYs, claiming the record for most Album Of The Year wins by a single artist. The historic moment also marked another icon's return, as Celine Dion made an ovation-prompting surprise appearance to present the award. (Earlier in the night, Swift also won Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights, announcing a new album in her acceptance speech. To date, Swift has 14 GRAMMYs and 52 nominations.)
24-time GRAMMY winner Jay-Z expanded his dominance by taking home the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, which he accepted alongside daughter Blue Ivy. And just before Miley Cyrus took the stage to perform "Flowers," the smash single helped the pop star earn her first-ever GRAMMY, which also later nabbed Record Of The Year.
Alongside the longtime and current legends, brand-new talents emerged as well. Victoria Monét took home two GRAMMYs before triumphing in the Best New Artist category, delivering a tearful speech in which she looked back on 15 years working her way up through the industry. Last year's Best New Artist winner, Samara Joy, continued to show her promise in the jazz world, as she won Best Jazz Performance for "Tight"; she's now 3 for 3, after also taking home Best Jazz Vocal Album for Linger Awhile last year.
First-time nominee Tyla became a first-time winner — and surprised everyone, including herself — when the South African starlet won the first-ever Best African Music Performance GRAMMY for her hit "Water." boygenius, Karol G and Lainey Wilson were among the many other first-time GRAMMY winners that capped off major years with a golden gramophone (or three, in boygenius' case).
All throughout GRAMMY Week 2024, rising and emerging artists were even more of a theme in the lead-up to the show. GRAMMY House 2024 hosted performances from future stars, including Teezo Touchdown and Tiana Major9 at the Beats and Blooms Emerging Artist Showcase and Blaqbonez and Romy at the #GRAMMYsNextGen Party.
Gatherings such as A Celebration of Women in the Mix, Academy Proud: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Voices, and the Growing Wild Independent Music Community Panel showcased traditionally marginalized voices and communities, while Halle Bailey delivered a GRAMMY U Masterclass for aspiring artists. And Clive Davis hosted his Pre-2024 GRAMMYs Gala, where stars new and old mingled ahead of the main event.
From established, veteran artists to aspiring up-and-comers, the 2024 GRAMMYs were a night of gold and glory that honored the breadth of talent and creativity throughout the music industry, perfectly exemplifying the Recording Academy's goal to "honor music's past while investing in its future." If this year's proceedings were any indication, the future of the music industry is bright indeed.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Big First Wins At The 2024 GRAMMYs: Karol G, Lainey Wilson, Victoria Monét & More
The 2024 GRAMMYs were momentous in a myriad of ways, including major firsts. Here's a rundown of big first wins by Paramore, Zach Bryan, Tyla and others.
Several of the most memorable moments came from first-time winners. In fact, there were 126 at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, spanning a wide array of talent across genres. From Colombian songstress Karol G to indie rock supergroup boygenius and country singer Brandy Clark, take a look at some of the biggest acts that took home their very first golden gramophones.
Miley Cyrus Celebrated Her First Wins With A Pumped-Up Performance
Miley Cyrus may have taken home the coveted Record Of The Year for "Flowers," but a different Category may have been the biggest achievement. Just before her performance on the GRAMMY stage, Cyrus won her first-ever golden gramophone for Best Pop Solo Performance.
"This award is amazing, but I really hope it doesn't change anything, because my life was beautiful yesterday," Cyrus said while accepting her first award.
"Flowers" is featured on Cyrus' 2023 album Endless Summer Vacation. "Flowers" was also nominated for GRAMMYs for Song Of The Year.
Karol G's First GRAMMYs Resulted In Her First GRAMMY
Karol G has had a meteoric rise over the past several years, and that continued unabated at Music's Biggest Night.
At the 2024 GRAMMYs Premiere Ceremony, Karol G won the GRAMMY for Best Música Urbana Album, for her 2023 LP Mañana Será Bonito. (She'd previously been nominated at the 2022 GRAMMYs, for the same category, for KG0516.
"Hello everybody, my name is Karol G. I am from Medellín, Colombia. This is my first time at the GRAMMYs, and this is my first time holding my own GRAMMY," she said, utterly concisely.
Victoria Monét Completed A Lifelong Goal…
Victoria Monét won big at the GRAMMYs, including taking home the award for Best New Artist. The singer also took home golden gramophones for Best R&B Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Jaguar II.
Monét has been nominated for 10 GRAMMYs over her career as both a solo act and songwriter. When accepting the GRAMMY Award for Best New Artist, Monét compared herself to a plant growing from soil.
"My roots have been growing underneath ground, unseen, for so long, and I feel like today I'm sprouting, finally above ground," she said.
…And So Did Coco Jones
Tyla, Me'shell NdegeOcello & Kylie Minogue Won In First-Time Categories
At the 2024 GRAMMYs, there were three new Categories — which meant three inaugural winners. South African singer/songwriter Tyla took home her first GRAMMY with her win for Best African Music Performance for her smash hit "Water," while Me'shell NdegeOcello and Kylie Minogue notched their second wins each, in the new Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording Categories, respectively.
After 16 Years, Paramore Got GRAMMY Gold
Myspace-era alt wizards Paramore enjoyed a stunning resurgence with their 2023 album This Is Why. They'd been nominated in past ceremonies — their first nominations coming in 2008 — but at the 2024 GRAMMYs, they nabbed the trophy for the prestigious Best Rock Album Category. And with their first win, they made GRAMMY history: Paramore is the first female-fronted rock band to win Best Rock Album.
Lainey Wilson Continued A Massive Year With A GRAMMY
Much like Tyla, country star Lainey Wilson nailed it on the first try — as far as the Recording Academy goes. She was nominated twice at the 2024 GRAMMYs, and took home a golden gramophone for Best Country Album, for Bell Bottom Country.
Clearly, the phenomenon of a first-time GRAMMY nominee taking it home transcends genres and continents.
Second Time Was A Charm For Zach Bryan
Country great Zach Bryan's been nominated before — at the 2023 GRAMMYs, for Best Country Solo Performance, for "Something in the Orange."
This time, he brought home the golden gramophone for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, for "I Remember Everything." Bryan was also nominated for Best Country Album (Zach Bryan) and Best Country Song, also for "I Remember Everything."
First-Time Nominees Boygenius Won Three Times
Women dominated the 2024 GRAMMYs, which certainly applies to boygenius — who consist of three women, and cleaned up at the ceremony. And, they too were first-time nominees
Boygenius took home three GRAMMYs revolving around 2023's the record, including Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance — both for the stirring, gender-flipped "Not Strong Enough."
Peso Pluma Went From First-Time Nominee To First-Time Winner
As the status of Mexico on the global stage continues to swell, take Pluma's win as a sign to keep your ear to the ground.
Brandy Clark Left A Winner
Roots-heavy singer Brandy Clark's been nominated for 17 GRAMMYs over the years, but never gave up.
At the 2024 GRAMMYs, she won for Best Americana Performance for "Dear Insecurity" — and she played a corker of a version at the Premiere Ceremony with the string duo SistaStrings.
Fred again.. Proved To Be Dance Music’s Latest Hero
2022 saw Fred again.. rise as one of dance music's most promising new stars with the release of his compilation album, USB, and his third studio album, Actual Life 3 — and both helped him win his first pair of GRAMMYs in 2024. USB's "Rumble" (a collaboration with Skrillex and Four Tet) scored Best Dance/Electronic Recording, and Actual Life 3 took home Best Dance/Electronic Music Album.
Taylor Swift & Kacey Musgraves Celebrated Historic Firsts
While winning a GRAMMY was nothing new to 2024 winners Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves, they both had feats that marked big firsts in GRAMMY history. Swift became the first artist to be awarded Album Of The Year four times with her win for Midnights, while Musgraves' win for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for her Zach Bryan collaboration "I Remember Everything" made her the first artist to win in all four Country Field Categories.
Keep checking GRAMMY.com for stories about the 2024 GRAMMYs — and the Recording Academy thanks you for tuning into Music's Biggest Night! If you missed it, stream it on Paramount+ for maximum musical glory.
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
2024 GRAMMYs: Karol G Wins The First GRAMMY Award Of Her Career For Best Música Urbana Album
Karol G won her first GRAMMY Award, taking home the golden gramophone for Best Música Urbana Album for 'Mañana Será Bonito.'
"This is my first time at GRAMMYs, and this is my first time holding my own GRAMMY," the Colombian songstress exclaimed with a smile.
Karol G clearly felt all the emotions during her acceptance speech: "I'm super happy, I'm super nervous, I'm super excited to be around so many legends that I admire and respect. This is such a beautiful thing," she said, beaming.
Karol later expressed gratitude for her fans who supported and motivated her through the recording process for Mañana Será Bonito.