Salsa > What's the deal with salsa and hip hop

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by pygmalion, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    In my town, there are two main FM salsa stations -- the traditional salsa station, and the "pop" salsa station. I always listen to the traditional station, because that's what I like best. Well, yesterday, on the way home from the gym, I turn on the traditional salsa station, and guess what I hear? A bunch of hip hop songs in a row. Raps. All in Spanish, of course. Have you noticed this trend? Salsa combined with hip hop, or pop, or reggae? What do you think of it? Another evolution? A corruption of an art form? Something else?
  2. Salsero_AT

    Salsero_AT New Member

    In my opinion in music the only thing that matters is quality. Salsa is a mix of different styles so why not try to mix it with hip-hop elements ? The important thing is if the outcome has an artistic value or just came into being because a producer thought that more people would buy the record if there are some "cool" hip-hop things in the salsa song.
    Do you know "Castigala" by Maraca ? This is a song i like very much and it has some jamaican elements in it. This is a satisfying example in that regard for me.
  3. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I'm way ify on this topic. The number of classic salsa that have gone from amazing to throw them in the trash by new artists is absolutely ridiculous. I'm all for new additions but when the music becomes an MTV show to display a lack of talent it drives me nuts.

    Out of all the new reggeton/salsa songs that I've heard the only one that I find appealing is the one with Victor Manuel singing, and only because he sings through out the songs and the beat is catchy.

    Salsa has notoriuosly incorporated Jamaican Reggea into its tunes, and when done artistically correct the blend is amazing. however, when corporations try to get in the money wave they end up destroying music. Classic Salsa ended because of Salsa Romantica, salsa romantica is taking a step back to tropical salsa, and now it seems that the new wave from great to worse is Reggeton-salsa. It all has been becuase of money...

    Time changes and so must everything else with it, but there come a few things that can't be added because of the totality of their nature, like Shiva's 112 Tantras, Jazz, Classical Music, and Classic Salsa.
  4. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    I'm not sure if what you mean by that is a genre known as

    It's been gaining a lot of popularity because of the younger
    feel and generation to it.

    It's a mix of rap, reggea, salsa, merengue (some times).

    It's very popular and in Puerto Rico it's danced a lot...

    There's also "Perreo" which is a dance that is danced to
    this type of music...

    Anyone care to elaborate...
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Holy cow! I just looked up perreo on google. :shock: Not a dance I think I'll be learning any time soon. :lol:

    Visualize those skanky chicks on dancehall reggae videos, wiggling their booties shamelessly. Now crank it up a notch, make it dirtier, and you have perreo. Yuck! :evil:
  6. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Hi Pygmalion. I listen to the same radio stations. A year ago, the Classic salsa radio station only played Reggaeton on the weekends but recently to get a bigger listening audience, they've added more. To me, there is nothing wrong with reggaeton, hip hop, etc. I like quite a few songs from that genre. Celia Cruz used bits of hip hop in her last few CDs without losing the essence of Salsa and it was wonderful. But I must say that I love the traditional Salsa best. Unfortunately, classic/traditonal salsa is not considered the big money maker so radio and record companies and even the artist have to make the adjustment. But so much of our traditional style, get's pushed aside and the package is sold moreso than the music. Nothing wrong with that either but again, alot of the true talent gets pushed aside. I saw a documentary on PBS with Cuban Allstars and we all know how talented they are and also how they don't get much radio airplay at least not in this area. It's a shame because there is so much beautiful music out there. Young, old and traditional. We could say the same thing about other music genres. R&B is not the same as it was even ten years ago :D

    There is a terrific article titled The Death of Salsa you might find interesting. Enjoy.;;842
  7. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Salsa is BORING.

    Now that I've alianated 99% of you, I'll explain myself. There are certain things that separate what we call salsa with other types of music: the clave and the tumbao. The problem is, this is the way salsa has been around since the 1960s, eventually it becomes monotonous and dry. Or, as one of my non-salsa friends puts it, it's almost like they're playing the same damn song every night.

    I absolutely love what musicians are doing with 'salsa' music today. Aside from the rap-influenced songs, there are also pop singers that either add or strip down the sound of salsa. Orishas, from Cuba, is an awesome rap group that mixes and remixes son rhythms to hip hop. The entire wave of Timba musicians are producing music that is different from the Gloria Estafan clones, reinventing the music each and every time. Then you have artists like Polo Montanez, who strip down the horns and drums from salsa, leaving just the clave, a tres ( cuban guitar ) and their voices.

    Whoever says the new salsa is boring needs to expand their horizons. I recommend checking out the artists at & Orishas. It is only lately that many musicians have started experimenting with new sounds that relate to their traditional musics. My favorite non salsa ones are Andres Cabas ( Cumbia + electric guitars ), Carlos Vives ( Cumbia ) and the Gotan Project ( Tango + trance + dance ).

    More about the history of timba here
  8. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Hey brujo, I'll make you a deal :arrow: You don't mess with my radio settings and I won't mess with yours, ok? :wink:
  9. brujo

    brujo New Member

    No Deal.

    What does this one do? dude, your music is all boring. what is this garbage? Don't you know salsa is a latino dance? Is that a Justin Timberlake CD in the case?

    If you have a counterpoint, I would love to hear it. It's a discussion [ not truce ] forum. :twisted:
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Fine brujo, in that case I'll put it this way... music, like dance, is an art. There is no such thing as "the" right way. End of story.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Okay guys. It wasn't my plan to start a new salsa controversy. It's true. There is no right way. One man's meat is another man's poison. And whatever other cliches you know. Meaning brujo is welcome to his reggae or hip hop while SD can be a salsa purist. It's all good. I was just wondering what other people think.

    I was raised in a house with at least three generations, and at least seven or eight music genres actively pursued, so for me, music is music. There's beauty everywhere. While I prefer traditional salsa, I can seriously jam to some reggae or hip hop. Whatever's there is okay by me.

    The question I was originally hoping we'd get to is whether the dance itself is evolving with the music, or the music with the dance. What do you think?
  12. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Maybe I come across the wrong way. Why wouldn't we want salsa to evolve? Why do the salsa purists insist that salsa should remain the same way?

    I understand it might be easier to teach if every song followed the same patterns, as turn patterns and such can be easily adapted. But look at the evolution of the son into cha-cha, etc. Isn't change good?
  13. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    I can't say I care to hear reggeton much myself. I love classic salsa!
  14. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Let's follow up a bit on brujo's real question then... why do you, personally, prefer classic salsa? (Open to anyone by the way...)
  15. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Hoy boy, you guys don't want me involved in this one... 1- Salsa Romantica is all the same, Salsa with new twists of hip hop sounds the same, tropical salsa all sounds the same. Why is that? Because they are practically written using the same music sheet. As my Jazz Friends puts it, I never listened to salsa before but why don't you go get your collection and play me some of that challenging music on and turn the radio station off! So, yes that kind of salsa can be boring!!!! However, there are those that sneak by and become classics... Ala... Viejo Motel by David Pabon.

    I've had Salsa dancers from all over the US tell me what kind of music they play where they are from. I've taken them to a live performance from a Classic Salsero and they are stunned. They are like, I never hear this stuff on the radio where I live.

    I have a collection of Classic Salsa that 90% of salseros don't know about don't even know about. Most salseros only listen to what they are shown, what is around them, they never go outside their way to seek what else is out there.

    I recently read an article by a very saavy and world renoun salsa dancer from which mentioned that Willie Rosario might be good because he played for some fania members. I felt compelled to give her a hint of how she really should just say she dances salsa rather than say she is a hardcores salsera. Her statement said it all, all she knows is what is presented to her, failing to see that across the ocean there are more people. That is the timpical salsa dancer who fails to see that the music ins't just to dance but a lifestyle. Not a lifestyle of dance, but passion, knowledge, history, pretty much like a family member.

    Classic salsa is a blend of all music types, there is an underlying consistancy but all around that consistancy there all these people playing different beats, different types of music and as my friend likes to say, seemingly off beat, that is to european mold.

    There isn't any one music genera, in my opinion, that can electrify a room more than a well made classic salsa song. Not only the passion, but the story, the energy that it exudes, the belnd of other music styles. The dance that goes with it, the variation it has...

    Orisha music has always been applied to classic salsa Brujo. It isn't a new thing, you just happen to find out that new groups are doing it, however, all they are doing is bringing old style back to the forefront.

    I have nothing against salsa evolving to another genre, however when it is a step backwards so the muscially challenged can rap it, or use synthesizer skills any 6 year old can do, then that isn't art. What use is it to create another genre of music from salsa if you and I can grab a few buckets a voiceless wanna be, and create a song that because we don't understand the complexity of true classic salsa, everyone calls amazing.

    Pa' los gustos los colores, translated to; to each their own... Agreed... However, there is such a thing as a person not being able to fully grasp the complexity of a given something, hence deem it unacceptable because he/she has yet to gain an understanding and required information of that given something. We see it all the time, the kids that say salsa clasica is the same because their ear has the slightest idea of musical variations/complexity/pitch and so on... Ofcourse, I'm going to think the chinese language all sounds the same, I don't speak chinese. But to those who undrestand it, have the backround means, they know that it goes well beyond my means of understanding. Hence, brujos truth of Boring-ness, yet my understanding of classic salsa as breathtaking.

    Now, before we go on to say boriken don't understand the new salsa stuff. This new stuff is a smiple as simple gets, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...
  16. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Such as? You make grandiose claims but don't list specific artists. Give me a list of top five groups that you find amazing, and I'll go hunt them down.

    If you read my statement. I mentioned a BAND NAMED Orishas. They are a RAP group that incorporates typical son elements into their music, creating an interesting mix. They remix songs like 'Para Ochun' and 'Chan Chan', adding their own twists to the music. They are, in my opinion, the top group that does this type of fusion, and I mention them as an example of the new hip-hop / salsa. Their lyrics actually have a little meaning, as oposed to the 'My wife died and she took out my donkey with her' lyrics in the other 95% of songs out there.

    I give you 5 groups that have changed salsa to check out,

    1.) Orishas
    2.) NG La Banda
    3.) Irakere
    4.) Los Van Vans
    5.) Charanga Habanera


    Listen to them and tell me they sound the same.
  17. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Thank you for the clarification, my mistake...

    Groups that are hot, Los Flamboyan, tipica 73, Alegre All Stars, La Selecta, Jhonny Sedes, Perucho torcat, Some of Lebron Brothers stuff, chivirico davila, Azuquita, Ocho Orta, Wayne Gorbea, Some of Spanish Harlem Orquestra, La Solucion, Puerto Rican All Stars, Henry Fiol, Larry Harlow...

    There are more than 5 but I guess you can strart on those you can find. You'll have an easier time finding la solucion stuff, spanish harlem, Wayne Gorbea, the rest get a little tricky even on the net. If you don't know what you are looking for you'll end up being a CD that is from the 70s but is a compilation of Junk those artist created. Remember that just because it is classic salsa it doesn't mean it is good.

    Listening to something for which our ears have yet to master won't help any. Being able to interpret and dissect what is going on in the music and how it is brought together needs to be in place before we can move on to admire a music for what it is, aside the catchy beat, loud bangs, and lyrics.

    The more I get into music the more I like the complexity of the classics, Jazz, the origins of latin music, and the further I distance from the simplicity of salsa romantica, salsa tropical, and hiphop salsa. Good music is good music regardless of genre, the difference comes in how our mind chooses to see them. So while I think the classics are hot, you have every right in the world to see them as boring.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hey, boriken and brujo! :D

    Thanks to both of you for sharing some of what you know. Since I'm a salsa newbie, now I have lots of ideas of music I can look into! :D But don't end the discussion here, unless you just want to. I'm a newbie, but I'm looking to get educated. Tell me more! :D

    Previously post #2

    Hey guys! I'm curious. I took a salsa class a couple weeks ago on musicality, where we talked abut the musical structure of salsa songs -- the intro, the body, the montuno (sp?) section, the mambo section, and the recapitulation of the beginning. I was very surprised, actually. It looks like traditional salsa music has a very specific musical structure (or formula, if you prefer). Is that a part of the reason why some people find it boring? Because they can hear the musical structure, but can't hear beyond that to the many variations and complexities?

    Previously post #3

    Oh yeah, and while we're at it, do the montuno and mambo sections of salsa songs correspond to any partcular dance, styling, or noticable musical differences?

    Ha! I have so many posts, I can afford to consolidate a few! :kissme: :lol:
  19. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Wow, so to get to 1900+ posts, you just divvie up one message into 3 posts. Clever, very clever... :twisted:

    It really depends on what you like, there are subtle things that you can do within the salsa skeleton of classic salsa, speed it up, change notes here and there, put in a cowbell, drop in a conga solo, etc. I guess from a dancer's perspective it would make it easier to have instructional videos and musicality CDs made and say, hey, this is how you dance mambo and map the 1,2,3, 5, 6, 7 to the tumbao. The dissection of this skeleton might be an interesting topic for a monthly special ( salsarythm, are you reading this? :p - danos un muestra gratis, hombre ! ).

    Or you can abandon this rigid structure and make up your own. Which is what the timba people I talked about before are doing. The problem here, of course, is that the music doesn't really fit in to the Salsarythm CD set, and since it's constantly changing, the music can sometimes suck, and other times be completely unexpected. Timba, in a nutshell, is just the middle ground between Cuban son and Salsa, where the Cuban artists like the Haranga Habanera are trying new instruments, creating their own choruses that repeat. Even in Cuba, there are people who dislike it because they find the lyrics vulgar, but the young people love it, it's the Cuban version of Snoop Dog Gangster rap.

    When I say classic salsa is boring, I really mean that this underlying skeleton chokes the life out of the song. Sure Wayne Gorbea can be the most energetic and hottest salsa dura there is out there, and it is great to dance to the Sonora Carrouseles, but the variations within the music are chained and the artists are not free to change it. From a dancing perspective, it's great, you can teach the quick quick slow and invent cool turn patterns.

    However, with timba, where you strip down everything to a smaller skeleton ( clave and nothing else ) and allow the musician to create a new wall of sound by adding, say electric guitars and clarinets or an entire string orchestra ( hypothetically ), the songs become dynamic and different, and keeps the listener guessing. It forces the listener to dance to the music, improvising as they go.

    I am probably wrong, but the way Cuban Casino was taught to me, although there are common basic steps, the dancing is very improvisational, focusing on doing whatever you want to the music. In the same way, while steps are taught for argentine tango, the teacher heavily emphasizes that there is never really a real way of dancing tango. But when you start learning from teachers that come from an American influence, the rules become etched in stone, and the codified rules must not be violated, this is the way salsa must be danced, and religious battles betwen the on1 and on2 people ensue. Mambo is easier to dance with cookie cutter salsa, but timba is more danceable and it simply encourages improvisation, which some people hate...

    Boriken, have you had a chance to check out some of my artists? What do you think of this violation of the NY tenants of salsa?
  20. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    :lol: noticed that too brujo? :lol:

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