2017 was a big year for Latin music in the U.S. Songs like “Despacito” and “Mi Gente” continue to top the American charts. We also saw many mainstream American artists like Justin Bieber, Cardi B, and Demi Levato crossover into the Latin music genre. It seems that right now the U.S. is really riding the Reggeaton wave, but, beyond Luis Fonsi and J. Balvin, there are many many more Latinx artists who are super talented and deserve more love and recognition. Here is a list of underrated Latinx music artist for you to check out and support!
1. Helado Negro
Robert Carlos Lange, the artist behind Helado Negro, was born in Florida to Ecuadorian immigrants. This genre defying musical project draws heavily from 70’s soul and R&B sounds, but gives them a new indie twist. Helado Negro’s music carries heavy themes of Latin pride and culture. These themes are particularly evident Private Energy (2016).
Follow Helado Negro on Twitter and Instagram: @HeladoNegro
“It’s My Brown Skin” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6ul47p7NPI&t=3s
2. Nitty Scott
Nitty Scott is a queer Afro-Puerto Rican rapper currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She gained a following in 2010 after releasing a freestyle over Monster on YouTube. Compared to other artists on this list Nitty Scott is more well know, having performed at the BET hip hop awards, collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, and recently caught the attention of Cardi B. Despite this, you should still go check out her newest album Creature! that debuted in July of this year. The album mixes traditional beats and modern hip hop and explores the Diaspora and living as a Queer Latinx today.
Follow Nitty Scott on Twitter and Instagram: @nittyscottmc
“La Diaspora” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz-KSud2zT0
3. Las Cafeteras
Las Cafeteras are a Chicanx band from East Los Angeles. Their music fuses spoken word, traditional Mexican folk music and hip hop. Their newest album Tastes Like LA includes powerful current political commentary, and was influences heavily by each members experiences growing up in different Latinx communities throughout Southern California.
Follow Las Cafeteras on Twitter and Instagram: @lascafeteras
“If I Was President” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XqqsuLl8hU
Natalie Yepez, also known by her stage name Maluca is a Dominicana from Washington Heights, Manhattan. Her music is heavily influenced by Bachata, Cumbia, and Merengue that she grew up listening too, as well as being heavily influenced by hip hop beats and styles. She has been described as “hip-house” and “experimental punk”, as well as “Latin tech”. Her latest single “Mala” released in 2016, and a whole album is expected to drop soon.
Follow Maluca on Twitter and Instagram: @malucamala
“Mala” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5cQLrPxupo
5. Reyna Tropical
Producer Nectali Diaz, also known as Sumohair, and singer/musician Fabi Reyna formed duo Reyna Tropical in California, and just released their first self titled EP Reyna Tropical in 2018. The duo is heavily influenced by the different cultures of their childhoods with sounds spanning from Latin psych, to Cumbia and Afro-Mexican beats. Diaz, is not only a producer but also a hair dresser, who describes himself as a “Mexican expat living in LA”. Reyna also does more than sing and play guitar and bass, she also is the editor of She Shreds Magazine. Since Reyna Tropical is a new duo, they only have one EP, but it is well worth checking out. We hope for more music from them soon!
Follow Fabi Reyna on Twitter: @hifabi91 and on Instagram @suavecito_91
Follow Nectali Diaz on Twitter and Instagram: @sumohair
“Niña” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_MpdU44SBI
Rubby is a queer Domican artist from New York, who just released his first two singles “Know Me” and “Confiesa”. Rubby grew up in Washington Heights, with a musician father to take influence from. “Know Me” is a beautiful R&B slow jam, and “Confiesa”, his latest release, mixes R&B and Dembow beats. “Confiesa” explores themes of queerness and masculinity within the Latinx community, all while casually playing against gender norms. Rubby is another artist that we hope to get plenty more jams from soon.
Follow Rubby on Facebook and Instagram: @rubbyvalentin
“Know Me” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1GyQDmVmZg
Cuco, or Omar Banos, is a musical artist from South L.A. Cuco’s synth heavy love ballads have gained a following on Twitter in the past two years. In 2017 his popularity steadily rose, especially in Los Angeles, after the release of his second album Songs4u (2017) and single “Lo Que Siento” (2017). The album, full of love songs combining 80s sounds, Chicano soul influence, and bilingual lyrics attracted the attention of many younger Latinx listeners. His latest single “Sunnyside” (2018) just dropped a few days ago, and it is definitely worth a listen.
Follow Cuco on Twitter: @Icryduringsex (follow him for music updates, and also cause his twitter is pretty great if you couldn’t already tell by his handle). Follow him on Instagram: @cucopuffs
“Lo Que Siento” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jJIgutzYFE
8. Bomba Estéreo
Bomba Estéreo is a Colombian group that formed in Bogotá in 2005. Members include, Simón Mejía, Li Saumet, Andrés Zea, Efrain Cuadrado, and Jose Castillo. Since Bomba Estéreo has been around longer than some of the other artists on this list they do have a much bigger following, especially within Latin America. However, their following in the U.S. should be bigger! This group is producing some great party jams that put an electro twist on psychedelic Cumbia. Their songs aren’t only great to dance to, but they also carry strong themes of embracing ones identity and Latinx self love in a world that relies so heavily on Eurocentric beauty and culture. These themes are especially apparent in their latest album Ayo (2017).
Follow Bomba Estéreo on Twitter and Instagram: @bombaestereo
“Soy Yo” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxWxXncl53U
9. Amara La Negra
Dana Danelys de los Santos, much better known as Amara La Negra is coming to take over the American music market, and we are all about it. You may know her more as a model or for her large online presence on Twitter and Instagram. You may also know her by her recent debut on Love & Hip Hop: Miami, or her even more recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, which went viral after a host of the show failed to understand or validate Amara’s experiences with colorism within the U.S. and Latin America. If you are familiar with Amara La Negra already, that is great! If not, you should definitely check out her 2013 album Ayy, and her most recent singles “Se Que Soy” (2016) and “Pa Tu Cama Ni Loca” (2017).
Follow Amara La Negra on Twitter and Instagram: @amaralanegraaln
“Se Que Soy” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5deYJLWFplc
10. Alex Anwandter
Alex Anwandter is a Chilean singer songerwriter/musician and also a music video and film director. Anwandter currently has two albums out, Rebeldes (2012) and Amiga (2016). Both albums are styled as electric Latin dance pop with major 70s disco influence. His upbeat dance music and slower ballads explore themes of love and queerness in Chilean culture. His music and music videos have a big following in Chile, but definitely deserve much more love in the U.S.
Follow Alex Anwandter on Twitter and Instagram: @alexanwandter
“Cómo Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWaf8Ndcr18