One wonders why the Cuban people has fallen for Reggaeton so hard. It is difficult not be exposed to the genre anywhere in the country. It is everywhere, played, hummed and danced by all generations. We could argue the genre lacks the musical mastery that permeated other eras, or that it promotes a relaxed moral values to youth; but the essence of my concern lies in how the entire country is hypnotized and there doesn’t seem to be a wake up moment anytime soon.
For a country that has always been a champion of musical expression, this passage almost feels as an obligated compromise; we don’t have the magnitude of long gone composers, and the tech revolution pushed us through the socialization of music. Nowadays it’s much easier to make music than in the 1920s, and nobody seems to care about finding exceptional talent. We have switched to a mode of instant gratification with shorter attention spans and consuming music is one more piece in this game.
But Cuba has the lowest internet penetration in this hemisphere, products and services are not competing for attention from cuban eyeballs like in other countries, so what is the problem? why is reggaeton the ubiquitous music that cubans enjoy, with zero space for anything else?
The answer might lie in how cubans manifest themselves through music, especially in the absence of other vehicles of expression. As one of the states continuously condemned by Human Rights violations and demanded to release journalists that are held in jail, Cuba leaves almost no option for free expression; making the country a pressure boiler screaming for a voice. Like a baby crying for food. Every baby needs a pacifier to stop crying, it might not bring him food, but at least the crying stops. With the reggaeton, and allowing its musicians to live large, the cuban government might have created the perfect formula to repress free expression. Buffoon artists get rich but keep the hordes at bay, a small price to pay by the King and a big pacifier for an entire country.