The historically solid dividing line between regional Mexican and much of the rest of Latin popular music hasn't been quite so solid the past couple years: Artists on both sides have regularly traversed it, from the late, great Jenni Rivera and Gerardo Ortiz's growing stardom to Thalia and other pop stars collaborating with regional kings like Los Tigres del Norte to 3BallMTY's winning combination of dance beats and regional flourishes.
But even as the line gets blurred, regional music is still largely its own distinct, massively successful industry, the stars, scenes and trends of which aren't always reflected on the mainstream charts -- or in mainstream year-end wrap-ups. Thus, we decided to give regional Mexican and its distinct, massively successful stars and songs their own "best of" treatment. Jenni and Gerardo's hits are here, of course, alongside other pop-friendly dreamboats like El Bebeto; swaggering storytellers like Roberto Tapia and El JJ; banda upstarts like Calibre 50; and O.G.'s like La Arrolladora Banda El Limón and more. So pull on those cowboy boots, grab a cerveza and listen to our playlist of 2012's top regional Mexican music!