Senior Year, 2005: Reggaeton Breaks Out
By 2005, reggaeton had been chugging away for a good couple decades at least -- even longer, if you want to trace it all the way back to its roots among Jamaican immigrants to Panama in the 1970s. By 2005, the Puerto Rican hip-hop/Latin hybrid had already racked up a number of hits on the island and some serious stars (Vico C, dropper of Puerto Rico's first Spanish-language rap album in 1985, not the least among them). In the 21st century, the next gen of major players were quickly becoming household names: the likes of Daddy Yankee, Don Omar and Tego Calderon already had at least one album under their belts.
But it was in 2005 (or, more accurately, circa 2003-2006) that reggaeton first began to really execute its master plan to completely and totally take over the world and turn us all into a vast, dembow-digging, Willy-bouncing reggaeton army. Or, to put it another way, the mid-2000s was the period when reggaeton started to become a very big deal outside of Puerto Rico in the Latin music industry and the mainstream music industry, revealing itself as a viable, self-sustaining Latin hit-making-machine (rather than just a Spanish offshoot of hip-hop).
So what happened? Well, first of all, those big names dropped some very big albums and, especially, singles. (Ever heard of a little fire-starter called "Gasolina," by any chance?) Perhaps even more significant, however, was the release of Mas Flow 2, a compilation by the now-storied reggaeton production house Luny Tunes. The comp was basically a hit machine, culling together genre-defining, ( still) massively popular singles like Wisin y Yandel's "Rakata" and Frankie J's reggaetonified "Obsession." It didn't hurt that Mas Flow 2 also featured some of the hottest stars of the day, artists like Ivy Queen, Zion y Lennox and Tito El Bambino, who either had or would quickly go on to release their own smash solo efforts around the same time. By 2005, in other words, a whole new generation of fans had been introduced to their new favorite urban music.