Over the Decades: Exploring the Latinx Influence on The Music Industry


Since the early 1950s, there has been a steady presence of Latinx music in the United States. The United States has always been a cultural melting pot when it comes to music, however, the greatest influence it has had over the decades can definitely be attributed to the Latinx community. Let’s have a look at the evolution of this music over the decades. 


The 1950s 

Latinx music in the post-WW2 climate was vastly different from what it is now. Dancehalls were filled with the rhythms of the conga, cha-cha, samba, and rumba. These Afro-Cuban rhythms became vastly popular in New York and marked the beginning of a decades-long love affair with Latinx music. 

The 1960s 

The 60s saw a fusion between Cuban dance structures and American jazz, R&B, and funk. This gave birth to a whole new wave of artists including Celia Cruz, Willie Colon, and the Fania All-Stars orchestra. 

The 1970s 

The 70s witnessed the rise of Rock and Roll as it became the most popular and mainstream genre of music. Artists like Bob Dylan and The Beatles were all the rage and this, in turn, influenced Latinx artists to create rhythmic tracks with electric guitars and more rocky elements. Carlos Santana and Malo were just a few of the standout Latin Rock artists. 

The 1980s 

After the 1970s, the United States experienced an influx of Dominican immigrants, especially in the New York City area. During this time, genres like merengue, bachata, and romantic Latin ballads took center stage in the music industry alongside artists like Gloria Estefan, Wilfredo Vargas, and Eddie Santiago.    

The 1990s 

The birth of Lat Pop began during this era, giving rise to artists such as Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Enrique Iglesias. Other well-respected artists like Shakira and Marc Anthony also exploded onto the scene and their music is still popular to this day. 

The 2000s 

Reggaeton became extremely popular in this decade with artists like Daddy Yankee and Don Omar dominating the dance floors in U.S clubs. Hits like Gasolina propelled the popularity of this catchy genre. 

The 2010s 

Latinx music continued to explode during this decade and this can be illustrated by the popularity of Luis Fonsi’s Despacito. The song even launched in a Spanglish version featuring Justin Bieber, however, the original song held the Number 1 spot on billboard’s hot 100 lists for a record-breaking period of time. 

The 2020s 

Although this decade has just begun, the Latinx influence has become ever more prominent and intertwined with mainstream music. Nowadays, Latinx artists, like Bad Bunny or J Balvin, aren’t only dominating Latin billboards but global ones as well. 

The American music scene has always been highly esteemed by a global audience, therefore, the influence that it receives from the Latinx community will also be translated worldwide. This influence on American pop, hip-hop, R&B, and even electronic dance music is here to stay, and one can only imagine what it will be like in the future.