Hot Sound: Latin Trap
In 2015, Jorge Fonseca, an A&R man for Sony Music Latin, went to Puerto Rico in search of new sounds. "When you go to the island, the streets speak to you," he says. On this particular visit, he noticed something different blaring from passing vehicles: "I started hearing more trap." More specifically, he was hearing Latin trap, which blends smooth Latin American crooning and touches of reggaeton with the sound of traditional trap, whose roots lie in the hyperactive high-hats, 808 bass and gritty lyrics of Nineties Southern hip-hop. Latin trap got a coming-out party on the compilation Trap Capos: Season 1, which topped Billboard's Latin Rhythm Albums chart in 2016, and singles by artists like Puerto Rican rapper-singer Bad Bunny and Colombian vocalist Karol G have amassed streaming numbers in the hundreds of millions. That online success has allowed the genre to circumvent gatekeepers like mainstream radio, which has shown little interest. Fonseca, who is currently assembling Trap Capos: Season 2, hopes Latin trap can have its mainstream moment. But he's not sure it matters. "A hit," he says, "can come from anywhere." E.L.