Gente de Zona: same thing?
When a Cuban reggaeton musician acquires international fame, his impact is usually measured by the artists with whom he collaborates, by the amount of views that have his videos on YouTube or for his participation in galas, award ceremonies and foreign festivals. If we have this as a reference, the pioneers in this type of international experience in Cuban reggaeton are Gente de Zona, a duo with a long history in the genre inside and outside the Island.
Otra cosa is the name of their most recent album, released last May 2019. Beyond the controversies about the participation of Gente de Zona in the New Year's Eve concert in Miami, the duo has been able to do an excellent job of promoting the phonogram, as it is becoming usual in their management.
Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom are already established voices, so much so that their music accompanies series, television programs and even video games as is the case of Need for Speed Heat .
Among the video clips associated with the album they released is the theme Little by little - available on YouTube since December 20, 2019 - , in collaboration with Puerto Ricans Zion & Lennox. This featuring is another market success in a history marked with collaborations with artists such as Juan Magán, Laura Pausini, Thalía, Marc Anthony and an extensive list of famous singers.
As for the realization and animation, this audiovisual, directed by Pedro Vázquez, can be even fun, because the actions take place in an amusement park, entertaining space in itself, and the resemblance between the animated characters and the actual singers is striking. My objection to this proposal is because I am exhausted by sexist clichés in texts and audiovisual messages of reggaeton songs. How much nudity reggaeton has, how much ruthlessness in showing sexual organs. Sexuality is the flag of the movement almost since its inception. If you want to keep it up, the least I ask is creativity.
How primary is the formula of undress + "I will do that to you". That has not changed. Sexual tribalism inherent to Gente de Zona and to all those who pride themselves on doing reggaeton under their established canons. In short, both the amusement park and the visuality are nothing more than a pretext to camouflage a sexual game that the text exposes without any concealment:
It all started as in the ferris wheel
If you take off a garment, I also take one off.
A normal fan like no other
Ella me come, pero yo soy quien la desayuna.
The parts of the body are a resource of the seduction game that stars Gente de Zona and Zion & Lennox before a fanatic, where the man is the victim of the captivating powers of women (this description applies to much of the production of reggaeton; a nonsense story, which simply serves as entertainment). That is precisely what these "less gross" reggaeton proposals consist of.
It is often heard to say that the current work of Gente de Zona has emerged from marginality, aesthetically. And it might seem so, largely because of the redesign oriented to a more pop style to which the industry has subjected them.
However, if a rhythmic base is added to the next sentence of the theme Little by little, we would only need the "popopo" of Chocolate or Kamel to have a "reparto" song.
Little by little, she took off her clothes
Little by little, the boozing went up
The vulgarisms and phraseologies are less intense, obviously we are referring to the cubatón, which has a more heterogeneous and international audience that would not accept the same level of crudity, but they are still frequent symbols for gender, sex, alcohol, and women as objects of desire.
It is desirable that this 2020 reaches Gente de Zona with high doses of creativity. The novelty of a proposal cannot reside in putting artists in animated format and nothing else. The video is hilarious, but when does the pivot point arrive? When the musical machinery that moves them -nobody knows what direction- will stop?
Lalau Yllarramendiz Alfonso
Musicóloga y especialista en temas como el reguetón cubano. Egresada de la Universidad de las Artes (Isa). Miembro de la Rama Latinoamericana de la Asociación Internacional para el Estudio de la Música Popular y de MyGLA Músicas y género. Grupo de estudios latinoamericanos. Las nuevas tecnologías son la casa de sus proyectos investigativos.More posts