Wampi. Fotograma del videoclip de Firulay.
Wampi. Fotograma del videoclip de Firulay.

The new cat of reparto

4 minutos / Lalau Yllarramendiz Alfonso

02.03.2020 / Articles

Reggaeton, more than a genre ruled by musical generations, seems like a game of dynasties. In 2018, the fight for the reign of the reparto between Chocolate MC and El Kamel was marked by songs like Bajanda and El Chu chu chú (Kamel's response to the supposed capture of the crown).

Each new wave has its standard bearer, and whenever this goes public, the change is felt because a new voice arrives, new hierarchical conflicts in the movement, as well as new collaborations and hits.

A year ago a new exponent of reparto emerged: Wampi. 

Since May 2019 I hear his name when he released the single Fighting with Kimiko. He is still unknown to many ―and I do not intend to legitimize him at the top of the urban movement on the Island― but I think it is pertinent to put the magnifying glass on this young man who at the beginning of the year released his new album Mama Eh and who has alternative proposals to the roads already threshed in these two decades of reggaeton in Cuba.

Cover of tWampi's new album. Photo: Taken from the artist's Facebook page.

Cover of tWampi's new album. Photo: Taken from the artist's Facebook page.

The nobility of his childhood image reminds me of when El Kamel ―just a few months earlier― produced songs like Tú puedes tener mil2 with Manu Manu, or La Window with Taiger.

Wampi y El Kamel han conocido el éxito en el género cuando apenas están arribando a los 20 años de edad. El público difícilmente los distingue entre sí, pues suelen imaginar que ser repartero es formar parte de una masa homogénea de jóvenes cantantes y bailadores del kanilleo, the guachineo y de tantas otras palabras incomprensibles.

For the uninitiated: reparto is one of the subgenres of Cuban reggaeton, the most violent and transgressive for its musical, textual and audiovisual language. Being a repartero is a bodily attitude, is the constant willingness to challenge your fellow and obtain "the glory." The glory understood as the access to money, women and many other pleasures of the physical world to which they refer in their songs without any blemish. Wampi applies perfectly to this concept.

Wampi Photo: Taken from the artist's Facebook page.

Wampi Photo: Taken from the artist's Facebook page.

That said, although they legitimize similar fashion brands and almost identical dress styles, one of the features to differentiate the reparteros are the phrases that identify them in the credits. The Kamel says “Fuego con el gato (Fire with the cat)”, El Chulo calls himself “Lo más duro de to’ el reparto (The hardest of all reparto)”, while Wampi uses the basic but effective resource of using his name as his own logo: “Wampi ya, Wampi eh". His name speaks of his repartera attitude, it is something “fresa (strawberry)”, as they say, although in social networks the artist declared that the nickname occurred to his brother and a friend, when he still did not dream of being a singer.

En octubre pasado Wampi estrenó el video Fuego con tu pikete junto a un variopinto grupo: Gnio, Dayroni, Kimiko y Yordy. De ellos, Gnio y Dayroni son reconocidos como los autores del icónico baile del reguetón cubano conocido como el kanilleo.

Although Chocolate MC remains (and apparently will continue to be) one of the most controversial figures of reparto, these new names add to the search and capture of the throne of the urban movement. 

Will Wampi be the new member of the successful and controversial staff that represents the reparto guys of Havana? Why couldn't it be like that? Who would have said in the early 2000s that Baby Lores, Insurrecto, El Chacal, Jorge Jr. and so many others would be the founders of a genre with as much power as reggaeton?

I consider that we are witnessing the emergence of a new style of reparto that is diversified in themes: the bonche taken to the video clip with a pop and a more fashion style, the dances that arise from time to time (and of course, the always recurring mention of the sexual organs). Wampi is one of the faces of this wave of reparteros, some with more reach than others and with different consumption spaces but that are always in the street, that is, in the speakers. 

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.

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