Sunday, January 7, 2007

Miguelito and the commercialization of reggaeton

Miguelito, the kiddie reggaetón star out of Puerto Rico who recently dropped the album Mas Grande Que Tu (uhmmm, is this title suposed to be tongue-and-cheek?), turned eight on Friday — yes, EIGHT. It's a little frightening to think that an 8-year-old kid is topping the Latin urban charts, especialy since his entire career reeks of gimmickry and, to a certain extent, exploitation on the part of his parents who, logic tells us, must be masterminding his career. This is even worse than the Reggaeton Ninos, who were interpreting hitls like "Gasolina" and "Mayor Que Yo" in their prepubsecent voices... I mean, do we really need to hear some 10-year-old talking about "dame mas gasolina"? But Miguelito is interpreting "original" material (in other words, material written for him! lol) and he's being billed as a child prodigy, his style copycated from Daddy Yankee and his flow an amalgalm of different reggaeton stars signature deliveries.

In a recent interview with Puerto Rico-based newspaper Primera Hora, Miguelito said he's been performing since the age of six (again, SCARY) and said he'd asked Santa Claus for a cell phone so he could communicate with his parents while on the road (if this kid still believes in Santa Claus, that should let us know just how young he is! Like, is he gonna be waiting for the Tooth Fairy while he's touring?).

The emergence of an artist like Miguelito points to how much reggaeton has expanded, both to its benefit and detriment. Yes, it is quite possible that Miguelito will sell a hefty amount of records but could his success interfere with that of legitimate artists who have been toiling away for years in hopes of finally getting their due? And will it lead to reggaeton becoming a bubble-gum, easily discarded musical form? Let's hope this is a one-shot deal and that alone.

In 2007, he will be touring throughout the US and Latin America and will be the opening act for DY in an upcoming tour.Let's pray that they don't share back-up dancers... I don't think I can handle some scantily-clad dancers writhing and grindin' behind a little kid!!

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