Reggaeton is a form of urban music that became popular with Latin American youth in the early 1990s. After its mainstream exposure in 2004, it spread to North American, European and Asian audiences. Reggaeton's predecessor was originated in Panama as reggae en español. After the music's gradual exposure in Puerto Rico, it eventually evolved to a new musical style known as reggaeton. Reggaeton blends West-Indian music influences of reggae and dancehall with those of Latin America, such as bomba, plena, salsa, merengue, latin pop, cumbia and bachata as well as that of hip hop, contemporary R&B, and electronica. However, reggaeton is also combined with rapping or singing in Spanish. The influence of this genre has spread to the wider Latino communities in the United States, as well as the Latin American audience. While it takes influences from hip hop and Jamaican dancehall, it would be wrong to define reggaeton as the Hispanic or Latino version of either of these genres; reggaeton has its own specific beat and rhythm, whereas Latino hip hop is simply hip hop recorded by artists of Latino descent. The specific rhythm that characterizes reggaeton is referred to as "Dem Bow. The name is a reference to the title of the dancehall song by Shabba Ranks that first popularized the beat in the early 1990s. Reggaeton's origins represents a hybrid of many different musical genres and influences from various countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. The genre of reggaeton however is most closely associated with Puerto Rico, as this is where the musical style later popularized and became most famous, and where the vast majority of its current stars originated.
Reggaeton lyrics tend to be more derived from hip hop than dancehall. Like hip hop, reggaeton has caused some controversy, albeit less, due to alleged exploitation of women , and to a lesser extent, explicit and violent lyrics. Further controversy surrounds perreo, a dance with explicit sexual overtones which is performed to reggaeton music. Perreo was the subject of a national controversy in Puerto Rico as reggaeton music and the predominantly lower class culture it derived from, became more popular and widely available.