Music Updates

The 25 Best Latin Albums of 2021 So Far: Staff Picks

With this album, released ahead of his 21st birthday, Lunay is closing a chapter of his life. The 15-song set, released under La Familia Records, Chris Jedi and Gaby Music’s independent label, kicks off with the title track, which samples Jerry Rivera’s 1993 salsa hit “Cara de Niño” and transitions into a trap banger. The set is also home to edgy perreos, solid reggaetón jams, and even some slow-tempo urban bops. Collaborations include his sultry Anitta-assisted “Todo o Nada” and the infectious “Otra No” with Bryant Myers and Zion. Other features on El Niño include Chencho Corleone, Zion, Chanell, Giovakartoons, Juliito, and Chris Jedi.” — J.R.

Manuel Turizo, Dopamina

Turizo’s sophomore album Dopamina includes star-studded collaborations with Maluma, Wisin & Yandel, Rauw Alejandro, Justin Quiles, Dalex, El Alfa, Myke Towers, and Farruko. For the Colombian artist, his music is dopamine, and that’s what’s reflected on this album. During the pandemic, he not only took the time to work on the set but also made his dream come true by dropping “Mala Costumbre” with Wisin & Yandel. This album, as he best described to Billboard, is a “neurotransmitter of emotions and feelings” with thumping beats, electric sounds, and Turizo’s signature vibrant voice. — I.F.

Mon Laferte, Seis 

Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte wrote as if the world was coming to an end during the pandemic, releasing all the emotions and uncertainties she was feeling while in lockdown. Unknowingly, she ended up writing her sixth album, aptly titled Seis, which was released in April. The achingly personal topics — ranging from toxic relationships to her admiration for other women — and vulnerable lyrics are paired with a new sound for Laferte: regional Mexican. Known for her raspy, often dramatic vocals and use of classic Latin rhythms such as cumbia, bolero, and alt-folk, the Latin Grammy-winning artist experiments with mariachi, norteño, and corridos tumbados in an homage to the genre’s unique and ever-evolving sonority. — G.F.

Myke Towers, Lyke Mike

An ode to basketball, el barrio and, his biggest inspiration, Michael Jordan, Lyke Mike marks Towers’ return to the underground rap sound and lyrics that made him a household name. An ultra-personal production, with an album cover displaying the front of his childhood home in Puerto Rico, he narrates his struggles and successes on the set, as heard in tracks like “Cuando Me Ven,” “Joven Leyenda” and “Maldita Envidia.” The album steps away from commercial reggaetón and Latin R&B sounds to navigate Towers’ musical roots in hip-hop, trap, and drill — with help from collaborators like Mikey Woodz, Ñengo Flow, Jon Z, and Sahir. Lyke Mike debuted at No. 3 on Top Latin Albums. — J.R.

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