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The Queen of Reggaetón: Ivy Queen

Who is Ivy Queen?

This trailblazer in the reggaetón world is a female artist who made her mark and did not back down from a male-dominated industry. And even though reggaetón has been around for almost three decades and remains predominantly male.

Ivy Queen was born in Puerto Rico on March 4, 1972. She is of American and Puerto Rican nationality and is of Colombian and British ethnicity.

As a teen, she became increasingly interested in the underground hip hop scene in Puerto Rico. At the age of 18, she was able to get gigs at a popular club called The Noise with the help of well-known artist, DJ Negro. He would produce CD’s with various artists who would perform at The Noise and Ivy Queen’s first track in the volumes was a song entitled “Somos Raperos pero No Deliquientes”/ We are Rappers but not delinquents.

This song paid homage to the rap scene and the misconceptions of rappers that was all too familiar for her. This may be the reason she decided to walk away from The Noise and DJ Negro.

Much of her early years as an artist, she was challenged on her gender and sexuality due to the content of her music as well as her deep voice. When she attempted to get the attention of artist, Gran Omar, he did not think she was a woman from listening to her sample track. She did not let that deter her because she challenged him and asked that he listen to her alone. Long story short, they became collaborators both in music and in their personal lives throughout the 90s and 2000s. The two married, but divorced in the 2000’s. That voice would make her the unique and powerful artist that gave Gran Omar great success as a producer.

In 2003, Ivy Queen released the album that would officially, if you had not already realized it before, La Reina de Reggaetón/The Queen of Reggaetón. The song “Quiero Bailar”/ I Want to Dance became a billboard hit in both the US and Puerto Rico. As a matter of fact, this album has been recognized as the one who “opened the door” to make reggaetón a mainstream musical genre and “opening the door” to what has always been a male-dominated music scene. Male artists have seen and continue to see national success like Daddy Yankee and Don Omar. Yet, this queen has almost been lost in the new era of reggaetón ladies like Natti Natasha and Karol G.

Unfortunately, in recent media frenzy, the tabloids have focused on a “feud” between Ivy Queen and Karol G. This is the kind of media attention famous people try to avoid. This “feud” was not even started by either ladies, it was started by artist and Karol G’s boyfriend, Anuel AA. He posted on his social media that Ivy Queen should not hold the title of “La Reina de Reggeaton” because, in his opinion, she had not released a hit in over seven years. It was then that social media frenzy began and Ivy Queen responded. She wrote,

“Construí a base de sacrificios, cimientos para armar un puente por el que hoy caminan mujeres. Siempre Abogando a la unión femenina y apoyando muchísimo al talento nuevo. Sorprendida con las faltas de Respeto! Indignación total!”/”“I made lots of sacrifices to build the foundation for a bridge that women walk on today. Always advocating for women’s unity and supporting new talent. I’m surprised by this disrespect. [I feel] total indignation!”

At worst, this the kind of “news” that creates huge misconceptions about people of color and, in this case, women of color. In the example of hip hop in the US, we can recall the “east and west beef” that continues to be a myth we need to break out of. There was never beef between east and west and artists of color have worked for decades to collaborate and prove that wrong. If the question is, “Do certain artists from the West get more attention that artists from the east or even from the south?” The answer would be yes! Absolutely. But, this does not mean that there is beef. This means that the industry is going by what sells and, unfortunately, the West coast rap and hip hop scene has seen a lot of success. But, digging deeper, ask me if female rappers in the West coast have received the same exposure and success, no, absolutely not. Rappers like Medusa and Yoyo never saw the same success nor the same recognition as male rappers who admitted the amazing skills of these female artists. To take away the legacy and hard work of these women while making your own career seem like “it’s bigger and better” is absolutely unnecessary.

Another example would be Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. These women have had their share of “media feuds,” but, in the end, they have found ways to show their is no “beef.” No matter what, the media, the photographers, the bloggers, and whomever else want to circulate, this shouldn’t be “news.” And, for Ivy Queen… these things should not be focused on. This trailblazer deserves to be recognized as “La Reina de Reggaetón” for so many reasons!

Check her music out if you are a fan of reggaetón, she is part of the history of this music.

Please leave a comment below if this story resonated with you or if this history impacted you.



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