9 Panamanian urban artists you should know, according to DJ Bembona (2023)


By Rachel Reichard

9 Panamanian urban artists you should know, according to DJ Bembona (1) 9 Panamanian urban artists you should know, according to DJ Bembona (2)

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Growing up in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, Puerto Rican-PanamanianDJ Bemboñawas created with a heavy dose of Bori's soundscapes. She was well versed in the Isla del Charme salsa orchestras and hers reggaetoneros who, at the time, dominated the local radio stations. But she knew less about the artists hailing from Panama, the often-forgotten creators of Spanish-language (or full) reggae, a genre that heavily influenced mainstream Caribbean vibes. As one of New York's most exciting DJs, Bembona is on a mission to recapture Panama's underappreciated contributions to the game and elevate current talent in the Central American country.

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“Panama has not received as much attention. There are a lot of black artists kicking ass, but they don't fit the mold of what the mainstream market, or the US market, is looking for. They are not having the shine they deserve and that saddens me,” the 27-year-old told Remezcla.

On November 16, Bembona will celebrate Panama's independence from Spain, a nearly three-week emancipation struggle that ended on November 28, 1821, dedicating its monthly summer party tovibe new yorkto the rhythms of the Isthmus, a time for her to rotate with little-known Panamanian artists, exclusively. She'll cover everything from wiggles to classic hits from legends like Kafu Banton, Japanese, Mr Fox, Aldo Ranks, El Roockie and Toby King, as well as sneak peeks at new talent you probably haven't heard yet.

“I want to show everything that Panamanian artists have contributed to music culture and nightlife, to celebrate that. My purest intention is for Panamanians to know that we are here doing things, and to connect, build and make our presence known”, said Bembona.

For the pre-game, we asked Bembona to share with us a list of current and emerging Panamanian urban artists. She has unleashed 9 rappers and singers who are making it big in dancehall, reggaeton, Latin trap, hip-hop and more.

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Slow reggaeton took over Latin America and, in Panama,voteHe is one of the most distinguished young talents in the genre. Signed to Panama Music, the country's flagship label for urban artists, he is known for showing his soul, and his sharp sexual desire, over slow electronic reggaeton rhythms. “This is the young pimp coming in and making noise on the scene. His music is fusion and is very similar to what we are already hearing, but in a Panamanian world. He's one of the younger cats, but he's selling shows and it's really killing it," Bembona said.


While Bembona considersThe Lord. Psychoanalyzean OG in the game, he's still making music. Known as one of the most controversial artists (last year he released a song thatspeaks contemptuously of Venezuelan women), the Dominican-raised rapper in Panama is one of the biggest names in Spanish-speaking dancehall in the country. “His music from him is really making waves even in the waters. He is known for collaborating with different artists. What I really like about him is that his music pays homage to Jamaican culture. Just like in reggae, you often hear him rap over the same classic beats but creating new songs with them and giving them different points of view.”

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For allkenny manhis career wasdescribedas a conscious rapper, preferring to rap about political corruption rather than making danceable records. That changed this year when the Panamanian released "Ni Gucci Ni Prada," a halftime hit about a girl who is unimpressed by the finer things in life. The song went global, drawing the attention of Universal Music Latin, who signed the young rapper. According to Kenny, the industry wants reggae and reggaeton, and he's prepared to give it to them, until he gains mass attention and can return to the socially critical hip-hop he prefers. “He is a dark-haired rapper who winks at Afro rhythms. He is definitely ahead of the game,” Bembona said.


like Mr. Saik,little robinHe's been playing Spanish-language reggae for about a decade now and is definitely still keeping pace with the ones that are emerging, releasing swaggering anthems like his 2018 hit "If I had.But while Robinho, whom Bembona describes as a "Panamanian shaggy," is best known for producing dancehall, he hopes to venture outside the urban, recently playing Álvaro Torres and Selena's "Buenos Amigos" with friend and fellow Panamanian Ana Sibauste and considering making a salsa record. Until then, Bembona says his "eclectic look and style" will continue to make him a fan favorite in urban Panama.

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One of the new artists that Robinho is embracing isBCA. When BCA came on the scene in 2016,acclaimed Panamanian DJand radio personality Carlos Rivera, better known as DJ Cucaracha, crowned him artist of the year, and he's been delivering hits ever since, including collaborations with Boza. “His urban reggae-dancehall of his is going well, and not just in Panama,” Bembona tells me. "He also organizes parties and concerts in Miami."


When La Factoria released "Perdoname" in 2007, the Panamanian reggaeton and reggae en Español group achieved international success, winning multiple awards for the chart-topping single. Since then, the main rapper of La Factoria,DemphraShe left the group to pursue a solo career, becoming one of the leading female voices in Panamanian urban music. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Panama City, she frequently blends sounds from both cultures, recently debuting with the dembow-EDM hit "La Reina." “It is super difficult to find Panamanian artists and even more difficult to find women. But Demphra has been scoring big hits, and now she's fighting back and building her own empire as a solo artist. She is doing her job and carrying on her legacy,” Bembona said.


Demphra's enormous success on the street helped pave the way forAnyuri, Panama's rising female voice in reggae. Signed to Panama Music, Anyuri has released several girl power jams, including "De Perro A Venao," where she rails against trash men, and "Soltera," an anthem for independent women who don't let romantic heartbreak dictate their lives. “I have to root for Anyuri, being one of the only women in the game. She's really matching up with the guys on the scene. She is not a delicate flower. She is a woman who owns her sexuality. She is very flirtatious, very much in her style, very femme and very demanding and bossy. She reminds me of that popular girl in high school,” Bembona said.

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ShynoHe is undoubtedly one of the most vicious Latin trap artists in his country. With millions of views on YouTube and a reggaeton co-writer, King Nicky Jam, the Asian-Panamanian rapper's hard-hitting lyrics on everything from drugs and sex to racial and class discrimination have garnered worldwide attention. “Honestly, I'm still not sure how I feel about him. His flow is crazy and his lyrics are as heavy as Bad Bunny's. He's a talented gangsta rap emcee, sure, but all of his songs feature naked women. He is very misogynistic,” Bembona said.


Panamanian-American duo from OaklandThe RakaThey are not new to the scene. The Grammy-nominated hip-hop duo of cousins ​​Raka Rich and Raka Dun have been mixing rap with reggae, reggaeton and dancehall since 2006, and are currently building a new fire for their next record. For Bembona, its presence on this list is mandatory. "These are my brothers. They did it before J Balvin and Bad Bunny. They have been revolutionizing urban sounds for a long time, experimenting with sounds like reggae, plena, electronica and hip-hop. People have been paying attention to them, but I still don't think they've been given the respect they deserve," he said.

Panama urban
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9 Panamanian urban artists you should know, according to DJ Bembona? ›

Four times a Grammy-award nominee, Danilo Peréz is the most influential of all Panama-born musicians.

What is the name of one of the best know musicians in Panama? ›

Four times a Grammy-award nominee, Danilo Peréz is the most influential of all Panama-born musicians.

Who is a famous singer from Panama? ›

Rubén Blades
BornRubén Blades Bellido de Luna July 16, 1948 Panama City, Panama
OccupationsMusician singer composer actor activist politician
Years active1974–present
SpouseLuba Mason ​ ( m. 2006)​
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What influenced the music in Panama? ›

The music of Panama is heavily based on the folk music of Spain, particularly that of Andalusia and was influenced first by the indigenous populations of Kunas, Teribes, Ngobe Bugle and others, and then by the black population who were brought over, first as slaves from Africa, between the 16th century and the 19th ...

Why is music important in Panama? ›

Music and art are very important in Panamanian cultural traditions. Because of the influence of many cultures in Panama (Spanish, Caribbean, African and American), many different types of music and art are popular here.

Who is the most famous unknown musician? ›

Lennon once described Ono as the 'world's most famous unknown artist. Everybody knows her name but no one knows what she actually does'. Unfortunately, this perception of her still seems prevalent; however, to the avant-garde art world, Yoko Ono's works are considered groundbreaking.

Did Panama invent reggaeton? ›

Reggaeton's roots are from Panama with the music evolving and coming to prominence in Puerto Rico. Reggaeton starts as an adaptation of Jamaican reggae (and later Jamaican dancehall) to the Spanish-language culture in Panama .

Who are 2 famous people from Panama? ›

Famous people from Panama
  • Mariano Rivera. Pitcher. ...
  • Alexis Texas. Pornographic actor. ...
  • Miguel Bosé Musical Artist. ...
  • Rubén Blades. Latin pop Artist. ...
  • Carlos Fuentes. Novelist. ...
  • Roberto Durán. Professional Boxer. ...
  • Billy Cobham. Jazz fusion Artist. ...
  • Manuel Noriega. Politician.

Is there anyone famous in Panama? ›

Some of the artists like Antonia Jose Guzam, Margarita Henriquez, Jose Quintero, Aaron Zebede gave the Panama cultural world a new dimension. The country is also home to three world box championships . It has also made its mark at Olympics.

What rapper is Panamanian? ›

Oakland-based Panamanian-American duo Los Rakas aren't new to the scene. The Grammy-nominated hip-hop twosome, made up of cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun, have been melding rap with reggae, reggaeton and dancehall since 2006, and they're currently cooking up new fuego for their next album.

What is Panama known for? ›

Panama is known as a transit country because of the Panama Canal. While the country is known for its famous canal, its natural attractions include birding, whitewater rafting, and snorkeling tours. Panama's biodiversity has been said to be three times higher than the United State, Canada and Europe combined.

What food is Panama known for? ›

Some of the most popular Panama food staples include rice and beans (often served together), plantains (both cooked and green), yuca (a type of cassava root), seafood dishes like ceviche or sancocho de pescado (a fish soup), and meats like chicken or pork.

Who is the national hero of Panama? ›

Victoriano Lorenzo is considered one of the great heroes of Panamanian history, although his story and motives are sometimes debated by different sectors in his homeland.

Why does Panama like the US? ›

The United States cooperates with the Panamanian government in promoting economic, political, security, and social development through U.S. and international agencies. Cultural ties between the two countries are strong and many Panamanians go to the United States for higher education and advanced training.

What is the music culture of Panama? ›

There are salsa, bachata, and even rock artists in the country. However, the most popular genre of music in the country is Reggae in spanish. Some of the most famous Reggae artists in Panama include: Kafu Banton, Eddy Lover, Nando Boom, Mach & Daddy, and Joey Montana.

What is the most famous thing in Panama? ›

Panama Canal

It's easily the most famous thing about Panama, but it's also one of its most essential features.

Who is a musician that Cannot hear? ›

One of the world's most famous composers and classical musicians, Ludwig van Beethoven, began losing his hearing in his mid-to-late 20s. In his 30s, Beethoven wrote to a friend, “For the last three years my hearing has grown steadily weaker.

Who is the most mysterious singer? ›

Seven of the most mysterious musicians
  • Frank Ocean.
  • Kate Bush.
  • H.E.R.
  • William Onyeabor.
  • Jai Paul and A.K. Paul.
  • Rodriguez.
  • Sia.

Who is the artist that nobody knows? ›

Banksy is a street artist whose works have appeared all over the world, and sold for millions at various auctions. Banksy's identity has never been confirmed by the artist, and his work is usually shrouded in mystery.

Is reggaeton only Puerto Rican? ›

Now, reggaetón is closely associated with Puerto Rico but is popular throughout Latin America and the world. As a genre, reggaetón integrates the influences of Black culture from a variety of Latin American countries.

Why was reggaeton banned in Puerto Rico? ›

In Puerto Rico, reggaeton was stigmatized by politicians and the morality police who lambasted its highly sexualized and violent content. Raids took place in inner-city neighborhoods and record stores to cleanse them of cassettes — yes, reggaeton has been around that long!

Did reggae start in Panama? ›

Although it originated in Panama, reggaetón gets its name from Puerto Rico; Puerto Ricans preferred to call the music genre “el reggaetón”, instead of “reggae en español”.

What are people born in Panama called? ›

Flag of Panama
Total population
4,279 million
Regions with significant populations
Panama4,279 million
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Who lived in Panama first? ›

In the history of Panama, the earliest known inhabitants were the Cueva and Coclé tribes, but they were drastically reduced by disease and fighting when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.

What are the top 3 ethnicities in Panama? ›

The majority of the population of Panama is mestizo, or mixed Spanish, Indian, Chinese and of African descent. Spanish is the official and pervasive language with English being a common second language used by Afro-Caribbean communities and by many in business and the professions.

Where do the rich live in Panama? ›

Punta Pacifica is where Panama's wealthiest citizens choose to live and one of the most expensive areas in Panama City. There are gated communities and some amazing views across the bay. It has all the amenities you could. If budget is no concern, then Punta Pacifica maybe the best place to live.

Do a lot of Americans live in Panama? ›

An estimated 20,000–30,000 Americans and 8,000 Canadians live in Panama. Some relocate to the country to conduct research, work remotely, make investments, or enjoy a comfortable retirement with a low cost of living.

Is Panama friendly to the US? ›

They cooperate in many ways, including combating illegal drug trafficking and other criminal activity, as well as promoting economic, democratic, and social development through U.S. and international agencies.

Who was the 1st Latino rappers? ›

The first widely recognized Chicano rap artist was former electro musician Kid Frost. His 1990 debut album Hispanic Causing Panic was driven by the hit single "La Raza", which combined Latin and Tex-Mex influences, to bring new attention to Chicano rappers on the West Coast.

What is Panamanian music called? ›

Panamanians enjoy a wide variety of music, including traditional genres such as salsa, reggaeton, and cumbia, as well as more contemporary styles like hip-hop, rap, and rock. They also enjoy listening to Latin music from other countries, such as salsa from Colombia and merengue from the Dominican Republic.

Who made Panama music? ›

Panama (song)
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Eddie Van Halen Alex Van Halen Michael Anthony David Lee Roth
Producer(s)Ted Templeman
Van Halen singles chronology
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Is Panama a rich or poor country? ›

Panama is a high income economy with a history of low inflation. Panamanian balboa (PAB, B/.)

Is Panama rich in culture? ›

Settled thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations, the land that has become modern-day Panamá boasts a rich mosaic of cultural diversity where indigenous roots meet African heritage and Spanish influence. It is also a place that many travelers have passed through for hundreds of years.

What are 5 interesting facts about Panama? ›

11 Fascinating Things You Didn't Know About Panama
  • There's a rainforest in the capital city. ...
  • You don't have to change currency here. ...
  • Its population figures are crazy. ...
  • The sun rises and sets over two different oceans. ...
  • It's home to the oldest operating railroad. ...
  • It has two independence days.
Nov 29, 2017

What is the national drink of Panama? ›

Seco was always part of family celebrations including birthdays, weddings, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations. It's considered the national alcoholic beverage of Panama.”

What do they drink in Panama? ›

Panama's most famous drink is seco, a sugar-cane-distilled alcohol produced in Herrera and commonly served with milk and ice. You won't find seco in trendy bars or high-end restaurants; it's consumed mostly in rural communities and cantinas. Also popular in Panama are rum, vodka, and scotch.

Are people from Panama Hispanic? ›

Panama has a population of slightly over 2.4 million people; 70 percent are of Mestizo origin (mixed Spanish, and Indian) or mixed Spanish, Indian, Chinese, and West Indian. The rest of the population comprises various ethnic minorities, including West Indian (14 percent), white (ten percent), Indian (six percent).

Who won the Panama war? ›

United States invasion of Panama
DateDecember 20, 1989 – January 31, 1990 (1 month, 1 week and 4 days)
ResultAmerican victory Manuel Noriega deposed Dissolution of the Panama Defense Forces President-elect Guillermo Endara sworn into office

Who founded Panama? ›

In September 1510, the first permanent European settlement, Santa María la Antigua del Darién on the Americas mainland was founded. Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Martín Fernández de Enciso agreed on the site near the mouth of the Tarena River on the Atlantic, in modern Colombia.

Who is the first lady of Panama? ›

Lorena Castillo García de Varela (born July 31, 1968) is a Panamanian journalist and politician.

Why do US citizens retire in Panama? ›

Friendly Locals:

Panamanian culture is a unique combination of Latin American, Caribbean, and North American influences, which makes it a great place for retirees to find their footing. It's also a country that is accustomed to expats, which helps with the cultural transition for many people who retire early in Panama.

Is it safe to drink water in Panama? ›

In most places, the water in Panama is safe to drink. The Panama Canal Company had a high standard for hygiene, and as a result the water is clean in Panama City and much of the rest of the country. Bocas del Toro is one of the few places in Panama that does not have reliably safe water.

What's a good salary in Panama? ›

Salaries in Panama typically range from 6,480 PAB (lowest average) to 113,520 PAB (highest average).

What is the main language in Panama? ›

The official language in Panama is Spanish, but due to its history, there are several other languages spoken throughout the country.

What is the main religion in Panama? ›

The constitution recognizes Catholicism as the religion of the majority of citizens but does not designate it as the state religion. It limits the public offices clergy and members of religious orders may hold to those related to social assistance, education, and scientific research.

What is Panama popular dance? ›

Cumbia [ˈkumbja] is a musical genre and folk dance from Panama.

What jewelry is Panama known for? ›

Gold and silver work and jewelry

One of the main uses for this material is the making of jewelry that accompanies the Pollera Panameña (Panamanian skirt). The gold is embossed or worked into filigree or Arabesque and forms part of this traditional feminine attire.

What are 5 products from Panama? ›

Main exports products from Panama come from the Agricultural Sector, such as bananas (4.5%), shrimp (84.4%), pineapple (18.9%), watermelons and Gourmet Coffee. Panama's main trade partner is The United States of America with the 28% of our total exports.

What are 3 products in Panama? ›

Panama has a high level of specialization in Copper Ore (99.8), Bananas (63), Other Sea Vessels (41.9), Passenger and Cargo Ships (28.8), and Metal Signs (23.4).

Who is one famous person in Panama? ›

1. Ruben Blades. What is this? Ruben is a panama musician, singer, composer, actor, activist and polictian.

Who is the biggest musicians? ›

250 million or more records
ArtistCountryPeriod active
Elton JohnUnited Kingdom1962–present
QueenUnited Kingdom1971–present
MadonnaUnited States1979–present
Led ZeppelinUnited Kingdom1968–1980
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What is the main music in Panama? ›

During the day, more traditional tamborito, típico, and la murga is heard throughout the streets. As it transitions to night, the sounds of salsa, merengue, cumbia, plena, and reggaeton take over in the dance halls.

What is Panama most famous? ›

Panama is known for many things, but perhaps the most famous is the Panama Canal. The country boasts a rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes, including tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters.

Who found Panama first? ›

Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Martín Fernández de Enciso agreed on the site near the mouth of the Tarena River on the Atlantic. This was abandoned in 1519 and the settlement moved to Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Panamá (present day Panama City), the first European settlement on the shores of the Pacific.

What tribe is Panama from? ›

The Indigenous Peoples of Panama

The seven Indigenous Peoples of Panama are the Ngäbe, the Buglé, the Guna, the Emberá, the Wounaan, the Bri bri, and the Naso Tjërdi.

Who is the richest in Panama? ›

TOP 10 Richest People in Panama
1Mariano Rivera Net Worth: $90M
2Carlos Lee Net Worth: $60M
3Juan Carlos Varela Net Worth: $20M
4Rubén Blades Net Worth: $10M
5Roberto Duran Net Worth: $3M
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Who is No 1 artist in the world? ›

1. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

Who is the #1 artist right now? ›

Popularity rankingArtist
01RihannaTrack artist
02DrakeTrack artist
03ColdplayTrack artist
04EminemTrack artist
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Who is the #1 artist on Spotify? ›

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is the most-followed artist on Spotify. American singer-songwriter Ariana Grande is the most-followed female artist on Spotify.

What 2 things is Panama known for? ›

Panama is known as a transit country because of the Panama Canal. While the country is known for its famous canal, its natural attractions include birding, whitewater rafting, and snorkeling tours. Panama's biodiversity has been said to be three times higher than the United State, Canada and Europe combined.

What is Panama unique for? ›

Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic. Panama is the only country in the world in which you can see the sun rise in in the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic Ocean from the top of the highest point in the country, Volcan Baru.


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