trying to buy reggaeton (or truthfully, most contemporary urban international music) in portland, OR, sucks


Aaaaaargh. Today the new Daddy Yankee and Zion CDs were released. Good luck finding them in Portland. Other than B.S. cash-in CDs with names like Reggaeton’s Greatest Hits (which are usually anything but) it is next to impossible to find reggaeton CDs in Portland record stores. I have had better luck finding new reggaeton at places like Fry’s and Fred Meyer’s than any of the independent record stores I would much rather be supporting (despite their total ignorance of, and lack of support for, contemporary international music). Timbuktunes, Portland’s leading world music store, has never carried any reggaeton. I know hipster-indie Jackpot won’t carry them. I called larger more broad-based stores like Everyday Music and Music Millennium and they didn’t have either of them. I had no luck at Fred Meyer’s either, although I was glad to see that they stock dead prez’s Let’s Get Free. I live in a city of more than a million in the greater metro area, and I can’t find new releases that will easily sell in the hundreds of thousands in the US. It’s not like I’m looking for anything obscure, or imports, or anything.

I won’t have any luck at the local Latin music stores either. While reggaeton has become a pan-Latin music over the last few years, the Latin stores in Portland stock almost exclusively Mexican music, since it is Mexicans who own, operate, and patronize these stores. I would certainly have better luck than when I was asking for reggaeton at these stores six years ago, but in my experience I’d be lucky to find something as obvious as Daddy Yankee’s first solo CD. Truthfully I am way more excited to hear the Zion CD than the Daddy Yankee. I never liked “Gasolina,” from the first time I heard it in New York, the summer it came out. Nothing on Barrio Fino ever grabbed me. However, I like “Rompe” and I like several of his cameos, like his verse on Wisin y Yandel’s “Paleta.” He’s spent three years putting his new album together, so with the money he has to hire the best producers, I am expecting some fire, if he doesn’t stretch too far towards the crossover pop market. I’m undecided about the first single with Fergie, to which I have only briefly listened. Zion, however, earns the album title The Perfect Melody, as far as I’m concerned. I’m stoked that the epic “Fantasma” finally has a proper release. I hope he doesn’t goop out, without the complementary roughness of Lennox as his partner. I’ll be curious to see how strong the songs are. Now I have to wait for the CD to arrive in the mail. Thank you, Portland. If I’m lucky I’ll have them in time to play out this Saturday at Atlas.


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