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Definition of Dembow

When we refer to Dembow, we are talking about a musical genre popularized in the nineties when groups like The Noise were at their peak in Puerto Rico.

Reggae beats over rap instrumentals. While the Puerto Ricans were already exploiting this genre, the Dominican Republic was just beginning to work on this type of music.


  1. Basic rhythm of reggaeton.
  2. Musical genre.


This rhythm emerged in Jamaica in the 80s. Although it got its boom in the mid 1990s (and early 2000s), it can be said that its origins are crossed with rap and hip hop influences.

For those who are not music experts, dembow might sound exactly the same as what is now known as reggaeton, but it is not, as the musical base is more basic, repetitive and a bit faster.

Previously when reggaeton was not known under that name, it was only called dembow, dembo, son bow or dem bow (depending on the region), as a reference to a rhythm that was derived from reggae and dancehall tracks in Jamaica, and then exported to Panama.


What is currently known as “perreo” is the result of the most organic and primitive way of dancing the dembow.

Before the sound was composed of a: boom-ch-boom-chick is why it is believed that the word dembow refers only to the rhythmic sound.

In 2003 the album Mi vida… My Life by Wisin y Yandel was released, where a version with a new meaning for the term dembow appears with a sound with more digital production and lyrics sprinkled with R&B and romantic salsa.

The lyrics of this song speak of dembow as it is known today: as a rhythm that is unfortunately danced to through female objectification.