¡Viva La Danza!

Phoenix sizzles with the latest dance music from Puerto Rico

Local reggaeton artist and Crime Scene Records founder Raul Vargas, who performs under the moniker Lonely, founded his label in 2001, but he says nobody seemed interested in what he was doing until reggaeton started storming the airwaves.

"When we started, nobody listened to us because reggaeton was so new," Vargas says. "When that song 'Gasolina' came out, it opened a lot of doors and people wanted to listen to us."

Vargas says he is now connecting people from across the country with his label. The label's "beatmaster," Tron Lopez, is from Albuquerque, and the newest artists on the CSR roster -- Puerto Rican musicians Chino and Guayako -- came to the Valley from New York City.

Reggaeton fever: Valley clubs are bumping a new beat.
Jeff Newton
Reggaeton fever: Valley clubs are bumping a new beat.

"New York is too crowded, and there are so many people doing reggaeton that it's hard for underground artists to get noticed," says Vargas. "There is more opportunity here, and that's why artists are starting to say, 'Let's come out and bring reggaeton to Arizona.'"

And while Phoenix's piece of the big reggaeton picture remains to be seen, supporters are painting it with a passion. "I think in the Valley, [a big scene] will happen eventually," says Andy Herrera, who spins at Jackson's on 3rd as DJ Big Latin. "If it can happen in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas -- it can happen in Phoenix, Arizona. Why wouldn't it happen here? The music's hot."

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