Bilingual Singles Yield Fresh Crossover Hits For Latin Hip-Hop Stars


After reggaeton and Latin trap scored noteworthy wins on Billboard’s all-genre singles chart during 2017, two of its top artists kick off the new year strong with their fresh bilingual bangers.

Aided by Bronx rapper Cardi B, Ozuna’s “La Modelo” enters the Hot 100 at No. 52, making it both the Puerto Rican artist’s highest ever Hot 100 debut as well as his overall highest charting track there to date. A collaboration with Wisin, “Escapate Conmigo” peaked at No. 63 on the Hot 100 last September. A leader on iTunes’ Latin charts, “La Modelo” also did over 1.5 million domestic streams on Spotify in its first week.

Returning to the Hot 100 after briefly being off, Farruko’s star-studded “Krippy Kush” remix comes in at No. 88, just three positions shy of its No. 85 peak. It boasts features by Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, Rvssian and 21 Savage. A more recently released second remix swaps out 21 Savage with Travis Scott, with that version receiving a music video that has garnered nearly 19 million YouTube views in under two weeks.

On Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs, the U.S. chart for Spanish-language singles that utilizes the same methodology as the Hot 100, both songs fared extremely well. “La Modelo” debuted at No. 3, tying with “Escapate Conmigo” as Ozuna’s highest peak there. The “Krippy Kush” remix reached No. 5, returning it to the heights that the original version achieved back in September of last year.

Notably, neither of these bilingual tracks benefitted from radio airplay this week on English nor Spanish language this week. Failing to make Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart in this frame, both “Krippy Kush” and “La Modelo” instead relied significantly on online performance. Farruko’s track took the No. 6 spot on Latin Streaming Songs and No. 7 on Latin Digital Song Sales, while Ozuna’s fared even better at No. 4 on the former and No. 2 on the latter.

Appealing to English and Spanish speaking audiences, both tracks stand to gain momentum and have some longevity on the charts in the coming weeks. With four other simultaneously charting Hot 100 tracks right now, Cardi B’s surging popularity offers “La Modelo” a competitive advantage that most reggaeton songs lack. Meanwhile, the “Krippy Kush” remix could see increased pickup at hip-hop and pop radio stations that already play Minaj, Savage and Scott regularly, especially after previously integrating bilingual hits like “Despacito” and “Mi Gente” seamlessly into their playlists.

One key factor that will help determine their future on the Hot 100 is how the songs fare with paid streaming subscribers. Going into effect as of 2018, Billboard’s revised “Hot” methodology gives greater weight to plays at on-demand platforms like Apple Music and Tidal as well as Spotify’s premium tier. In turn, streams at ad-supported platforms like YouTube and Spotify’s basic tier will count less. How this will impact singles hip-hop artists across the language spectrum remain to be seen, though we may notice an increased marketing push by these artists and their record labels towards the paid platforms.

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