The Context – Reggaetón, a music style originating in mid-90s Puerto Rico, has emerged as a leading genre in Latin America and beyond. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s single “Despacito” as well as J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” thrusted reggaetón to the top of global charts and dance clubs alike in 2017 and paved the way for fellow Puerto Ricans Bad Bunny and Don Omar to reach international fame. The sheer global expanse of reggaetón and Latin pop in general would not be possible without the ongoing work of Efraín David Fines Nevares, known by his stage name Tito “El Bambino.”
Beginning his illustrious career as one-half of the award-winning reggaetón duo Héctor & Tito, El Bambino launched a successful solo career in 2006. The trailblazing tropical artist has notched several Latin Grammy Awards, Latin Music Awards, and Lo Nuestro Awards’ nominations and wins for both songwriting and vocal performance, including numerous accolades for his 2009 single “El Amor” from his third studio album El Patron. The diverse musical palette of Tito “El Bambino”—which includes salsa, bachata, dancehall, and reggaetón amalgamations—places the artist in the upper echelon of Latin pop music.
The Content – 2020’s El Muñeco, which marks the eighth full-length LP released by Tito “El Bambino,” kicks off with the dance hit “I Love You” packed with both sultry and heavy-hitting vocals from El Bambino and Jay Wheeler. El Bambino slows the tempo down on the tropical “Se Va” that marries a traditional sound with contemporary production and rapid-paced bars from Farruko. The sound of “Tímida” is far from its “shy” English translation as the track is a sexy dancehall selection. Tito “El Bambino” continues the thumping reggaetón beat on the infectious “Baila Morena” with a solid vocal performance from Justin Quilles.
The Puerto Rican pop star returns to a stripped-back and tropical reggaetón backdrop on “Sexy Sensual.” Cosculluela delivers a slick-tongued rap verse on the track as well. The English-Spanish reprise on the sleek track “Ok” is tantalizing along with the vocals from Mariah and Senegalese-American artist Akon. “Por Ti” is perhaps the most sentimental track on the record, yet it is a certain slow burn. El Bambino juxtaposes “Port Ti” well with the upbeat “Soltero.” The penultimate “Sé Que Te Perdí” and ultimate “Por Qué Me Buscas?” tracks are exclusively Tito’s own. The former displays his versatility as a rapper and singer while the latter showcases his skill in crafting a smooth ballad.
The Skinny – Tito “El Bambino” delivers yet another exceptional record in his voluminous discography with El Muñeco. The collaborative songwriting and production efforts demonstrate that the Latin pop star’s sound is more extensive verbose than pure reggaetón with fusion tracks like “Se Va” and “Sexy Sensual.” From the tropical bachata to the bumping reggaetón, the contents of Tito “El Bambino’s” El Muñeco is sure to move and groove the body.
The Rating – 7.2/10
- I Love You (with Jay Wheeler)
- Se Va (with Farruko)
- Tímida (with Chencho Corleone)
- Baila Morena (with Justin Quilles)
- Sexy Sensual (feat. Cosculluela)
- Ok (with Akon & Mariah; feat. IAmChino)
- Por Ti (with Lenny Tavarez)
- Soltero (with Kiko El Crazy & Chael Produciendo)
- Sé Que Te Perdí
- Por Qué Me Buscas?