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Becky G's "Mangú" Pays Tribute To The Dominican Dembow Genre

Originally published on Creators.co

 

Mangú is a favorite Dominican dish consisting of mashed plantains mixed together with butter, salt and olive oil, very similar to mashed potatoes (just switch potatoes for plantains). But this is not what Becky G is singing about in her single, "Mangú." The song , which released last year in October, is one of Becky G's catchiest Spanish songs and most of that musical goodness is due to the song's Latin-infused rhythm.

 

Listen and watch the video below before we dissect "Mangú" ingredient by ingredient.

 

Becky G's "Mangú" Has Dominican Dembow Roots

Dembow is a fast-tempo urban genre from the Dominican Republic and Becky G's "Mangú" dons it almost entirely. The genre takes its name from the dance hall riddim present in Jamaican legend Shabba Rank's song, "Dembow."

 

Today Dominican Dembow sounds completely different from the rhythms it first sampled and recently one artist that's been leading the genre is El Alfa. Becky G's "Mangú" borrows various elements from many of El Alfa's top hits. The first distinctive element is the double snare hit on the third beat.

 

  • The Repeating Snare Hit

 Almost all of El Alfa's songs use the same snare pattern. Above in the song "Seguidilla," the snare pattern starts in the 00:12 mark and continues throughout the entire song, with the double snare hit always striking on the third kick. Becky G's "Mangú" utilizes this exact snare pattern and even uses an almost-identical snare sound from another of El Alfa's songs.

 

  • The Cowbell Snare Sound

 It's unclear what the actual snare is called, but what all Dembow producers agree is that the snare must sound like a cowbell, or how a metal can sounds when it's struck by another metal object. This sound combined with the snare usually found in Trap songs is the basis for the snare sound found in many Dominican Dembow songs. In Becky G's "Mangú" you can hear the sound in the 00:42 mark. In El Alfa's "2 Cachos" (see above) you can hear the snare immediately when the song starts.

 

Additionally, "Mangú" uses a guitar chord progression on top of the Dembow base. Many Dominican Dembow songs today are applying melodic instruments over their songs. Interestingly, a while ago it was unusual to hear any type of melodic instruments, like pianos and guitars, in Dembow songs.

 

The genre is extremely innovative and I wouldn't be surprised if the producers behind "Mangú" found inspiration from notable Dembow songs like Shelow Shaq's "Psiquiatra Enomarao." 

 

Becky G's "Mangú" Pays Tribute To Dominican Dembow

Even the way Becky G performs the song, by dropping the "s" at the end of words and by repeating certain words over and over (tendencies that Dembow artists have), is a tribute to Dominican Dembow. The beat behind "Mangú" is undoubtedly rooted in Dembow and like many songs under the genre, "Mangú" is tremendously catchy. Here's hoping Becky G continues to bring us that sweet Latin fun with more Dominican Dembow songs.

 

Will you be listening to more Dembow songs? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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