Medellín is the second most populous city in Colombia after Bogota. Its three million inhabitants, known as ‘Paisas’, enjoy some pretty exceptional geography – the city is located in a valley in the Andes mountains.
Made infamous by Pablo Escobar, who made it the headquarters of his cartel from the 1970s until the early 1990s, Medellín has been the scene of a great deal of violence, leaving the city with some deep scars. Both its painful past and the city’s rich cultural mix have left their mark on Medellín’s music.
Medellín has given birth to major players in reggaeton such as Karol G, J Balvin and Maluma. Their music deals with light-hearted subjects, often linked to the heart, as if to exorcise the violence they’ve experienced. Through the hard-hitting flows of talents such as Mabiland and Sr Pablo, local rap represents another great musical path, more rooted in the everyday and hopeful of change.
When it comes to musical production, much machine tinkering and creative competitiveness has led to imaginative creations ranging from Dany F’s dreamy ambient work, experimental rhythmic pieces in the case of Alibombo, and Bosq’s ultra groovy afrobeat. And of course, some of these productions are part of the Colombian cumbia tradition, which these artists continue to nourish.