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On The Radar Latin: Dawer x Damper, DEVA & More Emerging Artists to Discover

todayFebruary 22, 2023

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Every month, Billboard Latin editors will feature a small group of new or relatively unknown artists whose music we love. Think “diamantes en bruto” or “diamonds in the rough.” These are newcomers who have yet to impact the mainstream — but whose music excites us, and who we believe our readers should make a point to discover. In honor of Black History Month, our newest “On The Radar Latin” list includes Afro-Latino rising stars you should be listening to. See our recommendations below:

Artist: Dawer x Damper

Country: Colombia

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Brothers Luis and Edwar Vergara, better known as Dawer and Damper –27 and 28 years old—grew up in Aguablanca, a notoriously poor and dangerous neighborhood in Cali, Colombia. Their origins have informed their music, mid-tempo raps set over sparse beats –sometimes tinged with elements of Colombia’s Pacific Coast—that tell stories of power and disenfranchisement and also day-to-day life. “When we think of Afrofuturism in Latin America, we think of finding new narratives and to do so, we begin thinking from the place that made us ashamed before: That’s our point of enunciation,” Damper told Cali local newspaper, El Pais. The point of enunciation gives way to music that challenges structures of power, but whose presentation is elegant and sophisticated. Dawer X Damper’s recent album, Donde Machi (Discos Fiera/Warner Chappell Colombia) was chosen by Rolling Stone as one of its top Spanish language albums of the year. — LEILA COBO

Song For Your Playlist: “Quilo”

Artist: DEVA

Country: Spain

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: All eyes are on Spain’s new generation of acts making waves inside and outside the country, such as Pol Granch, Quevedo and Marc Seguí, so it’s surprising that DEVA was not on our radar like the others. The Spanish singer-songwriter is both lyrically and sonically striking as she fuses R&B with trap to create her own signature sound. Her latest single, “En Verdad,” is a bilingual (English and Spanish) banger where the indie artist showcases her vocal range going from a soulful, dulcet tone to deep vocals for a hard-hitting rap verse. Do yourself a favor and check out “En Verdad” and other songs such as “TEK” and “Galerna” to really experience DEVA’s versatility. — GRISELDA FLORES

Song For Your Playlist: “En Verdad”


Country: The United States (Maryland)

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Hailing from the DMVerse, LATENIGHTJIGGY arrives at the ever-expanding urbano scene with plenty of vocal finesse. As a constant force in the SoundCloud ecosystem, he caught my ear last year with his million-stream sleeper hit “Úsame,” an undulating bilingual jam that navigates between R&B allure and reggaetón’s flirtatious banter. The rapper/singer reps his scene well, he grew up in Maryland amid Dominicans and Salvadorians and is of Trinidadian descent. Delivering dancehall, Afrobeats and reggaetón cuts in appealing ways, his latest collab is a further testament to his genre versatility. On Reykon’s “Zaza (Chimbita)” single, also featuring Xantos, LATENIGHTJIGGY offers swoon-worthy melismas and provocative bars while making it sound sleek yet romantic. — ISABELA RAYGOZA

Song For Your Playlist: “Úsame”

Artist: Plu con Pla

Country: Colombia

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: This eight-person troupe (six men, two women) from Tumaco, on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, whimsically take their name from plumuda con plátano, a traditional dish built on a local fish (plumuda) and plantain. That connection to roots and essence also guides Plu con Pla’s music, which fuses the traditions of Colombia’s Pacific with elements of reggae and irresistible enthusiasm and drive. It’s hard to sit down while listening to this music. Led by founder Harold Tenorio, the group signed a distribution deal last with ADA and are also mentored by renowned Colombian musician Yuri Buenaventura. — L.C.

Song For Your Playlist: “La Plumada Llego”

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