Freestyle music, also called Latin freestyle or (initially) Latin hip hop, is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the New York metropolitan area and Philadelphia, primarily among Hispanic Americans and Italian Americans in the 1980s. It experienced its greatest popularity from the late 1980s until the early 1990s. A common theme of freestyle lyricism originated as heartbreak in an urban environment typified by New York City.
|Other names||Latin freestyle, Latin hip hop|
|Cultural origins||Early 1980s, United States : New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and Miami, (especially among Hispanic Americans and Italian Americans)|
|Derivative forms||NYC hard house|
|2023 in freestyle music|
An important precursor to freestyle is 1982's "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force. Shannon's 1983 hit "Let the Music Play" is often considered the first freestyle song and the first major song recorded by a Latin American artist is "Please Don't Go" by Nayobe from 1984. From there, freestyle gained a large presence in American clubs, especially in New York and Miami. Radio airplay followed in the mid 1980s.
Performers such as Exposé, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Stevie B and Sweet Sensation gained mainstream chart success with the genre in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but its popularity largely faded by the end of the decade. Both classic and newer freestyle output remain popular as a niche genre in Brazil (where it is an influence on funk carioca), Germany and Canada.