Drawing on the heritage of the Panamanian romantic style, Boza is one to watch
Reggaeton is hotter than ever. And for the first time in 30 years, Panamanians are making a comeback with icons like Sech sells El Choli in Puerto Rico, El Chombo sets the record straight As it concerns the history of reggaeton and dancehall en español, and Los Rakas get their shine at the Latin Grammy Awards. The isthmus is known for its role in being the first to develop and foster what is called “urbano”, creating the Spanish iterations of genres like reggae, dance hall, and reggaeton.
Today, the new wave of artists is imposing itself on the Latin music scene without forgetting its roots, which include Panamanian romantic style. As sad girl and boy music takes over the mainstream themes of the market, it’s important to remember the very first wave of melding love anthems stapled in the sexier-than-ever upbeat genre reggae that influenced generations of perreo in opportune party corners around the world. It is truly a historic moment, as Panama’s legacy is stronger than ever – a late and legendary height that Boza is now building on.
Humberto Ceballos, popularly known as Boza, shaped his individuality and artistic innovation while serially attempting to join the legacy of The romantic style of Panama. At just 24 years old, the reggaeton sensation is cementing his mark in el movimiento with his poetry and soft-spoken lyric approach. In a chat with Remezcla on Zoom, the hitmaker details, “I always strive to have a connection with the fans so they identify with my music.”
Boza’s creative process forces him to create in a way that naturally conveys how he feels in the moment. “That’s what I like to prioritize,” he says of trending not just from his current feelings, but strategically in a way that fits the many emotions in the world. When asked how he hopes to impact the music landscape — given all the politically intense events going on around the world — the star responds optimistically. “Feel-good music is important, but music that lets you get away with intention can also be powerful,” Boza says, acknowledging the impact of his carefully written lyrical sagas.
Boza set the bar high for himself with 2020’s “Hecha Pa’ Mi,” especially buzzing over the airwaves in Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Miami and beyond. The romantic achieved the brilliance of this sonic caliber in his latest project, Loop. The 13-song album amounted to a compilation of solo tracks that fused afrobeat, dancehall and reggaeton into a neo-reggaeton fusion of popular music or popetón. The freshman artist scored some impressive features with up-and-coming reggaeton savants like Lunay, Lenny Tavarez, Juhn El Allstar and Beele on his “Ella (Remix).”
Being able to influence culture is a privilege – a privilege in which Boza still finds its rhythm. Loop is something of a start in that direction, with songs like “San Andres”, “Haciendo El Amor” and “Parrafo” challenging what lately seems like a standardized pop formula in el movmiento. Boza adequately pushes the envelope by successfully and strategically structuring song flows, sounds, and length the way he did, which is impressive for three songs from entirely different genres. On the contrary, numbers like “Tick Tock” and “Por Ti” were tempered in their lyrical quality and their trivial instrumentality overshadows any opportunity for nuance.
Adding your grain of sand to the range that today is an ever-evolving, popular and competitive reggaeton market is difficult for many reasons. The list of requirements artists must meet to exemplify even the most basic levels of professionalism grows longer every day, leaving artists to balance art and industry in unforeseen ways. Given Boza’s abilities, it would be great to see him develop even further in his particular niche. As the world is finally ready to consume the Panamanian musical sauce in the way that only Panamanians can provide, Boza can set a precedent in el movimiento. His technique is undeniable, his voice is sexy and his agitation is awe-inspiring; it is well on its way to a space of contemporary eminence.
“In Panama, there are a ton of Jamaicans. Many people do not fully understand our culture. Some won’t understand the weight of saying “baybee” versus “baby.” It hits differently.
Nevertheless, Boza’s artistic process exists at a very rare intersection. As nostalgia demand for “los tiempos de antes” or “the way reggaeton used to be” grows, the Panama native has the advantage of incorporating his essence: authentic rap flows and Caribbean fused banter. “In Panama, there are a ton of Jamaicans. A lot of people don’t understand our culture well,” he laughs. “Some won’t understand the weight of saying ‘baybee’ versus ‘baby.’ It hits differently.
Songs dominating the international charts to learn not to worry about weird questions To ensure his best representation of Panama as a proud newbie ambassador of culture, Boza is quickly solidifying himself as someone to watch. Any artist trying to be an agent of change should actively recognize all that comes with evolution. And Boza does this with a strong sense of self.