Nuevo Culture

Cris MJ

Cris MJ’s Role in Taking Chile’s Reggaetón Scene Global

Cris MJ’s love for reggaetón came from his parents. “I didn’t watch cartoons growing up, I watched reggaetón music videos,” he told, admitting that at eight years old, he would imitate urban artists at school talent shows. Inspired by old-school reggaetón acts like Daddy Yankee, Jory, and Ñengo Flow, as well as American trap artists Travis Scott, Drake, and Lil Baby, the emerging Chilean artist decided to teach himself how to make music. He began by recording music videos on his iPhone and uploading songs to DistroKid. “It was tough for a reggaetón artist to get support here,” he explains, especially in his hometown of La Serena on Chile’s coast. Nevertheless, he aimed to make a name for himself by posting Spanish covers of some of his favorite English rap and trap songs on social media.

At one point, Cris—who spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart with his FloyyMenor-assisted hit “Gata Only”—fell into depression and nearly quit music. He doubted his project because of negative comments he heard on the streets.

His breakthrough came in 2020 when he moved to Santiago and released his first official single, “Como Tú Ninguna”, a catchy urban-mambo track that put him on the local map. “I like doing all styles of music, but I especially like beats that feel futuristic or that I can vibe with,” he says.

However, the song that truly opened doors for him was “Una Noche en Medellín” in 2022, a lively perreo that highlights the vibrant Colombian nightlife. After going viral on TikTok, it caught the attention of Karol G, who jumped on the remix, invited fellow Colombian Ryan Castro to join, and included it on her Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season) album. The powerful collaboration, which Karol and Cris first performed together at the 2023 Viña del Mar festival, earned the Chilean act his first entry on the Hot 100, debuting at No. 68 last August.

Following his debut albums Welcome to My World (2022) and Partyson (2023), Cris continues to lead the Chilean reggaetón movement with “Gata Only.” Similar to “Medellín,” this catchy reggaetón track about pursuing an attractive girl climbed the charts after going viral on social media. The seven-week run at No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs marks the first time a Chilean artist has entered the top 10 since La Ley and Ednita Nazario’s “Tu Sabes Bien” peaked at No. 8 in 1999. Before that, it was Myriam Hernández’s “Huele a Peligro,” which reached No. 5 in 1998.

“This is very important for us. It’s a pride for all Latinos to be on that chart,” Cris told Billboard in a previous interview. “Before we released the song, I knew it was going to be a global hit. I’m proud because it’s not only helping my career but also my colleagues’.”

Currently, Cris is promoting his latest track, “Si No Es Contigo.” Learn more about this month’s Latin Artist on the Rise below.