While listening to this reggaeton song, I was wondering if there is a specific name for such a beat, like western techno songs typical have a 4/4 beat.

  • If you mean time signature (which is what 4/4 is) - I think that song could also be 4/4..?
    – user16
    Apr 26, 2015 at 22:36
  • @topomorto I think asker is referring to the percussion sequence and rhythm, nor the time signature. Like the kick-hat-snare-hat-kick-hat-snare-hat in dance music. Listen to the linked song at around 1:55. That percussion rhythm is used in like 90% of reggaeton songs.
    – NPN328
    Apr 27, 2015 at 1:41

3 Answers 3


4/4 isn't really a specific name for a beat - it's a time signature that can apply to quite a range of rhythms, including most techno, rock, and reggae beats (Four-to-the-floor is a slightly more specific term that is often used for techno, meaning that the bass drum is hit on each measure).

For most dance genres, the name of the genre is also an appropriate name for the rhythm, so you can just call it the "reggaeton rhythm". Another name that would be appropriate for many reggaeton songs' backings would be the "dembow" rhythm, named after the riddim used originally used for Gregory Peck's Poco Man Jam, but popularised by Shabba Ranks' song Dembow, and widely credited as being the rhythmic foundation of the reggaeton genre.


As @User16 noted, the characteristic stuttering heartbeat rhythm of Reggaeton is called dembow, after the song that initially popularized it, Shabba Ranks' (infamously homophobic) reggae dancehall hit Dem Bow.

Dembow, also called dembo, has become a very popular and influential rhythm around the world. It has even made its way into mainstream American pop hits such as Justin Bieber's "Sorry."


The common 3-over-4 rhythm that backs reggaeton (more precisely a 3/8+3/8+2/8 laid over a 2/4 bass beat) can be referred to as dembow, but that term refers more to an entire musical style. The rhythm itself is the first measure of a common 2-measure Afro-cuban clave pattern.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.