The genre began in 2009 when DJ Dave Nada, performing for a basement party crowd that wasn’t particularly into house music, slowed down Afrojack’s Dutch house remix of “Moombah” from 128 to 108 bpm. The crowd allegedly went nuts, and moombahton was born. An early hashtag genre, moombahton spread quickly across SoundCloud. It wasn’t long before DJs everywhere were cranking out 108 bpm bangers with the same sounds, sirens and samples.
Dutch house is by far moombahton’s main influence, along with reggaeton sounds and rhythms working together to create a pulsating drive, often with a distinctive summer feel.
Thick, spread-out bass lines, quick drum fills, dramatic builds and a two-step pulse are all defining attributes of moombahton.
Dave Nada – “Moombahton”
Washington DC, 2009
Dave Nada slows down Afrojack’s remix of Silvio Ecomo & Chuckie’s “Moombah” to 108 BMP, and new genre is born.
Diplo & GTA – “Boy Oh Boy”
Diplo & GTA give a masterclass in converting Dutch house to moombahton with “Boy Oh Boy” starting at 129 bpm and ending at 108.
Major Lazer – “Light It Up”
Major Lazer (Diplo, Walshy Fire and Ape Drums) put out this bumping tune long after the initial blaze of moombahton had subsided. “Light it up” features soulful autotuned vocals, island overtones, trademark build-ups and a great mid-tempo drop.
Dillon Francis & Skrillex – “Bun Up the Dance”
Los Angeles, 2015
“Burn up the Dance” by Skrillex and Dillon Francis was a big part of the moombahton revival and features one of the thickest bass lines ever to come out of a drop. Tack on the clipped vocals and trademark siren and you’ve all the essential elements for a sexy mid-tempo barnburner.
Tropkillaz – “Que Passa Amigo”
Brazilian duo Tropkillaz consider their music to be a blend of trap, bass and electro with Latin samples. But the very familiar Moombahton beat and vibe in their track “Que passa amigo” shows how deeply the genre had implanted itself in EDM culture.