The hybrid music known as merenrap, merenhouse, or Latin house was formed in the 1980s by Puerto Rican's in New York city. Lisa M is created for mixing merengue with rap in her second album debuting in 1990. Latin house combines house music, rap, Latin rhythms and Caribbean music.
Dominican Merengue music can be considered an expression of Dominican transnationalism, as there was a significant shift in migration of Dominicans to New York City in the twentieth century. It is not surprising that merenhouse, a musical hybrid, was popular to a generation of bicultural youth growing up in New York City with Dominican roots that combined both aspects of their culture. Merenhouse is a symbol of national identity to Dominican Americans, easily identified by a euphoric sound.
NYC and Dominicans in the twentieth century
The early 1990s saw a huge increase in immigration to the US from the Dominican Republic due largely to the greatly deteriorating economic situation of the Dominican Republic in the 1980s and early 1990s. New York City saw the bulk of this initial Dominican population growth, and once those first Dominican immigrates got settled in, New York City became the hub of Dominican culture in the US. "By 1990, an estimated 900,000 Dominicans—12 percent of the country’s population—lived in New York City alone". Dominicans also "tend to be more concentrated residing exclusively in barrios or ghettos like Washington Heights-Inwood, home to 59% of Dominicans registered by the INS". This potent concentration of Dominicans all in one place allowed them to bring in their own culture while they assimilated into the melting pot of cultures found in New York City. Merengue is one example of the many pieces of Dominican culture brought during this period of immigration, which was a key element to the creation of Merenhouse.
Lisa M is the first major female latin rapper. The song "Tu Pum-Pum" in her second album "No Lo Derrumbes" is the first merenrap song. The album was released in 1990.
Fulanito is a Merenhouse group from the Dominican Republic. They have received acclaim from being one of the first groups to combine Merengue and House music, selling around 2 million albums around the world.
Proyecto Uno is a Dominican-American merenrap group which helped popularize a musical style that blends Merengue with rap, techno, dancehall reggae, and hip hop. The group won Billboard Latin Music Awards, Premios Los Nuestro, and an Emmy Award.
Ilegales (also called Los Ilegales) is a Grammy-nominated Dominican Merenhouse trio. They reached the Billboard Tropical charts and were nominated for a Latin Grammy award for "Best Pop Album".
Dark Latin Groove (or DLG) is a salsa band that mixes salsa, reggae, reggaeton, and hip hop. The group was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Tropical Album" and Premio Los Nuestro award for "Best Tropical Group".
- Sellers, Julie A. (October 2004). Merengue and Dominican identity: music as national unifier. McFarland. pp. 175–184. ISBN 978-0-7864-1815-2.
- Austerlitz, Paul. Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 1997. Print.
- Reynoso, Julissa. "Dominican Immigrants and Social Capital in New York City: A Case Study". Encrucijada (2003). Dartmouth College Library Publishing Project. Web. 25 April 2011. .