11 Essential Records by Hispanic Performers You Should Own
Posted by House of Marley on Sep 9th 2022
From Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” to Bad Bunny’s “Me Porto Bonito,” there’s no shortage of Latin hits to enjoy. And let’s be honest—vinyl is the best way to experience the rich sound of mambo, salsa, Latin pop, cumbia and so much more. But with so many great records to choose from, which ones are worth adding to your collection?
Whether you prefer 50s-era mambo or modern reggaeton, we can help you find more of what you love. Keep reading to see our list of essential albums by Hispanic performers!
Santana — Abraxas
Released in 1970, Abraxas was Santana’s first album to hit the top of the US charts. The album carved a new space for Latin rock to flourish in the '70s.
From front to back, Abraxas is a wild ride. Guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana combines psychedelic rock, jazz, and blues with Afro-Cuban rhythms. In addition to "Oye Como Va" and "Sampa Pa Ti," we love their cover of "Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac
In 2012, Rolling Stone added Abraxas to their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Whether you love fusion music or want to experience something on the wild side, this is the record for you.
Selena — Amor Prohibido
Gone but not forgotten, Selena became an international superstar after releasing Amor Prohibido. Today, she’s recognized as the most influential and beloved artist in Latin music.
Amor Prohibido is a Tejano album that blends ranchera, cumbia, hip-hop and techno. The title track "Amor Prohibido" continued her endless streak of hit Latin singles. In 1995, the album went platinum and remains Selena’s most popular record.
Celia Cruz — Celia & Johnny
Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco released their collaborative album, Celia & Johnny, in 1974. The album gave a voice to Afro-Latinxs and established Cruz as "The Queen of Salsa."
Celia & Johnny features a vibrant mix of African energy, mambo, chachachá, son and rumba. Following a handful of live concerts with La Fania All-Stars in the mid ‘70s, Cruz and Pacheco
This is a classic record for music lovers who want to connect with traditional Latin styles. Pay a visit to your local record shop and browse the Latin bin to find this gem!
Gloria Estefan — Mi Tierra
Cuban-American artist Gloria Estefan pays homage to her roots on Mi Tierra. Produced by her husband, Emilio Estefan, Mi Tierra became an international hit and sold millions of copies worldwide.
Mi Tierra is a tender record inspired by Estefan’s homeland of Cuba. Throughout the record, you’ll hear a rich blend of Cuban-inspired tunes. Whether you’re new to the genre or prefer something traditional, you can't go wrong with Mi Tierra.
Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club took son, bolero and danzón music beyond the borders of Havana. According to project organizer Nick Gold, “Buena Vista was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We knew we’d made a special record but nobody could have imagined how it would take off.”
Buena Vista Social Club turned into an unexpected cultural phenomenon. Several Cuban-inspired bars and clubs opened after the album spread by word-of-mouth. The album also inspired the award-winning spinoff film, Buena Vista Social Club.
Listening to this record is like riding a time machine back to Cuba in the '50s. If you can't find this record at your local record store, check Discogs.com instead.
Linda Ronstadt — ‘Canciones de mi Padre’
Linda Ronstadt has several great albums to choose from, but Canciones de mi Padre is perfect all around. The canciones (or songs) are a reflection of Ronstadt's family traditions and musical upbringing.
Canciones de Mi Padre became a global smash hit in 1987. The album features three well-known Mariachi bands: Mariachi Vargas, Mariachi Los Camperos and Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey. Together, they helped Ronstadt paint each traditional song in an authentic way.
You’ll find plenty of excellent tracks on this record, but we especially enjoy “Por Un Amor” and “La Cigarra.”
Sheila E. — The Glamorous Life
Sheila E. fell in love with music when she was five years old—and she’s been following the beat of her own drum ever since. She released her debut album The Glamorous Life in 1984, marking the beginning of her long career.
The Glamorous Life merges electro-pop, funk, dance and Sheila E’s rhythmic prowess. Though this record has a shorter tracklist than most, each song is a fun listen. If you manage to find a copy, be sure to check out her title track, “The Glamorous Life.” Prince recorded background vocals on the song and featured the demo on his Originals album.
Grupo Fantasma — Sonidos Gold
Grupo Fantasma is a nine-piece funk Latin orchestra that specializes in Latin funk. To feel what they're all about, grab a copy of Sonidos Gold, and follow the beat that travels to stages worldwide.
From funk and salsa to reggae and cumbia, it almost seems like there isn’t a genre that Grupo Fantasma hasn’t touched. Every beat—whether from a conga or a drum kit— creates a lively groove that you can feel in your chest.
But Group Fantasma shines on stage too. The group has performed at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, North Sea Jazz Festival (Curacao and Rotterdam), Lowlands in the Netherlands, Montreal Jazz Festival, Tempo Latino (France) and more.
We recommend the tracks “Cumbia De Los Pajaritos,” “Gimmie Some” and “Arroz Con Frijoles.”
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela’s dueling flamenco guitar riffs have captivated listeners for decades. In 2006, the Grammy award-winning duo released Rodrigo y Gabriela and became international stars.
The bond shared between Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero was there from day one. Over the years, they’ve forged a tight musical alliance that has taken them to stages all across the globe.
This album is great when you’re studying, cooking, working or having an impromptu dance party. Whether you’re listening to “Tamacún” or their cover of “Stairway to Heaven,” you’ll be glad to have this album on vinyl.
Bad Bunny — X 100PRE
Bad Bunny continues to climb the ladder with every music milestone he reaches. His debut album, X 100PRE, climbed to the top of Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart, earning him a well-deserved spot in the Latin rap scene.
When X 100PRE dropped in 2018, Bad Bunny became an instant hit. Bad Bunny steers away from the masculine image that’s constantly recycled in the rap industry. And rather than rapping in English to cater to a wider audience, Bad Bunny records and performs all of his songs in Spanish.
A few of our favorites from the album include “NI BIEN MI MAL,” “Tenemos Que Hablar” and “Solo De Mi.” If you can find this one at your local record store, grab it!
C. Tangana — El Madrileño
Spanish rapper C. Tangana released El Madrileño in 2021, shortly after the pandemic. He changed his creative approach after collaborating with several Latin music icons. Working with artists like Eliades Ochoa gave him the confidence to ignore the trends.
He told Rolling Stone, “Surely I was afraid, but I ignored it and was fully convinced that it would be a success, so I went with it…Luckily, everything lined up and it has been the best decision I could have ever made in my career.”
From rich Latin rhythm to smooth vocal hooks, El Madrileño has a wide variety of Latin music flavors.
Bonus Track: Maluma - “Tonika” featuring Ziggy Marley
The history of reggae shows how Jamaican styles influenced other music genres. Today, we hear examples like "Tonkia" by Maluma. He also invited Ziggy Marley—son of Bob Marley—to put a reggae-inspired spin on the track.
You’ll also hear reggatón in the mix—the perfect combination when you want to hear something bright and upbeat!
Stir It Up with House of Marley
Head to your local record shop, or check Discogs.com, for some of these essential Hispanic albums. When you’re ready to experience a better listening experience, shop House of Marley Stir It Up Turntables and our premium Bluetooth speakers.