DY Controlando El Género: Daddy Yankee, El Jefe of the Urban Latino Sound

*Article published in Kesta Happening Magazine in the May 2013 edition*

It doesn’t matter if you know his as El Cangri or The Big Boss, the truth is this: You have bopped your head, swayed your hips and gotten down low with at least one of his songs and had an awesome time doing it.  Puerto Rican reggaetton sensation Daddy Yankee will be performing live and uncensored on Friday, May 31 at the Coco Cabana right here in Maryland.  Are you in? Here at Kesta, ¡estamos ready pa’ montarla la noche entera!

From his humble beginnings and hard knocks growing up in one of the most dangerous and cutthroat projects in Puerto Rico, Raymond Ayala, (Daddy Yankee), built his career from the ground up by selling his mixtapes right out the trunk of his car.  Yankee created a name for himself and gained respect and recognition from the then “underground” movement by battling it out on the streets with other local MC’s, killing it with his wit, his rhymes and his aggressive style.  Underground was the precursor to what we know today as reggaetton; it was a gritty, aggressive sound that spoke of the darker side of life in Puerto Rico with dembow beats as the backdrop for the stories spewed out by the MC’s.  In Puerto Rico, when someone is called a Yankee, it means they are big, that they are influential in what they do.  By paring Yankee with Daddy, Raymond Ayala was making a bold statement: Daddy Yankee had arrived and was here to school you, “llegó tu Daddy.”

Daddy Yankee has come a long way; he has changed and matured into a more “radio friendly” artist from how we knew him back in the day.  Seguroski, La Combi and Me Quedo are songs that made him a standout artist within the underground movement and brought the genre to light on the airwaves in Puerto Rico and South America.  From ElCangri.com, he collaborated on an extensive variety of albums and compilations and would always finish his rhymes by saying “Barrio Fino Coming Soon!”  What is Barrio Fino?  When is it coming out? Those were two questions we all kept asking time and time again.  It wasn’t until 2005 when it all changed with one album, the one we had all been waiting for.  Barrio Fino blew up to unexpected proportions, mainly because of the song Gasolina.  The track penned by Eddie Dee (an icon in the urban scene) catapulted Yankee to the mainstream audience and everyone from those at the disco to the supermarket were playing the track in heavy rotation and high volumes.  A todo el mundo le gustaba La Gasolina.  All nationalities, countries and age groups were singing along to La Gasolina, you couldn’t escape the song, it was impossible, even my grandma knew who Daddy Yankee was!

As his fame grew and his position on the charts got higher and higher, Daddy Yankee became a pioneer in bringing a new era to the underground sound and revolutionizing it to what we know today as Reggaeton.  His follow up album to Barrio Fino, was El Cartel: The Big Boss, which served as the soundtrack to his biopic Talento de Barrio, the first movie of this kind to be shown in movie theatres across the entire island of Puerto Rico and have amazing ticket sales.  But that wasn’t the end of Yankee, his career continued to grow and his new sound was featured on his album Mundial which featured the standout sensation La Despedia.  This song became a YouTube sensation with over 32 million views and dozens of parodies.  Daddy Yankee was everywhere and on top of his game.

Evolving from underground to reggaeton was his past. Now, Yankee is taking us to a new phase with his “electro-urbano” sound, a blend of electronic music, reggaeton and Caribbean heavy beats. Perfect for dancing the night away or burning some major calories with your local Zumba crew, Daddy Yankee is touring in support of his most recent album Prestige.  This is an album that brilliantly frames the current panorama of the Latino-Urbano movement by featuring a mesh of collaborations with artists from multiple genres like Prince Royce, Natalia Jimenez and Emelee.  Prestige is a unique album because it is almost a full throwback to a more aggressive, in-your-face Yankee but at the same time, it has that electro-urbano flair that makes you throw your cares away, put your arms in the air and darle duro hasta abajo on the dance floor.

When Daddy Yankee comes to town and rocks a stage your feet won’t stop moving, the temperatures will rise to scorching levels, la gozadera is a given and one thing is guaranteed: la música te va a seducir.  No te quedes en el Limbo, go to tickeri.com and get your tickets today!  Be ready for heavy dose of THE best quality reggaeton to arrive in the DMV this summer on Friday, May 31 at Coco Cabana.

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