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Daddy Yankee: the musician who put “Gasolina” into reggaeton, made history with “Despacito” and now retires

daddy yankee he’s used to making his audience scream for joy, but his latest announcement left them speechless. And it is that the Puerto Rican singer announced his retirement on March 20 in a video where the author of “Gasolina” seemed to indicate that he was running out of fuel after more than three decades of career and that from now on he wanted to enjoy a rhythm of life more “slowly”.

“”, affirmed Ramón Ayala Rodríguez, real name of the musician. “Now I am going to enjoy with all of you what you have given me, what you have given me.”

But true to form, Daddy Yankee will not quietly turn off the microphone, but rather on stage on a world tour, the appropriately named “La Última Vuelta World Tour”,

In addition, ‘El Jefe’ also announced the release of his latest album, his first in a decade, entitled “Legendaddy”, which he has promised will be the best of his career. “I’m going to give you all the styles that have defined me in one album. ‘Legendaddy’ is fighting, it’s partying, it’s war, it’s romance”, pointed out the singer.

During his farewell message, the so-called “king of reggaeton” also referred to the impact he had in popularizing this musical genre and expressed his appreciation to his millions of followers for their support over the years.

This genre, people say that I made it worldwide, “, he claimed.

Ramón Ayala was born on February 3, 1977 in Río Piedras, a district of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan. Of humble origins, the future artist spent his childhood in Villa Kennedy, a residential complex located in the populous Barrio Obrero, located southeast of the metropolis.

Daddy Yankee’s childhood coincided with the popularization of urban rhythms on the island, and when he was 13 years old he fell in love with rap, a genre that he began to interpret. But despite the undoubted impact he had on the world of music, a sport he had practiced since he was a child. It was also during this discipline that he had his first brush with violence, when at the age of six he saw how his coach was killed in the middle of the field of play.

I have that memory in my head. Since he was a little boy, I was in shock, because he was my coach”, revealed in an interview with MTV in 2006. “Then I went to his funeral and seeing my coach there… I couldn’t sleep those days. It was hard because for a child a coach represents a role model, do you understand me? And you don’t understand what really happened until you reach a certain age.”

Another incident of violence changed the course of his life, when at the age of 16 he was shot by an AK-47 when he was resting with his friends after a musical session with his mentor DJ Playero (Pedro Gerardo Torruellas), another crucial figure in the popularization of reggaeton in its beginnings. The bullet, which hit him in the hip, required more than a year of rehabilitation,

He had tried out for the Seattle Mariners”, he told MTV. “And (then) I was shot. I went to the hospital and thought, ‘How am I going to survive now?’ Because they were going to sign me. Officially, they were going to sign me. Everyone saw my potential. And suddenly: a bullet. Boom. It can turn your life around”.

The shooting forced Daddy Yankee to focus only on music. “ That bullet made me focus on the music, because I had no other choice: it was the music or the music, you know? I was very determined not to fail, and that attitude led me to this point”, he added.

More focused than ever, Daddy Yankee released his first single entitled “So’ Persigueme, No Te Detengas” together with DJ Playero in 1994 and a year later he released “No Mercy”, his first solo album. Although his first works did not have a major impact on the music industry-and there was even an attempt to ban reggaeton by the government for its immoral language-they served to establish that peculiar mix of hip hop, dancehall, dembow and more that

During the following years Yankee continued with his musical work, collaborating with various artists and well-known Puerto Rican artists. These songs were later compiled into two albums entitled “El Cartel de Yankee” (1997) and “El Cartel de Yankee II” (2001).

At that time, Daddy Yankee took under his tutelage the young singer Nicky Jam, with whom he established the duo Los Cangris, with whom he collaborated on successful songs such as “Guayando” and “En la Cama”.

The collaboration between the artists crystallized in 2002 with the album “El”, Daddy Yankee’s first to achieve recognition outside of Puerto Rico and where Nicky Jam collaborated on two songs. But the association between the musicians began to show problems, in particular due to Nicky’s drug abuse;

The real rise to fame came for Daddy Yankee with the release of his third studio album “Barrio Fino” in 2004, an album where the artist combined his love for various genres outside of reggaeton, such as salsa and blues, among others. , with songs remembered until today such as “No Me Dejes Solo” and “Lo Que Pasó, Pasó”.

But the outstanding single from the album was without a doubt “Gasolina”, a frenetic song composed by Daddy Yankee and his colleague Eddie Dee where the Puerto Rican artist -accompanied by a choir of women- describes a girl who “likes gasoline”, a Puerto Rican expression to describe those who like to live life “riding around in sumptuous cars”.

The popularity of “Gasolina” changed everything for Daddy Yankee and reggaeton, turning the former into a world-renowned artist and opening up space for the genre to develop in the international market. His accomplishments include—trophy he lost to Alejandro Sanz and “Tú no tiene alma”—and getting a remix by established rappers like Pitbull, Lil Jon, and NORE.

Continuing with this momentum, in 2005 he released “Barrio Fino en Directo”, a live version and also a sequel to the previous album in which he added five more songs, of which the popularity of the song “Rompe” serves to strengthen the position of Daddy Yankee as the greatest representative of reggaeton on the planet.

On top of the world, Daddy Yankee knew how to take advantage of his fame to broaden his horizons. In his 2007 album “El Cartel: The Big Boss”, he collaborates with several American artists such as Scott Storch, Akon, Fergie and of the Black-Eyed Peas, among others.

In 2008, he also tried to enter Hollywood, starring in the semi-biographical film “Talento de Barrio”, based on his life. And while the feature film was not well received,

Two years later, Daddy Yankee released the studio album “Mundial”, an album in which he included “Grito Mundial”, a song that almost became the theme of the 2010 South Africa World Cup. His sixth album, “Prestige”, was released in 2012, postponed from its initial date by six months after a hurricane hit the singer’s studio in Puerto Rico.

After the release of these albums, Yankee continued his collaborations with other artists of the genre and achieved success, going out with the latter in a series of concerts called The Kingdom Tour, where they disputed the title of ‘king of reggaeton’. But the collaboration that changed Daddy Yankee’s career again occurred in 2017, when the romantic singer Luis Fonsi wanted to venture into reggaeton and called him to collaborate on a song called “Despacito.”

Composed by Fonsi, Yankee and composer Erika Ender, “Despacito” is a mixture of Latin pop and reggaeton where the sexual relationship between the narrator and the object of his affection is narrated, described in a romantic way unlike other examples of the gender. . The song also triumphed at the Latin Grammys, where it won four awards, including song of the year.

Another indicator of its success occurred on the networks, where “Despacito” became the most viewed video on YouTube in 2020, a throne that it lost months later to the children’s song “Baby Shark”.

On the impact of the theme on her career, Daddy Yankee stated that it changed her in every way. “Travel to countries that I had never been to, and see the world sing in my language, it is a blessing.”, he told Billboard in 2018.

Luis Fonsi (left) and Daddy Yankee (right) sing "Despacito" during the 2018 Grammy Awards. (Photo: Timothy A. CLARY / AFP)

Now as the world tries to recover from the retirement announcement, perhaps the ones who will miss him the most won’t be Big Boss’s legions of fans, but the musicians that Daddy Yankee inspired and helped break through in the genre.

Thus, current urban artists turned to social networks to thank the artist after the announcement of his retirement.

”, Puerto Rican rapper Rauw Alejandro wrote on his social networks. “The Big Boss, thanks for everything”, expressed the American singer and actress Becky G. Meanwhile, the Colombian artist J Balvin could only repeat one word: “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU”.

From left to right J Balvin, Ozuna, Daddy Yankee and Anuel AA sing together during the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards. (Photo: Eric Jamison/Invision/AP)

It is these, more than his countless awards, that the ‘king of reggaeton’, now on his way to retirement, said he appreciates the most.

I confess that it is the greatest treasure I can have in my career. I always worked not to fail them, not to ask for a problem, with a lot of discipline, to be able to inspire all the kids to be leaders. That they dream of growing, that they do not think about limitations and work for their family and theirs”, he stated in his farewell video. “”.

Source: Elcomercio

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