Daddy Yankee, a reggaeton ‘leyenda,’ retires

One of the largest figures in Latin music has decided to retire at the mature age of 45.

(AUDIO CLIP OF PAST RECORDING).

DADDY YANKEE: (Speaking in Spanish).

Hello, Felix. Felix Contreras, the presenter of NPR Music’s Alt.Latino podcast, is here to assist us in making sense of all of this. Departures in popular music can sometimes be ambiguous, but as you may be aware, Daddy Yankee, the renowned reggaeton artist, declared his retirement via a video shared on social media last week. Additionally, he recently revealed plans for a final tour and one ultimate album scheduled for later this year.

Hey, Ailsa. What’s going on?

Why is Daddy Yankee’s retirement in Latin music comparable to a seismic occurrence? Can you please provide some background for us, such as CHANG: (Laughter)?

In the late 1990s, reggaeton found its path to his homeland Puerto Rico as it departed from its origins in Panama, all thanks to Ramon Luis Ayala Rodriguez, who played a crucial role in introducing and advancing the genre. With billions of streams and clicks on platforms like streaming services and YouTube, it is important for people to acknowledge that reggaeton has the potential to become one of the most beloved genres of Latin music in history. I mean, it’s quite remarkable. CONTRERAS: Alright.

CHANG: Correct. And he had one of the initial breakout successes incorporating the reggaeton rhythm, correct?

Contreras broke through the mainstream Latin music scene with his infectious track “Gasolina,” which served as a rough underground expression for marginalized Puerto Ricans around the year 2004 and beyond.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GASOLINA”).

DADDY YANKEE: (Rapping in Spanish).

CHANG: I am already performing a dance, Felix.

Global also helped create a demand for reggaeton, and he became one of the most successful Latin pop music stars. Not only did he achieve millions of album sales in both digital and physical formats, but he also embarked on endless tours in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Throughout the 2000s and in 2017, Daddy Yankee’s career saw a steady climb with his own hit records and collaborations with other reggaeton superstars. Above all, his music is known for its killer dance groove, making it incredibly popular. That’s why CONTRERAS thinks so highly of him.

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Why did all these hit records happen between the early 2000s and 2017, and why did Daddy Yankee say that you were like them?

CONTRERAS: This occurred.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “DESPACITO”).

LUIS FONSI: (Singing in Español).

(LAUGHTER).

CHANG: The song that I will never grow weary of – never.

CONTRERAS: And a multitude of other individuals globally.

CHANG: Oh, my Goodness. I have devised numerous dance steps in my mind while listening to this song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “DESPACITO”).

FONSI: (Singing in Español).

It’s not just that it became one of the biggest selling and most viewed and streamed songs in any language, I mean. What they created was really like capturing lightning in a bottle, and he teamed up with pop balladeer Luis Fonsi and hardcore reggaetonero Daddy Yankee, who is crazy about this song’s success, you know: CONTRERAS.

CHANG: In every language.

That’s billion with a B. Furthermore, the YouTube views on that particular song have reached close to 8 billion. Additionally, I verified this information earlier this week in order to be well-prepared for our discussions. Most importantly, it revolutionized the notion of crossover because it marked the first occasion where the general market or the audience that does not speak Spanish embraced a Spanish song and elevated it to an anthem-like status. This was an extremely significant and transformative development. It can be considered as the most prominent phenomenon, regardless of the language it is in. CONTRERAS:

CHANG: (Laughter) Oh my goodness….

CONTRERAS: Right?

Has it begun to appear in other genres of music as well?

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Playing Latin rhythms with a band, covering Beatles music, is something I really enjoy. Sometimes, I even add a little bit of my own essence to it. It started off as just a small addition, but now it has become a significant part of the essence of the music. There’s a certain beat to it, almost like beatboxing. It adds a unique flavor, yes. Interestingly, CONTRERAS:

CHANG: You really do? Oh, my goodness.

CONTRERAS: And I even added a touch of reggaeton to one of our songs. Alright.

CHANG: That’s fantastic.

Take a look. “Chicken Teriyaki” is a track she possesses. Furthermore, she has released an exceptional new album. Rosalia, the Spanish singer from Spain, is exemplified by Contreras as one of the latest instances.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “CHICKEN TERIYAKI”).

ROSALIA: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: (Beatboxing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “CHICKEN TERIYAKI”).

ROSALIA: (Singing in Spanish).

CHANG: Yeah. I hear it. I mean, it sounds like reggaeton music to me.

It is going to become popular. Can you dance to it? It is similar – it is dancing. Does it date back as far as swing music in the 1940s, right? Above all, that appears to always have been one of the most prosperous aspects of genres, styles, trends, and so on – it is that rhythmic movement. I mean, it is that rhythmic movement, dude. CONTRERAS: Yes.

Change of cultural agent this kind became he, superstar mega a like just wasn’t Yankee Daddy saying you’re so OK. Totally. CHANG:

Singing that tune were adolescents all over, from France to Iowa. I imply, it was no more something unusual in a foreign dialect, because “Despacito” altered the record industry and furthermore how Latin music and culture was perceived worldwide. I imply, it’s difficult not to overemphasize exactly how deeply Contreras.

CHANG: Including a few Chinese ladies in New York City during that period.

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CONTRERAS: Yes (laughter).

This puts my life accomplishments in perspective now. I am older than him. All of this happened before I turned 45 years old and became a Yankee Daddy. Woo-hoo: CHANG.

CONTRERAS: Please provide me with more information about it.

CHANG: So what does retirement signify for a person like Daddy Yankee?

CONTRERAS: Alright. He recently dropped his final record, titled “Legenddaddy.” Alright. Here’s a snippet of it.

(AUDIO CLIP OF SONG, “CHAMPION”).

DADDY YANKEE: (Singing in Spanish).

Right? Perspective his from perspective, things putting he’s mean, right? Career my in back (Unintelligible) legend a am I saying, he’s: CONTRERAS.

CHANG: Yeah.

The retirement of this guy might just change the meaning, you know what I mean. He has been involved in creating video games. He has created several philanthropic organizations. Instead of dealing with the pressure of a full album, maybe he wants to do a series of one-off shows with the trappings of a pop extravaganza, including stage stuff and dancers. Instead of starting a massive final tour later this year, maybe he wants to release a string of singles. I mean, he’s going to do whatever he wants, I guess. He hasn’t said much beyond that, but he’s also set to start a massive final tour this year: CONTRERAS.

CHANG: Absolutely. Well, he has the freedom to do as he pleases.

CONTRERAS: Exactly.

CHANG: Felix Contreras is the presenter of the Alt.Latino podcast from NPR Music. Thank you very much, Felix.

CONTRERAS: Many thanks. Many thanks.

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