Nationality: Puerto Rico
You know when a car pulls up next to you at the traffic lights and it’s got nine South Americans inside it with the volume pumped up to eleven with some racket that the whole neighbourhood is being forced to share the displeasure of hearing? The same music that fellow travellers on public transport, instead of plugging their ipod into their ears and listening in quiet privacy, decide to play at full blast and intrude on everybody else’s private thoughts?
It’s reggaeton – the genre of underground rap that to the Anglo-Saxon’s ears is about as agreeable as our alternative rock is to the average Latino. It’s just a question of different tastes. And when it comes to raggaeton, there are few bigger names in the biz than Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez, AKA Daddy Yankee. The multiple award winning ‘El Cangi’ was one of the pioneers of the whole scene, and his El Cartel: The Big Boss was the biggest selling Latin record of 2007, and was followed by the biggest concerts ever in both Ecuador and Bolivia.
Many would say that this was the man who popularised the genre. Barrio Fino is arguably THE definitive reggaeton album, and the tracks Gasolina and Lo Que Pasó, Pasó are anthems that can be sung back to front anywhere from Miami to Lima, and that you’ve surely heard yourself at some point, now matter how little you enjoy try to avoid places that play reggaeton. Others might accuse this gentleman of being a commercial sellout after appearing in ads for anything from Reebok to Pepsi and Citroën.
The music may not be to most western tastes, but he’s actually one talented geezer, and his lyrics about the social realities in his country strike exactly the right chord among so many youths in the Spanish speaking world. In 2006, Harvard University even named him ‘Latino of the Year’, and he’s renowned for being a thoroughly pleasant guy, and an absolute pleasure to interview.
He’s here in Spain to promote his latest album, Prestige, on a tour of the same name, mainly to the thousands of worshipping Latin American fans he has here, and who will no doubt pack every single venue he goes to. The tour is expected to also include a date in Madrid, and there are also rumours of appearances in Zaragoza and Sevilla, but nothing has been made official yet.
Did you know: Daddy’s original dream was to be a baseball player, but a leg injury that means he still cannot walk properly prevented him from pursuing that dream.
Saturday May 5, 2012 Palma de Mallorca Velodromo Palma Arena
Friday May 4, 2012 Badalona Pavelló Olímpic de Badalona