The Boss is Back: Daddy
Yankee Returns to his Roots
5/22/07 - LatinRapper.com
exclusive interview (en
español click aqui)
Daddy's back, with the
message that he's heading more towards his Hip Hop roots this
Ramón Ayala, better known to the world
as Daddy Yankee, is preparing for his June 5th release of
his latest album "El Cartel: The Big Boss" and readies
himself for a major U.S. tour kicking off this August.
While the Puerto Rican Grammy winner became a mainstream
music fixture thanks to "Gasolina", he's far from new to
the game, a studio fixture since the early 90's.A decade
of hard work paid off, and Yankee made his way from the
projects of San Juan to platinum record sales, a
syndicated radio show and a nod as one of the "100 Most
Influential" people by Time Magazine.
After a long night of
recording at Miami's Hit Factory studios, Daddy Yankee took
time out to speak with Latin Rapper about his upcoming album
and much more in our exclusive interview.
LatinRapper.com: You waited three years before recording a
new album, why the wait?
No, first I did the first "Barrio Fino" and then I did "Barrio
Fino en Directo" in 2005, and with all the tours I had
worldwide a year flew by. And having had to tour, then I could
say 2004, 2005 passed so I took 2006 to work on the album.
That's why, you understand, I took my time, because when I do
an album I don't like to rush it, you know, I don't like to
make music just to make music.
I like to create, to create new
music, revolutionary music, music that the Latino will like,
music that African-Americans will like, that the Europeans
will like. So every time I come out, its with revolutionized
music every race, everybody.
You recorded your first CD in 1995, but to most people in
the U.S., Barrio Fino was your first mainstream album. With
it's success, are you worried about the sophomore jinx?
Well there are many cases, for example Eminem's second album
was better received than his first, also Dr. Dre when he
released "The Chronic", you understand, and both are
considered classics. You can say that I have no fear of that,
I tackled that with "Barrio Fino En Directo". The people were
saying 'What's daddy yankee gonna do after dropping such a
great album?' and then I came out with a new song called "Rompe",
then "Gangsta Zone" featuring Snoop Dogg.
And then the people
started to realize that I could make music that was diverse
and I started to gain the respect of people all over the
world. 'Cause nowadays with the mentality of the people in the
industry, it's like, a lot of people are coming into the game
and making a hit. The people are quick to say 'Well that's
only one', but I've demonstrated that I can do it all despite
Tell me something about the new CD, El Cartel: The Big
Well "El Cartel" is gonna give the people a lot to talk about,
I have lots of musical styles mixed together, I have a lot of
hip hop on the record. My roots were in hip hop, I remember
that with [DJ] Playero, he was the one that supported me into
entering the world of reggaeton. That follows me, my roots are
hip hop, and a lot of people have not seen my style as an MC,
and with this record they'll have a chance to.
Besides that I
have dancehall, lots of reggaeton combined with hip hop, I got
Scott Storch doing reggaeton with me, also Will I AM, people
that are big in the world of hip hop. We're combining the
force and our creative minds to create a new sound, and that's
what I've created with my album El Cartel. Its very
revolutionary, music that's very different from everything
that's happening in the Latin industry.
You've said in interviews that you're changing your music,
also that reggaeton needs to change, so what's the difference
between your new CD and Barrio Fino?
With today the concept in mind, you know the transformation of
Daddy Yankee, the kid who started in the streets. Now the
transformation that that I've had in these past years from
being a young kid from the hood into the leader of a movement.
Well now I have to speak from the position I'm in, as a
leader, and talk about the different battles I've had in my
life to get to the point I'm at today.
In a lot of my songs
I'm talking about a transition that I've gone through from
when I first started until where I am today, that not
everything has been with a hit of good luck. That I've been
here, like you said, since 1995 working and planting the seed
that keeps growing little by little that I share with the
Who produced the beats on El Cartel?
I have WiLL.I.AM of the Black Eyed Peas, Scott Storch, I have
the Diaz Bros, I have reggaeton producer Neli, Tainy Tunes.
Producers from my company Eli "The Musicianist" and Menace.
They're with me, also D-Cell from Puerto Rico. I have a
combination of different producers so I can have new and
revolutionary music, something fresh for everybody's ears.
You've already recorded with Fergi and Akon, right? Who are
the other guest features?
Well from Puerto Rico I have Hector "El Father" with me, I
have Nicole from The Pussycat Dolls, and I'm working on two
special guests. But I haven't finished the album, so I don't
want to take the mask off Spider Man just yet, so that the
people have to anticipate what I'm bringing. But I have a lot
of really good guests on the album.
What's the first single?
The first single is called "Impacto", that will be hitting
radio this Thursday. There's a bad edited version out on the
internet so don't be fooled by it, that was taken by a pirate
that stole a version that was badly edited (laughs). But this
Thursday it'll be out there.
Have you already recorded the video?
The video we're going to do April 17th in Los Angeles. The
directors are Celine Projects.
What are you doing outside of music, with clothes, movies,
Reebok shoes, managing rappers in Puerto Rico?
We're doing everything, we're working with the sneaker line
that's doing really good, right now the people can go over to
rbkcustom.com and they can customize their Daddy Yankee
sneakers. It's the first time in history that Reebok has used
a celebrity to promote their custom sneakers, and I feel very
blessed that they picked a real Latino.
From all the diverse
talent and artists that Reebok has, they choose Daddy Yankee
to be the person to make history this time around with Reebok.
So go over to rbkcustom.com and customize your Daddy Yankee
sneakers however you want, put the colors to match whatever
style you want and they'll arrive at your house.
For el Cartel: The Big Boss, what's more important: a
Grammy or a Platinum album?
Well both are good, but the most important thing that a Grammy
and the sales can give you is the appreciation of the people.
That's the real prize of making music, that the people enjoy
what you do and it touches their heart, that's the real prize
of making music.
On the internet, people talk about your tira'era, or beef,
with Don Omar. But nobody really says anything about how it
started, can you explain the origin of the beef?
You'll hear about the origin of the beef with Don Omar on my
album El Cartel: The Big Boss, when you hear the album then
I've read on the web that you were shot in the leg when you
were 17. Tell us if you're worried about beef, that we'll see
a return of violence that affected 50 Cent, 2pac, Biggie.
In reality I don't worry about that 'cause I'm really sure
that all of those rappers that diss me aint gangsters
(laughs), you understand? I don't worry about none of them,
cause I know none of them are gangsters, and none of them are
gonna do anything to me cause they know I'm a boss.
In the U.S., rappers like 50 Cent, Game and Jim Jones
believe that beef can help CD sales. You're still beefing with
Don Omar, do you believe the same thing?
It helps him, but for me... I can sell my records without
having to diss him, but I do know it helps them, 'cause they
have to go after the guy who's on top.
In Puerto Rico you do a lot of charity work, tell me about
your Warrior Heart Foundation (Fundación Corazón Guerrero).
Well the Guerrero Heart Foundation, starting the foundation
this year we're helping the youth that nobody wants to help,
and now we're working with the prisons in Puerto Rico and the
youths who are getting out soon. We're going to enter them
into the program, teach them about computers and give them the
tenacity so that they're more prepared to face the society on
their own, you understand? So they don't return to the things
that they were doing before they got out, here we're giving
them an opportunity to be able to defend themselves against
You have anything else to say to the Daddy Yankee fans out
Well you already know, June 5th the album drops, the
revolution, the Big Boss! You're gonna hear good music, good
reggaeton, hip hop on another level like you've never heard
before from a Latino born and raised in a Latin country.
You're gonna hear the best of the best on behalf of Daddy
Yankee! Thanks for your support and God bless the world!
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