"Prestige" Album Review
Review Date: September 9,
2012 1:10 PM ET
Release date: September 11,
2012 [Sony Music]
Review by Compay for
For many urban music
artists, staying consistent can be a challenge. Artists must
balance a gradual evolution of their music with the ability to
continue offering quality albums to fans.
In the case of Prestige,
the sixth studio album by Daddy Yankee, Ramon Ayala proves
that once again he's discovered that balance.
Prestige is a 19-track effort that actually manages to
outshine Yankee's previous album, Mundial. From the beats to
the overall hit-quality, Prestige is inarguably Daddy Yankee's
best work since his 2007 project El Cartel: The Big Boss.
In order to please fans
both old and new, Prestige has an interesting balance
with respect to the choices in beats. Roughly half of the songs on the
album incorporate reggaeton's signature dembow beat, with the
remainder sticking to mostly electronic and pop sounds.
When it comes to traditional reggaeton production, Yankee
doesn't stray far from the beats that made him a household
name amongst Latinos.
Prestige makes a departure
from the beats on previous Yankee albums with the inclusion of
"Mambo Electronico" production. His third single "Pasarela"
serves as a prime example, with horns and heavy bass lines
in a fusion of upbeat Merengue and synthesized electronic
Songs such as "Switchea"
and "Lose Control" both ride the rising wave of dubstep
popularity to interesting effect, as very few Latin artists
have yet to embrace the London-born electronic sound. But
don't expect this album to remain in uncharted territory for
long. There are more than a few songs with the requisite pop
vibe, including the
extremely-catchy "Limbo" as well as his soca-infused second
Old school Yankee fans: have
no fear. Prestige still has something to offer you. "La Calle
Moderna" is straight up head-nodding rap over a booming bass
line, and "Po Encima" is unapologetically perreo to the bone.
Fans unaccustomed to
hearing Yankee rhyme in English should enjoy "Lose Control,"
which features relatively obscure pop singer Emelee.
Yankee strays out of his comfort zone to drop bars in English,
but still manages to ride the radio-friendly pop beat well.
There are a number of
guest features on Prestige, although the use of autotune for
hooks by Farruko and J Alvarez seemed unnecessary.
In "After Party" De La Ghetto and Yankee exchange rapid-fire
verses, while more laid-back features include reggaetonero
Randy Ortiz, Spanish pop singer Natalia Jimenez, and dimpled
Bachata crooner Prince Royce.
One of the standout songs
on Prestige is "Llegamos a la Disco," a seven-plus minute
posse cut featuring Alex Kyza, Arcangel, De la Ghetto, Farruko,
Kendo Kaponi, Ñengo Flow, and Baby Rasta & Gringo. Each
artist lends their own vibe to this dembow beat
dripping with synths, yet the track is highlighted by Alex Kyza
his trademark Spanglish flow.
One of the biggest
surprises of Prestige occurs when Yankee sports an
Eminem-style flow on
the dark and introspective "6 de Enero." Ramon reflects
on the dangers of street life, and how his present success is
nothing less than a blessing after his past misfortunes.
Interestingly enough, Yankee doesn't try to score points by
totally revealing the song's significance.
To fans in the know, Daddy
Yankee was shot on January 6 nearly a decade ago, while taking
a break from a recording session. It took a year of
hospitalization and wheelchair use before he recovered, and
began to focus his life on music. To this day, the bullet was never removed from
Yankee's hip, yet "6 de Enero" seems to satisfy as a
cathartic experience for the rapper hailing from Villa Kennedy
Overall, Prestige is a
solid effort. Enough pop and electronic music to generate radio
spins, but enough rap and reggaeton to cater to Yankee's older
fans. With the inclusion of beats that incorporate Merengue,
Soca, and dubstep, this also makes Prestige one of the more
sonically diverse albums of Yankee's career. It's a positive chapter in Yankee's evolution as a
music artist, and definitely worth checking out for Spanish
on a past review below to read more