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Daddy Yankee "Prestige" Album Review

Review Date: September 9, 2012 1:10 PM ET

Release date: September 11, 2012 [Sony Music]

Review by Compay for LatinRapper.com

 

Daddy Yankee Prestige Album Review

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 meeting in a fusion of upbeat Merengue and synthesized electronic music.

 

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 single "Lovumba."

 

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 decent 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 with 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 Projects.

 

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 rap fans. 

 

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