El Cangri talks with Peopleenespanol.com about his rivalry with the reggaeton singer and offers up details about his recent health problems

Por Ernesto Sánchez / NYC
Updated Junio 20, 2007
Credit: getty images

On Friday, June 8th, a piece of bad news gave Daddy Yankee fans quite a scare: the singer had lost consciousness and had been taken to an emergency room.

“I didn't faint, but I just about did. I was in bad shape. I had no energy, I couldn't move, all my bones ached,” he told Peopleenespanol.com.

An acute viral syndrome and dehydration, topped by physical exhaustion, led El Cangri, 30, to such a state.

“It was excess of work. My immune system was down. The last three years have been non-stop, without any breaks. I don't take any vacations. It's been work, work, work all the time. And there are some things you have to make a priority in life. And I was forced to learn the most important thing: I have to take care of myself,” he said.

His voice, on the phone from Los Angeles, sounds strong. He has already rested for a week, as the doctor ordered, and Raymond [his real name] says that the most gratifying thing after the scare was that just one week after its launching, his The Big Boss: El Cartel CD reached the top of the Latin Billboard sales charts and number nine overall in the U.S.

“Numbers don't lie,” he responds when asked about the genres he mixes in his new album, where pure reggaeton is no longer predominant. “If it's number one, it's because it was well received. Daddy Yankee doesn't limit himself in music. He always brings something new. I always look for a void. Now I mix different elements because I'm a guy who travels the world and I welcome its influences and then apply them to my urban roots.”

But not everything is sailing smoothly for the reggaetón artist turned icon with his hit “Gasolina.” That fateful weekend he fell ill, El Cangri was scheduled to perform at a Shea Stadium concert in New York, next to his singing rival, Don Omar. Yankee's detractors accused him of “trying to hide”.

El Jefe, as he is also known, answers with confidence when asked about his rivalry with Don Omar: “I don't pay attention to any of that. It's as if he didn't exist, quite frankly.”

Asked whether he thought that when Don Omar himself or his followers have challenged him it has been to sell more CDs he responds: “Honestly, it's something that he needs to do. That's how I see it. My CD came out, it's number one, and thanks to my fans, we continue to conquer the whole world.”

And he will try to do so in yet another way. His first film as an actor, Talento de Barrio, premieres in October. In it, he will portray a gang member who falls in love with a woman, leading to problems among his “brothers,” all the while he tries to make it as a reggaetón singer.

But the film has nothing to do with his career nor Eminem's 8 Mile: “This is not a Daddy Yankee autobiography, but it is real because it mirrors barrio life: loyalty, rivalries, treason, love, hope. It's a raw film. I have seen many Latin movies, but this is the first time we show what the barrio is all about.”

Yankee, who says the reason we haven't seen pictures of his wife and children is because he is very protective of his private life, wraps up the conversation talking once again about his improved health. The only thing he regrets about the situation is having missed the Puerto Rican Pride Parade.

“But I'll see you there next year, God willing. Expect the best from me. I'll be at Madison Square Garden in September,” El Cangri promises. “All this was a life lesson: In my position, I think a lot about giving the best of myself at all times. But quite frankly, you must also think about yourself and your health. So my priorities have changed. You know? I'm going to learn to give myself some time off. I have to relax and reflect…” Amen to that.