Daddy Yankee's Barrio Fino album symbolizes a generation of innovation and Caribbean connection. In its 15-year Anniversary, the rapero was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at last nights Lo Nuestro Awards. The album is one of the most important projects to come out of Puerto Rico and the reggaeton genre, it also had many iconic moments. here are four.
Reggaetonero pioneer Daddy Yankee was honored with the lifetime achievement award last night at Premios Lo Nuestro. Joining the stage with the Puerto Rican mogul was de la ghetto, Ozuna, Yandel, J Balvin and Zion y Lennox. Celebrating his 2005 Barrio Fino album’s 15-year anniversary, he performed songs like “Lo Que Paso Paso” and “Gasolina.”
The 42-year-old artist, whose real name is Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez, once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. But his destiny shifted one day after recording with reggaetón godfather DJ Playero. Stepping out, he was hit by a bullet in his hip, which caused him to focus solely on music during the year he was recuperating.
Known as one of the most important records in reggaetón history, Barrio Fino transcended barriers, genres and languages. The iconic album went on to become platinum and was listed in Billboard’s “50 Greatest Latin American Albums of the Past 50 Years” in 2015.
1. THE SINGLE THAT STARTED IT ALL
When speaking of the album’s defining moments, it makes sense to start off with the song that put reggaetón on the international map. Co-written by Eddie D with vocals by reggaetonera Glory, “Gasolina” had an innovative sound that was different from what fans of the genre were used to — a sound that many people weren’t feeling, at first.
The song, to Yankee’s surprise, attracted fans not only in the Caribbean and the rest of Latin America but also around the world, hitting charts in Germany, Sweden, Australia and the Czech Republic to name a few. In an interview with Sway for MTV’s RAW, the singer shared: “I never thought “Gasolina” would accomplish that goal. You make music just for making music without making any goals. You put your soul in the music and that’s it.”
2. THE YEAR OF ICONIC PERFORMANCES
Voted as the best moment of the 2005 Lo Nuestro awards by fans, Yankee came down from the roof of the American Airlines Arena in Miami in a red Lamborghini before he sang “Gasolina.” This was the same year the album snagged Urban Album of the Year. The entrance was legendary, but it was the fresh new sound that blazed on stage in the Univision-produced show that really made it memorable.
The reggaetonero performed the track the same year at the 2005 MTV VMAs. Alongside heavy hitters Don Omar and Tego Calderon, they lit the stadium up with reggaetón. Presented by Fat Joe, this performance was a proud moment for Latin America but specifically Latinx in the states.
3. BARRIO FINO GETS POLITICAL WITH “CORAZONES”
The sub-genre with Jamaican and hip-hop roots wasn’t received nicely in its early years. Many politicians went hard against the artists for their explicit lyrics and aggressively street overall culture. In Yankee’s track “Corazones” the rapper addresses Puerto Rican politicians saying: “If it was up to the government rappers would not exist they will throw us into the dungeon and give us the death penalty.”
He then proceeds to speak out on the lack of resources and focus on education in low-income communities. He continues “But I know it’s a lost dream, like seeing all 3 political parties united fighting for the good of Puerto Rico. They do not see that residential education is mediocre, that they need more teachers to need materials, to create more leaders and less criminals.”
4. WHEN THE ALBUM OFFICIALLY CROSSED OVER
“Gasolina” quickly crossed over to the American market and the song no doubt introduced the sound to the rest of the world. The song became synonymous with Latinidad and many non-Latinx DJ’s that were familiar with it. The song permeated U.S. pop culture in many movie soundtracks including Fast and Furious 4 and Benchwarmers. The irony in Benchwarmers is that Daddy Yankee originally wanted to be a baseball player, the song played in the background as a Dominican baseball player makes a home-run while waiving the Dominican flag integrating the athlete’s background, Latinidad and the song.