Daddy Yankee goes eclectic on latest album 'Mundial,' due out in stores today

Daddy Yankee addresses the press during his worldwide album release launch in Puerto Rico on Monday.

The Beatles did it with “Revolver.” Madonna did it with “La isla bonita.” And Ricky Martin did it with “The Cup of Life.”
Others? Sting did it when he shared the mic with Cheb Mami on “Desert Rose.” Rubén Blades did it with
the release of his Latin Grammy-winning, “Mundo.” And Calle 13 did it with “Los de atrás vienen conmigo” just two years ago.
And the list goes on and on.
While these artists may have done it for different reasons, in the music world many successful artists are
inspired by, continuously reinvent themselves or simply explore other soundscapes outside their comfort zones to transcend generational, cultural barriers and remain relevant in an ever-changing world of online marketing and music-making production.
They also need to continue selling albums. And Raymond Ayala, aka Daddy Yankee, “The Big Boss,” “El
Cangri” and self-proclaimed “King of Reggaetón” is all about selling albums. Lots of them — more than 8 million worldwide to date, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
So with the worldwide release of his much-anticipated new studio set “Mundial” today, the Puerto Rican
reggaetón superstar joins a string of renowned Latin artists who in the past have bet on eclectic sounds hoping to turn out a best-selling album, or at least a popular one.
What sets “Mundial” apart, says Yankee, is the album's urban spin and catchy, European-styled danceable world rhythms fused with reggaetón/hip-hop.
“Through my world travels over the years, I've had the chance to learn about the lives and traditions of many cultures around the globe so the idea to make this concept album was born out of those experiences,” said “El Cangri” during a press conference held on Monday at a Condado hotel to announce the album's release, which comes after a two-year absence from the recording studio.
“But the challenge was how to make a 'global' album with an urban flavor? So I decided to begin with the
basics — my musical roots, and then I kept on throwing in other world genres that have inspired me into the mix. And I think it all turned out just fine,” he added.
On the 14-track “Mundial,” the artist's ninth studio album (released on his El Cartel Records label), the self-proclaimed “King of Reggaetón” did not leave the genre that garnered him international commercial success in the dust, but he clearly branched out into uncharted, booty-shaking musical territory, making it one of his most ambitious sonic works to date.
In the CDs' hodgepodge, adulatory fans will hear merengue, bachata, soca, dance-hall, vallenato, cumbia and sizzling batucada (peppered with countless of whistles), all seamlessly blended together with a dash of electronica and pumped up with reggaetón and US-styled hip-hop.
It features “Vida en la noche,” “La señal,” “La despedida,” “Que es la que hay,” “El más duro” and “Me enteré,” featuring Tito “El Bambino,” among others.
“The musical vibe in Latin America and Mexico is amazing, and all their rhythms inspired me to go on with this project,” explained the 33-year-old reggaetón icon. “And from Europe, I've learned what electronica really is, with all the energy that flows in packed nightclubs and huge outdoor concert venues,” he added.
So far, “Descontrol,” the album's first single, has topped Billboard Latin Rhythm Charts and the song “Grito mundial” was chosen by ESPN Latino and Telefutura as the promotional track of the FIFA World Cup 2010.
“Mundial” is the follow-up to the soundtrack of “Talento de Barrio,” a 2008 film made by Maya
Entertainment starring Daddy Yankee. To date, the album has sold over one million units, according to Neilsen Soundscan.
The artist's latest work as an actor was in early April in the Emmy award-winning TV series “The Bold & the Beautiful,” aired in over 100 countries.
In 2005, CNN and Time Magazine named Daddy Yankee as one of the top 100 most influential people in the
Like Ricky Martin's “Livin' la vida loca” (1999), Daddy Yankee's hit “Gasolina” burned global radio charts five years ago and became an anthem for legions of reggaetón fans.
“We created a Latin urban album with European and US musical influences. It's varied and it has a lot of
color,” he said. “The essence of reggaetón is never lost throughout the album. There's plenty of it everywhere.”