Monday, May 3, 2010

Daddy Yankee: The King of Clubs

The king is back! But is his reign still going strong? Or has his crown been overthrown?

Stepping back in time, one cannot help but realize the significance of Daddy Yankee’s masterpiece, Barrio Fino. Every song, even the fillers, were part of reggeaton history. Tracks like “Gasolina” and “Lo Que Paso Paso” helped Daddy Yankee tear up the latin, urban, and pop charts. He began a revolution that made reggeaton as mainstream as salsa, and opened the castle doors for others like Wisin & Yandel and Tito “El Bambino” to follow. The year 2005 saw Daddy Yankee take the crown of the genre and with his rhymes and rhythms he made a statement: no one does it better.

Since then, albums El Cartel: The Big Boss and Talento de Barrio have been a bit unbalanced. Working with pop stars like Fergie, Nicole Scherzinger and Akon have not helped the king with his reign at all. These collaborations simply provoke the question “why would a king work with the peasants?”

Seemingly back on track, Daddy Yankee’s Mundial shows that he is still the king, only not every song is worthy of its crowning, in fact, the LP suffers from pawns and peasants having too much power.

The royalty: “Vida En La Noche” was made for the dancefloor with its hook-heavy rhythm and off-the-wall beats. The song allows Yankee to glide and slide all over to the deep dance track. “Me Entere” featuring Tito “El Bambino” is the duet of the year, putting the king next to the prince of reggeaton ends in pure perfection. Bonus track “El Ritmo no Perdona” has a little of everything: hip-shaking meringue and hip-thrusting reggeaton. And "Mejor De Todos Los Tiempos,” the album’s opener, sets things on fire and gives a taste for things to come. The king has taken the electronica of "Pose," but still remains in tact with his roots.

The pawns: "Grito Mundial,” has the power, thing is, it has too much of it. From the trumpets, the background chants, the’s just too much of a good thing. Think of it like the reggeaton “Spice Up Your Life.” “Mientiendo Con La Verdad” has the rumba rhythm we all know and love of Daddy Yankee, only it’s missing any actual spice. “La Despedida” steps too lightly, sounding more like a demo tape than a potential single. Lastly, "Daria" would be a strong track, only thing, “Llamado De Emergencia” called and it wants its sound back.

The peasants: A few tracks are so so forgettable, the only sound you’d associate with them is the skip button.“La Senal” and “El Mas Duro” find Daddy Yankee in the dark, dry reggeatonland. ”Que Es La Que Hay” see’s the king of reggeaton venture into the world of hip-hop, only thing is, they never quite make it back. And finally, a track that doesn’t even touch Daddy Yankee’s classic material, “Descontrol,” has to be Yankee’s worst single since the remix of “Impacto” featuring Fergie, probably one of the worst attempts at a crossover in music history. As for “Descontrol,” it’s simple: No hook, no variety, no nothing. Even so, the pawns and peasants of the bunch still make for some of the best club material of the year.

Ironically, Mundial doesn’t have much of a worldwide sound. Its mix, heavy in hip-hop, feels a bit bland at points. Even though Daddy Yankee’s rhyming skills cannot be denied, his crown as king is becoming a bit tarnished. But at the end of the day, Daddy Yankee has still got the “it” that made him a worldwide superstar, and it doesn’t look like that is going anywhere. After everything, from the dancefloor killers to the LP fillers, Mundial still makes Daddy Yankee’s reign one heard around the world.

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