It's been five full years since Time Magazine named Daddy Yankee to its list of the 100 most influential people on the planet. And using the mag's metaphor, the recording industry's registers were ringing like mad over reggaeton in 2006. "Yankee has sold 2 million copies of his album Barrio Fino in the U.S.," Time pointed out. "He has a $20 million record contract with Interscope and a lucrative endorsement deal with Pepsi."
In 2011, though, Yankee is struggling to stay atop the Billboard charts, just like the Spanish-language rap genre he helped spawn. He's getting sued in Miami for $820,000 over an Argentine minitour gone bad. He's working his way through the Latin American beauty pageant circuit, making appearances at the Miss Colombia 2011 and Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2012 competitions. He's even doing tiny club shows like this Saturday's gig at 90 Degree.
But Daddy's definitely got a game plan. A lot like Miami's own Pitbull, he has abandoned last decade's roughneck reggaeton (especially thugged-out, sexed-up stuff like "Gasolina") in favor of pop-ified pseudorap sung (mostly) in Spanish. Just take "Lovumba," the syrupy sweet lead single off his upcoming album Prestige. It isn't better than his old stuff. But it's definitely more commercial. In fact, "Lovumba" is so inoffensive that every abuela in the barrio has probably purchased it off iTunes by now. And they're all workin' their bum bums to that less-than-Dem-Bow beat.
You can almost hear those registers ringing like mad again.