In the visuals for Farruko's latest single, "La Toxica," a beautiful young lady dressed in a short skirt and boots is lounging in her room. Suddenly, she turns on her TV and witnesses the Puerto Rican singer giving advice about doomed unrequited love. She then steps inside her closet to be transported to a neon-futuristic dance party straight out of Lady Gaga's Chromatica universe.
Farruko's advice? Dance the night away with your friends and forget about the negativity.
The video has garnered more than 11 million views on YouTube since its premiere on July 24. It seems like the reggaetonero's sonic mission with "La Toxica" is steadily being accomplished.
"The word toxic is a trending topic on social media right now," the 29-year-old says over Zoom. "I latched onto that concept to make a song about it, and I was looking for a way for people to identify themselves with this term. In a sense, this is a motivational song for people who need to give themselves more self-love and put an end to a toxic relationship."
On this afternoon in early July, Farruko is at his home in Miami dressed in a black T-shirt and hat paired with khaki cargo pants. To his right, dark clouds peek through the large windows; to his left is a glass shelf stacked with awards. Farruko is at ease on a blue couch placed directly between the two contrasting views.
Born Carlos Efrén Reyes Rosado, and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Farruko first made waves over a decade ago with his first single, "Te Iré a Buscar," featuring Baby Rasta and Don Omar. Since then, he has released seven studio albums and several ubiquitous remixes (see: "Krippy Kush," featuring Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, Travis Scott, and Rvssian).
More recently, his record label, Carbon Fire Music, inked a global distribution deal with Ingrooves Music Group. It's a significant feat that he hopes will help cement him in the same space as music moguls like Jay-Z.
"Carbon Fire will be part of my legacy," Farruko says. "Maybe my music or my popularity as an artist might disappear, but what I created with this and the artists I helped groom with my artistic philosophy will remain as a part of history and help feed my family."
There's no denying Farruko has been steadily collecting accolades during his decade-long career. But despite his bright future, there have been periods of darkness. In April 2018, he was arrested in Puerto Rico for smuggling $52,000 out of the Dominican Republic in his luggage. He was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay $41,000 to authorities. Farruko says the main lesson he learned during his downfall was to focus on the simple things, like spending time with his kids.
Ultimately, he says, his belief in God is what has gotten him through the hard times.
"I think God is a philosophical way of living. The Bible says, 'God is love,'" Farruko offers. "And if you're a positive person with a good heart, things are always going to go well for you. I base my life on that."
He hopes his music can serve as a beacon of hope to the youth in Puerto Rico who are drowning in the island's waves of violence. In 2017, Puerto Rico's murder rate was four times higher than the murder rate on the U.S. mainland, ranked La Isla del Encanto near the top of that dubious world ranking.
"The music has helped the violence because a lot of the youth now are obsessed with freestyling," he says. "I've seen that change, and it makes me feel good because they've seen the success we've gotten, so that motivates them. I hope one day they switch the guns for notebooks instead."
"La Toxica" may find a place on the album Farruko has been working on during quarantine. He says he's teaching himself Pro Tools — and how to cook.
"I learned how to make soup and pancakes. I didn't know how to make that," he says, laughing. "I'm not experimenting yet with rice, because I'm scared of burning down the house or poisoning someone."
As for the album, he says the project will focus on who Carlos Efren "Farruko" Reyes Rosado is as a person.
"This new album is very personal to me," he says. "It's going to talk about my beliefs, the way I was raised, where I come from, and what we're currently going through today. It also includes falling in and out of love. This project is very much Farruko. I want to invite people into my world."
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