Raymond Ayala, February 3, 1977 - Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
Quote from Daddy Yankee:
From interview with Miami New Times on the appeal of Spanish-language reggaeton to English-speaking audiences:
"People just love the beat. It is fun and exciting. Even if the person does not understand the lyrics, they understand the fusion."
Raymond Ayala grew up in the Villa Kennedy housing projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was the son of a salsa drummer and manicurist, but he dreamed of being a baseball star. In addition to baseball, Ayala grew up interested in American hip hop even though he didn't speak much English. He began experimenting with Spanish rhymes and working with local music hero DJ Playero.
Development of Reggaeton:
Ayala, now known as Daddy Yankee, and Playero worked to help popularize a new sound growing out of the Puerto Rican music scene known as reggaeton. It was a blend of sounds popular in urban neighborhoods including hip hop, rap, and reggae. Daddy Yankee had his first music chart success when the song "Segurosqui" hit Latin Tropical radio in 2003.
Trivia Fact About Daddy Yankee:
Daddy Yankee is happily married to his high school sweetheart.
International Pop Success:
Daddy Yankee's popularity in the Latin music world continued to build into 2004. His album Barrio Fino became the first reggaeton album to debut at #1 on the Billboard Latin albums chart. "Gasolina," <Listen> the primary hit single from the album, crossed over into pop markets and became Daddy Yankee's first top 40 pop single.
Daddy Yankee continued the momentum by releasing the album Barrio Fino en Directo in 2005. It is a mostly live set, but it also includes new recordings with rappers Snoop Dogg and Paul Wall. Barrio Fino en Directo became Daddy Yankee's first album to make it inside the top 25 of the pop albums chart and the single "Rompe" reached the top 40. The next studio album by Daddy Yankee will meet strong anticipation from fans crossing multiple genres from Latin to hip hop to pop.