Daddy Yankee

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Daddy Yankee is one of the most visible founders of the modern reggaeton movement, alongside contemporaries like Hector "El Father" and Don Omar. Reggaeton, a fusion of hip-hop and reggae with Latin American musical styles, became popular throughout central and South America during the 1990's, eventually making its way to the United States by way of Puerto Rico in the early 2000's. Daddy Yankee is one of the most successful entertainers in the field of Reggaeton; he has produced over 13 albums and mixtapes and holds concert attendance records throughout South and Central America. For such a natural entertainer, it is somewhat surprising that music wasn't his original dream in life.

Born Ramon Ayala in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Daddy Yankee's first passion in was baseball. A talented athlete, Ramon hoped to one day play Major League Baseball, but was critically injured in the crossfire of a gang fight at the age of seventeen. His injury left him unable to play competitively, and as a result his attention shifted to the growing underground rap scene in Puerto Rico. Teaming up with the legendary DJ Playero, Daddy Yankee began releasing reggaeton albums in the early 1990's. While the success of his first few albums (most notably 1994's No Mercy, 2001's Cartel II) was largely endemic to Puerto Rico, his popularity exploded worldwide with the release of his most influential album El Cangri.com in 2002.

Released on Puerto Rican powerhouse label V.I. Music, El Cangri.com received notice across South America and into the United States, most notably in Miami and New York with singles "Latigazo" and "Guayando". The crossover success of El Cangri.com won Yankee a recording contract with Universal Records, which released his seventh album Barrio Fino in 2004. One of the highest selling reggaeton albums of all time, it has since moved over 3,000,000 units worldwide. The powerful energy and dance-inducing rhythm of songs like "Gasolina" and "Corazones" further established Daddy Yankee as the premier international reggaeton artist of his time.

Since Barrio Fino, much of Daddy Yankee's music has deviated somewhat from his earlier sound. In his next record, 2006's Tormenta Tropical Vol. 1, reggaeton tracks like "Rompe" coexist with songs like "Gangsta Zone" feat. Snoop Dogg and "Machete" feat. Paul Wall, both of which feature a sound heavily influenced by American rap. His next major record - 2007's El Cartel: The Big Boss - echoed the trend, with production by the likes of Akon, Scott Storch, and Will.I.Am clearly present on tracks like "Ella Me Levanto" and "Impacto".

After releasing his first motion picture Talento De Barrio in late 2007, Daddy Yankee is gearing up to release his thirteenth album El Cartel: The Big Boss Reloaded in late 2008.

From Discogs:

Well known reggaeton artist from Puerto Rico.

From Lastfm:

Ramón "Raymond" Luis Ayala Rodríguez (born February 3, 1977), known artistically as Daddy Yankee, is a Latin Grammy Award winning Puerto Rican reggaeton recording artist. Ayala was born in Río Piedras, the largest district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he became interested in music at a young age. In his youth he was interested in baseball, and aspired to become a Major League Baseball player. He was unable to continue this sport when he received an injury to one of his legs, leaving him unable to walk correctly.

Read more about Daddy Yankee on Last.fm.

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From Wikipedia:

Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez (born February 3, 1977), known by his stage name Daddy Yankee, is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican reggaeton and hip hop songwriter and recording artist. Ayala was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and was raised in the Villa Kennedy Housing Projects.

While still dabbling in music, Ayala aspired to be a professional baseball player. As a teenager, Ayala tried out for the Seattle Mariners Major League baseball team. Before he could be officially signed by the team, Ayala was hit by a stray round from an AK-47 rifle while taking a break from a studio recording session with reggaeton mixtape icon DJ Playero. Ayala spent roughly one and a half years recovering from the wound in a hospital, and was temporarily restricted to moving about only with a wheelchair. The bullet was never removed from Ayala's hip, and he credits the shooting incident with allowing him to focus entirely on a music career.

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