TIDAL X Sprint Presents Romeo Santos Miami Pop-Up Concert
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Romeo Santos On 'Golden': "I Find A Creative Way Of Telling Haters To Go F**k Yourself"

Welp. 

Romeo Santos steers his massive white Range Rover down West 38th Street in Manhattan and cranks up the volume on his new album. He’s a few blocks north of Madison Square Garden, which he has sold out four times during his solo career, as well as the Empire State Building, which will synchronize its tower lights to his new single, “Carmín,” on July 20, the eve of the release of his new album, Golden. A few miles uptown is the Bronx home on Vyse Avenue where Santos grew up in the 1980s and helped form the best-selling bachata quartet Aventura; a couple of avenues over is the West Side Highway, where he goes running four times a week.

Shy and soft-spoken since he was a child, Santos -- who turned 36 on the day of Golden’s arrival -- is full of swagger as his vehicle rumbles across the city that defines him. Opening track “Golden Intro” blasts through the speakers, and Santos sings along with the lyrics about his “Midas touch,” his status as “the king” and how his critics have foolishly counted him out on more than one occasion.

“You have to be confident about the product you’re putting out,” says Santos, looking younger than his years in gray jeans and a striped tank top. “It’s just like when a boxer is promoting a fight. You can’t go out there and be like, ‘This guy might beat me.’ ”

Why is Santos, one of Latin music’s most bankable superstars, feeling like he has something to prove? It has been only three years since he released Formula, Vol. 2, the top-selling Latin album of 2014 (according to Nielsen Music), which included the smash “Propuesta Indecente,” the all-time biggest song in the 30-year history of Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart as of 2016. Yet in the time since, reggaetón and trap summarily have taken over the Latin charts and achieved unprecedented crossover success. Pop A-listers like Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias have embraced the reggaetón beat, while Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” has become a defining song of 2017 (the Justin Bieber-featuring remix spends its 11th week atop the Aug. 5 Billboard Hot 100). Bachata, the traditional music of the Dominican Republic that Santos made a global sensation with an R&B-laced iteration -- first as leader of Aventura, then as a soloist beginning in 2011 -- has taken a backseat.

Santos says he’s not concerned that his signature sound is currently out of vogue. After all, when “Despacito” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in May, Santos wrote on his social platforms, “All Latin artists should be proud of this achievement.” And Goldendoes indeed feature a collaboration with Yankee and Nicky Jam titled “Bella y Sensual” (“Beautiful and Sensual”) that approaches mainstream trap without betraying Santos’ voice.

“It’s like déjà vu, to be honest with you,” he says with a laugh. “When Aventura began, there was a lot of salsa and merengue, and we said, ‘Let’s just do what we do.’ Then Aventura blew up, but urban was in its prime. This is normal. If you put out quality music, you’re always going to be in a good place.”

While Santos the musician says that he’s thriving, it’s difficult to determine whether Santos the person is in a good place, since he’s fiercely protective of his private life. He has never discussed the details of his romantic life in interviews or on social media, and when he posts on Instagram, it’s almost always about the music he’s working on. Santos says he spends most of his free time in the recording studio tinkering with new ideas, and that has only increased since he became CEO of Roc Nation Latin in 2016, which has allowed him to serve as an adviser to such artists as Dominican singer Mozart La Para and American Idol alumna Karen Rodriguez.

Still can't get over this night. ¿Quién no ha escuchado Golden aún?

A post shared by Romeo Santos (@romeosantos) on

“Last night, I had a meeting with Karen, and we worked on a song,” says Santos. “I signed a group of artists that have a good concept of what they should be doing. All I do is coach.” Santos’ longtime manager, Johnny Marines, serves as Roc Nation Latin president, and has pushed him to make investments beyond music; Santos won’t divulge specifics, but he hints at making some long-term investments when his current album cycle ends. Meanwhile, Roc Nation founder JAY-Z has become a friend and mentor to Santos -- he suggested collaborating with Swizz Beatz for Golden, and Santos reached out to the producer for the album standout “Premio.”

“I literally had a conversation with him last night,” says Santos of JAY-Z. “I’ve been blessed to have made a good income, but I put so much energy into music that I never really concentrated on other ways of making money. That’s where Roc Nation has helped me tremendously, and ... a lot of that comes from Jay’s business mentality.”

Santos is not ready to consider a future where recording is not the focal point of his career, and one listen to Golden demonstrates that the Latin superstar is still making vital, exploratory music. “Leaders don’t follow formulas -- they create them,” says Sony Music Latin chairman/CEO Afo Verde. “Romeo writes and records what he feels, regardless of what happens on the charts.” A two-part song suite, “El Papel” (“The Paper”) describes an affair from the perspective of a female lover and a conflicted husband, respectively. “El Amigo,” featuring Julio Iglesias, pairs Santos with one of his idols, while the single “Imitadora” (“Imitator”) has been the album’s biggest commercial triumph, elbowing “Despacito” out of the top spot of the Latin Airplay chart dated July 29.

As Santos reaches for a sandwich and a green apple that are stashed in a bag on the backseat of his car (“I need to eat every three hours -- it keeps my metabolism going so I stay at a certain weight,” he explains), the final track on Golden, a combative rant titled “Sin Filtro” (“No Filter”), plays over the stereo. The song tackles seemingly every piece of criticism that has ever been leveled at Santos. He once again dismisses questions about his sexuality, brought on by his intense privacy.

Santos says that total honesty is the backbone of his music. “I’m sure people are going to listen to that outro and they’re going to say, ‘Why is he talking again about people who say he’s gay?’ ” he says. “I know some people may say, ‘Well, just ignore it.’ But then there are moments where I hear a beat, and I get inspired.

“And then,” he adds, addressing his haters, “I find a creative way of telling you to go fuck yourself.”

Romeo Santos says that he probably knows Julio Iglesias’ catalog better than the man himself, and hadn't worked with the Spanish icon until writing Golden’s “El Amigo” as a duet. “I sent him the demo, and he loved it,” says Santos, who flew to Marbella, Spain, to record vocals with Iglesias.

The two stars traded off verses about the “friend” in the song; at first glance, the lyrics refer to a cherished companion. “Four days later, I’m mixing the vocals, and I get a call from Julio,” recalls Santos. “‘Romeo, I have a question: Did you write a song about a dick?’”

It turns out the ode to “un compinche en mis deseos” (“a buddy in my desires)” was actually a salute to a man’s nether region. Iglesias didn’t mind. “The song is genius,” says the 73-year-old. “And it’s not easy to write a double-entendre song, set it to music and have people actually like it.”

This article originally appeared on Billboard.

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J Balvin performs at Baja Beach Festival 2019 in Mexico's Rosarito Beach.
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Review: Baja Beach Festival Brings Reggaeton And Latin Trap Oasis To Rosarito

One of Mexico’s Hollywood-friendly beach towns got some action this weekend with the third annual Baja Beach Festival. From Friday, Aug. 16 to Saturday, Aug. 17, the serene beach just under an hour from San Diego transformed into a paradise for urbano music stans. With the weather clocking in at mid-60 to mid-70 degrees, the end of summer breeze blew just hard enough for attendees to throw their inhibitions to the wind. An idyll of booty cheeks, bikinis, and Tecate beer guzzlers, the outdoor venue that boasted one main stage was not only ideal for those who wanted to take a dip in the ocean then plop on the sand to indulge in live entertainment but also for those who caught the performances from the balconies of the adjacent hotels.

The line-up mirrored a well-curated playlist of today’s popular Latin trap and reggaeton acts. Singer Cazzu brought her Club Emo Tour to Mexico, evoking bad girl vibes. She could slow down the tempo for a sensual love note à la “Toda” -- she appeared on the remix for the song from fellow Baja Beach performer Alex Rose -- or body roll to a sexy number like “Puedo Ser.” R&B-leaning artists like the Brytiago (Night 1) and aforementioned Rose (Night 2) present as rappers on-stage with fitted hats and tees, designer gear and iced out jewelry but croon for a woman’s adoration. Ear-pleasing entries like Brytiago’s “Bipolar” and “La Mentira” as well as Rose’s “Darte” (which borrows the melody from Akon’s explicit “I Wanna Love You”) and contribution to Lunay and Baja Beach Fest act Lyanno’s “A Solas.” Reggaeton duo Jowell y Randy brought classic reggaeton feels with “Un Poco Loca,” which samples Chaka Demus & Pliers's "Murder She Wrote” while also reviving eternal party-starters like Casa De Leones’ 2007 debut single “No Te Veo.”

Despite missing Cardi B -- who canceled a string of shows recently -- the star power for both nights was not dimmed. J Balvin performed an hour’s worth of material that anyone who owns a streaming service account would know. The Balvin fiesta came with dancing figures like life-sized clouds, mushrooms, and colorful creatures including a Cookie Monster-esque octopus. There was no territory he didn’t cover on the music front either. He sprinkled in gems from the Bad Bunny joint project Oasis and collaborative tracks like “Con Altura” (which features Anita) and “Loco Contigo” (which includes DJ Snake and Tyga). After their earlier set, Jowell y Randy appeared for “Bonita” during J Balvin’s set. He then hyped up the late-night crowd with infectious mainstream hits like “Machika,” a Cardi B-less “I Like It” fused with Pete Rodriguez’s original “I Like It Like That” and the explosive finale “Mi Gente.”

The main event came with Ozuna. The 30,000 in attendance clung to every canción, from “Vaina Loca” to the Romeo Santos-assisted songs “Ibiza” and “El Farsante.” His solo rendition of “La Modelo” and the megahit “Dile Que Tu Me Quieres” had the hot girls -- and boys -- singing every word. “Baila Baila Baila” was an immediate call-to-action for twerking on the beach while the closing number “Taki Taki” preceded a nearly three-minute fireworks show, a fitting nod to Friday’s explosive performances.

Following a night of afterparties that rang off in las calles till 4 a.m., Saturday was still loaded with vibras. To set Day 2 off, daytime acts like Amenazzy and Lyanno provided a melodic yet nostalgic buffet of their catalog’s finest. Amenazzy performed a track that borrowed the beat to Rich Gang, Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan’s “Lifestyle” while Puerto Rico’s own Lyanno brought “Se Cansó,” the Urba y Roma and Zion y Lennox-assisted “Te Veo” and “Dejarte Llevar,” which samples Mario’s “Let Me Love You.”

After an intermission of line dancing to Caballe Dorado’s “No Rompas Más (Mi Pobre Corazón)” (Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” morphed into a Spanish language hit), De La Ghetto stormed the stage with his latest release “Selfie,” the Nicky Jam collabo “Si Tú No Estás” and his verse on the “Escápate Conmigo” remix, an ideal soundtrack for lovers and lovers-for-the-night alike. He transitioned into a semi-bar fest by performing his solo take on Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” with “Estamos Aqui,” a track with Arcangel (the reggaeton artist De La Ghetto formed a duo with in the early aughts) and in a sense, an appropriate slogan for the sold-out crowd in attendance.

Now, full stop for Becky G. The fiery Chicana who hails from both Mexico and Inglewood, Calif. represented her two cultures with pride, telling the crowd in Spanglish, “I lived my life in between two worlds, representing two flags, y siempre me dijeron, ‘You’re either too Mexican for the Americans or too American for the Mexicans. You can’t be in the middle.’” But Becky G showed and proved she can keep the same energy for her peoples, bringing some hip-hop flavor to her crossover joints like “Mad Love” (which features David Guetta and Sean Paul) and the playful Anitta collabo “Banana” while dishing out Spanish-language songs like “Mala Mía” (Maluma and Anitta are on the original), “Que Me Baile,” the Myke Towers duet “Dollar” and the celestial love note “Cuando Te Besé.” Based on the hometown love she received from an audience that included her parents and siblings, claro que si, Becky G nailed it.

The roar of the crowd reached a fever pitch when one of the seasoned reggaetoneros, Nicky Jam, arrived. With the breadth of his catalog packed with, you guessed it, jams, the puertoriqueno effortlessly segued from his recent offerings (“El Amante,” “Si Tú La Ves” and the Silvestre Dangond’s wedding day-ready “Cásate Conmigo”) to the hits that cemented his reggaeton reign (2003’s “Me Voy Pal Party” and 2005’s “La Gata” which follows the same cadence as P!nk’s 2000 debut single “There You Go”). Nicky Jam then unleashed “X,” a continuation of J Balvin’s Night 1 performance of the Will Smith-co-signed single.

To note, it wasn’t uncommon to hear the same song performed by multiple acts. Rosarito was treated to three different verses of Nio García, Darrell and Casper Mágico’s 2017 smash “Te Boté” from Ozuna, Nicky Jam and Bad Bunny, who each appeared on the remix released in 2018. Same happened for J Balvin, who performed his parts in “La Canción” and “I Like It” on Night 1, followed by Bad Bunny, who delivered his share of the same tracks on the consecutive night.

To set the mood for Bad Bunny, Mexico’s own DJ Fredy Fresco dabbled in some hip-hop by spinning City Girls “Act Up” and a festival favorite, YG’s “Go Loko.” For context, the warm-up felt intentional as Bad Bunny’s melodic swagger and rap sensibilities have boosted his crossover appeal. Cue the summer smash “Mía," which features a Spanish-speaking Drake (Sadly, the 6 God was M.I.A. for the live rendition in Baja California), and definite crowd-pleaser. Still, the eccentric 25-year-old -- laced in a red tracksuit and his signature shades -- delivered other cuts across the spectrum from the high-octane banger “200 MPH” to the subdued “Solamente Soy Feliz." The YouTube phenom’s reach was palpable: for every track he performed, it sounded like his fans printed out the lyrics for a sing-along. He then brought el fuego (literally firing up the flame machines) for “La Romana” before bowing out with “Callaita,” a perfect send-off for Baja Beach Fest with this lyric alone: Si hay sol, hay playa.

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Little Brother Releases 'May The Lord Watch,' First Album In Nine Years

Phonte and Big Pooh released their new Litle Brother album May the Lord Watch on digital service providers at midnight on Tuesday (Aug. 20). The album clocks in at 15 tracks and 37 minutes, with the lion's share of production handled by fellow Justus League member and frequent collaborator Khrysis, Focus and Nottz, with more beats by Black Milk, Abjo, Devin Morrison, Blaaq Gold, and King Michael Coy. A glance at the tracklist appears to show that there are no guest appearances, but this story will be updated with further details. In an Instagram post, Rapper Big Pooh referred to the record as "the album of our careers."

 

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Listen, man. It took us a long time to get it right but we did. I love the fact we accomplished the goal but it’s the journey that I’ll always cherish the most. We wrote and recorded every song on this album together. We carried each other. We give y’all the album of our careers, “May The Lord Watch” . . Thank you to everyone that contributed to this album. It wouldn’t have turned out the same way without y’all. (I’ll drop the credits later. I got some champagne to drink) #LBbizness #MTLW #availablenow

A post shared by Rapper Pooh (@rapperbigpooh) on Aug 19, 2019 at 9:15pm PDT

Phonte and Big Pooh announced in May that they would be coming back together for a new record, albeit without the production of founding member 9th Wonder, who gave the group his blessing while he continued other projects. Since then, the duo has released a documentary about their surprise live reunion at the 2018 Art of Cool Festival in their home state, which was revealed to have been the spark for their idea to make a new album. Since then, they have stayed relatively mum on details until Aug 19, when they surprised fans with the title, the album cover, and the news that the album would be dropping at midnight.

Little Brother released their debut album The Listening in 2003, before landing a record deal with Atlantic Records and releasing their acclaimed sophomore album The Minstrel Show in 2005. They released two more albums, Getback (2007) and Leftback (2010), before parting ways for their own musical endeavors. Phonte has since made solo albums and group albums with producer Nicolay as the Grammy-winning duo Foreign Exchange, Rapper Big Pooh has released solo albums, and 9th Wonder founded what would become It's A Wonderful World Music Group, which features artists including Grammy-nominated MC Rapsody..

Stream May the Lord Watch on Apple Music, TIDAL, or below on Spotify.

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Get Ready: A Three 6 Mafia Reunion Tour Is On The Way

Three 6 Mafia is on their way to a stage near you. According to an Instagram post from Juicy J, the popular hip-hop collective will be performing at a series of very special reunion shows.

Per the flyer, one of the shows will be held on Oct. 12 at the Landers Center in Mississippi. The show will also star DJ Paul, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, DMX and all original Hypnotize Minds & HCP Members (Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Project Pat, Lil Wyte and La. Chat).

“I know this is what the fans have been asking for, so we're ready to bring them the classics, along with our new music in the best possible way,” said DJ Paul in a statement. “To quote LL, don't call it a comeback, we have officially been here for years, and we've got a lot to show for it. Just wait to see what comes next.”

The Oscar-winning group went on a hiatus back in 2012. Many of the group’s members have released solo projects, and two of the group’s founding members have since passed on (Koopsta Knicca and Lord Infamous).

Tickets to the event will be on sale this Friday (Aug. 23). Take a look at the flyer below.

DATES 09-07 Atlanta, GA - One Musicfest 10-11 Newark, NJ - Loud Records 25th Anniversary (Prudential Center) 10-12 Southaven, MS - Landers Center

 

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THREE 6 MAFIA REUNION TOUR! Tickets on sale next Friday August 23rd @landerscenter

A post shared by Juicy J (@juicyj) on Aug 16, 2019 at 12:37pm PDT

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