Daddy-Yankee-and-Luis-Fonsi-show-2018-billboard-latin-music-awards-billboard-1548-1524857208
Getty Images

Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee And More Win At 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards

Daddy Yankee leads all winners, followed by Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber & Shakira, while Ozuna wins artist of the year and Maluma takes home social artist of the year.

It was the year of “Despacito” and the year of urban music.

The most-played song of 2017 swept the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards, winning six trophies: hot Latin song of the year; hot Latin song of the year, vocal event; airplay song of the year; digital song of the year; streaming song of the year; and Latin pop song of the year.

The celebration of “Despacito,” a song that revived global interest in Latin music, was a fitting way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Billboard Latin Music Awards on the Telemundo network, which aired the awards live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (the show's first time in Sin City) on Thursday night (April 26).

While “Despacito” was not performed Thursday night (the song had its live debut at the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards), its effect was far-reaching. Producers Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo won producer of the year for the song, and Daddy Yankee -- one of the track’s co-writers (and featured artists) -- was the big winner of the evening with eight awards. In addition to his “Despacito” wins, Yankee took home Latin rhythm artist of the year, solo, and songwriter of the year for “Despacito” as well as several other songs that hit Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, including “Hula Hoop” and “La Rompe Corazones” with Ozuna.

He was followed in wins by Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber, both taking home seven awards each. In addition to his “Despacito” trophies, Bieber won crossover artist of the year, while Fonsi, as the lead performer on “Despacito” and the subsequent “Echame la Culpa,” won the Hot Latin Songs artist of the year award.

But it wasn’t just the year of “Despacito”: There was an explosion of Latin tracks that went global this year and Latin artists who were able to reach fans like never before, mostly with urban or urban-leaning tracks. The night’s performances by mostly huge urban superstars included premieres by Ozuna (performing “La Modelo” with Cardi B), Bad Bunny (performing “Amorfoda”), Maluma (“El Prestamo”) and Nicky Jam and J Balvin, who performed “X” for the first time on television.

The coveted artist of the year award, which takes into consideration sales, airplay and streaming, went to Ozuna, who had success in all areas thanks to a succession of singles and his debut album Odisea.

Even pop wins had an urban tinge. Following the “Despacito” blast, superstar Shakira was the biggest winner of the night, with five awards that included Latin pop artist of the year, solo, and Top Latin Albums artist of the year, female. But she also won Hot Latin Songs artist of the year, female for hits that included the decidedly urban-leaning “Chantaje” with Maluma.

In turn, Maluma, a 10-time nominee (including in four categories for “Chantaje”), won social artist of the year, a nod to his extraordinary social media following.

Regional Mexican music, long the driving force of Latin music in this country, got shut out from most main categories by the sheer force of massive urban hits. However, regional Mexican acts still dominated the artist of the year, new category, with Christian Nodal taking the award. Nodal also won regional Mexican artist of the year, solo, and regional Mexican song of the year. Also coming in with three wins was Romeo Santos, who won Top Latin Albums artist of the year, male; tropical album of the year; and tropical artist of the year, solo.

This year’s special lifetime achievement award went to Mexican rock band Maná, who were honored both for their career as one of the most iconic and lasting bands in Latin music and for their philanthropic endeavors, particularly through their Selva Negra environmental foundation. The group performed two of its biggest hits: “En el muelle de San Blas” and “Corazon Espinado.”

In the label categories, Sony Music Latin was the big winner of the evening, taking home 16 of their 20 nominations, including Hot Latin Songs imprint of the year and Top Latin Albums label of the year. Universal Music Latin Entertainment won three out of their 10 nominations including Hot Latin Songs label of the year. On the publishing end, Sony ATV won both publisher of the year (Sony/ATV Latin Music Publishing) and publishing corporation of the year (Sony/ATV Music).

The Billboard Latin Music Awards honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music, as determined by the actual sales, streaming, radio airplay and social data that informs Billboard's weekly charts during a one-year period from the rankings dated February 4, 2017 through this year's January 27 charts. Finalists, and the eventual winners, reflect performance of new recordings on Billboard’s albums and songs charts, including Top Latin Albums, Hot Latin Songs, Latin Airplay, Latin Streaming Songs and Latin Digital Songs, among others.

The Billboard Latin Music Awards are the culmination of the Billboard Latin Music Conference which took place April 23-26 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, with superstars like Maluma, Ozuna, Bad Bunny, Pitbull and Maná.

The full list of finalists and winners to the awards is below:

OVERALL ARTIST CATEGORIES

Artist of the Year:
J Balvin
Daddy Yankee
Luis Fonsi
*Ozuna -- WINNER

Artist of the Year, New:
Alta Consigna
Bad Bunny
El Fantasma y Banda Populares del Llano
*Christian Nodal -- WINNER

Tour of the Year:
Marc Anthony
Ricardo Arjona
*Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull -- WINNER
Marco Antonio Solis

Social Artist of the Year:
J Balvin
Jennifer Lopez
*Maluma -- WINNER
Shakira

Crossover Artist of the Year:
Beyonce
*Justin Bieber -- WINNER
Little Mix
Ed Sheeran

SONGS CATEGORIES

Hot Latin Song of the Year:
J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyoncé, “Mi Gente”
*Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” -- WINNER
Maluma, “Felices Los 4”
Wisin feat. Ozuna, “Escapate Conmigo”

Hot Latin Song of the Year, Vocal Event:
J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyoncé, “Mi Gente”
*Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” -- WINNER
Shakira feat. Maluma, “Chantaje”
Wisin feat. Ozuna, “Escapate Conmigo”

Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Male:
J Balvin
Daddy Yankee
*Luis Fonsi -- WINNER
Ozuna

Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Female:
Becky G
Jennifer Lopez
Natti Natasha
*Shakira -- WINNER

Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Duo or Group:
Banda Sinaloense MS De Sergio Lizarraga
*Calibre 50 -- WINNER
CNCO
Zion & Lennox

Hot Latin Songs Label of the Year:
Sony Music Latin
*Universal Music Latin Entertainment -- WINNER
VP Entertainment
Warner Latina

Hot Latin Songs Imprint of the Year
Def Jam
Raymond Braun
Schoolboy
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER

Airplay Song of the Year
J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyoncé, “Mi Gente”
*Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” -- WINNER
Maluma, “Felices Los 4”
Wisin feat. Ozuna, “Escapate Conmigo”

Airplay Label of the Year:
DEL
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Warner Latina

Airplay Imprint of the Year:
Fonovisa
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latino
WK

Digital Song of the Year:
J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyoncé, “Mi Gente”
*Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” -- WINNER
Maluma, “Felices Los 4”
Shakira feat. Maluma, “Chantaje”

Streaming Song of the Year:
J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyoncé, “Mi Gente”
*Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” -- WINNER
Maluma, “Felices Los 4”
Shakira feat. Maluma, “Chantaje”

Albums Categories

Top Latin Album of the Year:
J Balvin, Energia
*Nicky Jam, Fenix -- WINNER
Ozuna, Odisea
Shakira, El Dorado

Top Latin Compilation Album of the Year:
*Dance Latin #1 Hits 2.0: Los Exitos Del Momento -- WINNER
Mexillennials: Los Exitos De Una Nueva Generacion
Summer Latin Hits 2017
Trap Capos: Season 1

Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Male:
J Balvin
*Romeo Santos -- WINNER
Nicky Jam
Ozuna

Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Female:
Alejandra Guzman
Karol G
*Shakira -- WINNER
Gloria Trevi

Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group:
*Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga -- WINNER
Calibre 50
CNCO
Los Plebes Del Rancho de Ariel Camacho

Top Latin Albums Label of the Year:
Lizos
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Warner Latina

Top Latin Albums Imprint of the Year:
Capitol Latin
DEL
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latino

Latin Pop Categories

Latin Pop Artist of the Year, Solo
Luis Fonsi
Enrique Iglesias
Juanes
*Shakira -- WINNER

Latin Pop Artist of the Year, Duo or Group:
*CNCO -- WINNER
Jesse & Joy
Mana
Reik

Latin Pop Song of the Year
*Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” -- WINNER
Enrique Iglesias feat. Descemer Bueno, Zion & Lennox, “Subeme La Radio”
Shakira feat. Maluma, “Chantaje”
Shakira, “Me Enamore”

Latin Pop Airplay Label of the Year
Pina
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Warner Latina

Latin Pop Airplay Imprint of the Year
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latino
Warner Latina
WK

Latin Pop Album of the Year:
Ricardo Arjona, Circo Soledad
CNCO, Primera Cita
Juanes, Mis Planes Son Amarte
*Shakira, El Dorado -- WINNER

Latin Pop Albums Label of the Year:
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Latin Music Entertainment
Warner Bros.
Warner Latina

Latin Pop Albums Imprint of the Year:
Fonovisa
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latino
Warner Latina

Tropical Categories

Tropical Artist of the Year, Solo:
Marc Anthony
Nacho
Prince Royce
*Romeo Santos -- WINNER

Tropical Artist of the Year, Duo or Group:
Chiquito Team Band
*Gente de Zona -- WINNER
Pirulo y La Tribu
La Sonora Dinamita

Tropical Song of the Year:
Nacho, “Bailame”
*Prince Royce & Shakira, “Déjà Vu” -- WINNER
Romeo Santos, “Heroe Favorito”
Romeo Santos, “Imitadora”

Tropical Songs Airplay Label of the Year
D.A.M.
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Warner Latina

Tropical Songs Airplay Imprint of the Year
Machete
Magnus
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latino

Tropical Album of the Year:
Prince Royce, Five
La Sonora Dinamita, Juntos Por La Sonora
*Romeo Santos, Golden -- WINNER
Carlos Vives, Vives

Tropical Albums Label of the Year:
The Orchard
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
World Circuit

Tropical Albums Imprint of the Year:
Magnus
The Orchard
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Top Stop

Regional Mexican Categories

Regional Mexican Artist of the Year, Solo:
Regulo Caro
*Christian Nodal -- WINNER
Alfredo Olivas
Gerardo Ortiz

Regional Mexican Artist of the Year, Duo or Group:
*Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga -- WINNER
Calibre 50
Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes
Los Plebes Del Rancho de Ariel Camacho

Regional Mexican Song of the Year:
Calibre 50, “Corrido de Juanito”
Calibre 50, “Siempre Te Voy A Querer”
*Christian Nodal, “Adios Amor” -- WINNER
Christian Nodal feat. David Bisbal, “Probablemente”

Regional Mexican Airplay Label of the Year
DEL
Lizos
Sony Music Latin
*Universal Music Latin Entertainment -- WINNER

Regional Mexican Airplay Imprint of the Year
Andaluz
Disa
DEL
*Fonovisa -- WINNER

Regional Mexican Album of the Year:
Banda Sinaloense MD de Sergio Lizarraga, La Mejor Version De Mi
*Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes, Andamos En El Ruedo -- WINNER
Christian Nodal, Me Deje Llevar
Gerardo Ortiz, Comere Callado, Vol. 1: Con Norteno, Tuba y Guitarras

Regional Mexican Albums Label of the Year:
DEL
Lizos
Sony Music Latin
*Universal Music Latin Entertainment -- WINNER

Regional Mexican Albums Imprint of the Year:
*DEL -- WINNER
Disa
Fonovisa
Lizos

Latin Rhythm Categories

Latin Rhythm Artist of the Year, Solo:
J Balvin
*Daddy Yankee -- WINNER
Nicky Jam
Ozuna

Latin Rhythm Artist of the Year, Duo or Group:
Jowell & Randy
Plan B
Play-N-Skillz
*Zion & Lennox -- WINNER

Latin Rhythm Song of the Year:
*J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyoncé, “Mi Gente” -- WINNER
Maluma, “Felices Los 4”
Nicky Jam, “El Amante”
Wisin feat. Ozuna, “Escapate Conmigo”

Latin Rhythm Airplay Label of the Year
Pina
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Warner Latina

Latin Rhythm Airplay Imprint of the Year
La Industria
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latino
WK

Latin Rhythm Album of the Year:
*Nicky Jam, Fenix -- WINNER
Ozuna, Odisea
Yandel, #Update
Zion & Lennox, Motivan2

Latin Rhythm Albums Label of the Year:
El Cartel
*Sony Music Latin -- WINNER
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Warner Latina

Latin Rhythm Albums Imprint of the Year:
Capitol Latin
*La Industria -- WINNER
Sony Music Latin
Universal Music Latino

Writers/Producers/Publishers Categories

Songwriter of the Year:
Justin Bieber
*Daddy Yankee -- WINNER
Erika Ender
Luis Fonsi
Marty James Garton
Poo Bear

Publisher of the Year:
BMG Gold Songs,ASCAP
Sony/ATV Discos Music Publishing LLC,ASCAP
*Sony/ATV Latin Music Publishing, LLC,BMI -- WINNER
Universal Musica, Inc.,ASCAP

Publishing Corporation of the Year:
BMG
*Sony/ATV Music -- WINNER
Universal Music
Warner/Chappell Music

Producer of the Year:
Chris Jeday
*Mauricio Rengifo & *Andres Torres -- WINNER
Saga Whiteblack
Wisin

This article was originally published on Billboard.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration’s Attempt To End DACA

The Supreme Court voted to block the Trump Administration's attempt to end the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program on Thursday (June 18). The decision, handed down in a 5-4 vote, protects 800,000 DACA recipients who came to the U.S. as children, from being deported.

The SCOTUS vote delays the Administration’s potential efforts to rescind DACA versus blocking it indefinitely. The court ruling determined that a DACA reversal is not unconstitutional.

“Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,” Justice John Roberts wrote.

Roberts, the swing voter, joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer. The remaining Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorusch, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh, voted to rescind.

Sotomayor was the only Justice who acknowledged the argument that ending DACA was motivated by discrimination against Latinos, who make up a large percentage of DREAMers.

Former President Barack Obama, who created DACA in 2012, reacted to the SCOTUS decision on Twitter. “Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation. Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us.

“We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals. And now to stand up for those ideals, we have to move forward and elect @JoeBiden and a Democratic Congress that does its job, protects DREAMers, and finally creates a system that truly worthy of this nation of immigrants once and for all.”

...and now to stand up for those ideals, we have to move forward and elect @JoeBiden and a Democratic Congress that does its job, protects DREAMers, and finally creates a system that’s truly worthy of this nation of immigrants once and for all.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 18, 2020

Thursday's SCOTUS ruling hands a second blow to the Trump Administration in a matter of days. Earlier in the week, the SCOTUS voted to add a provision to the 1964 Civil Rights Acts that bans employers from discrimination based on sexual orientation of gender identity.

Continue Reading
Carlos Perez

Anuel AA Breaks Free

In 2015, an entourage of close to 30 men drew guns among one another during a traditional Christmas parranda in Puerto Rico. The scene turned into something straight out of a movie when a pair of gangsters clandestinely attempted to kidnap local rapper Anuel AA. After a brief scuffle and flagrant shouting match, however, the man born Emmanuel Gazmey Santiago went on to finish the evening’s holiday spree in the boisterous company of his loyal posse.

Months later, after ushering in the new year on a promising note by featuring on one of Latin trap’s first global hits – De La Ghetto’s sex anthem “La Ocasion” with Arcangel and Ozuna – someone delivered Anuel AA a divine premonition of sorts: “If you keep talking about this stuff in your songs, something really ugly is going to happen to you.”

A Puerto Rican music legend, Hector “El Father” of reggaeton-turned-son of God, paid Anuel a visit to share his foreboding message. “He and I did not know each other,” explained Anuel, who prides himself on waxing poetics about the real-life experiences Hector was concerned with, “but God spoke to him and Hector felt he needed to reach out to me. When he warned me, he said it with so much conviction that he even cried.”

Having forged a legacy of his own as one of the key trailblazing reggaeton entertainers of the ‘90s who later signed a deal with JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, Hector – now a devoted Christian – understood life imitated art when it came to Anuel’s lyrics.

“My lyrics talked a lot about God and the devil, so when he told me that,” Anuel continued, “I knew I needed to make some changes. Those themes, good versus evil, they were my mark and what separated me from the rest.”

On April 3, 2016, just two weeks after meeting with Hector, Anuel was arrested and held in Guaynabo’s correctional institution on charges of illegal gun possession. Following his biggest musical break yet, just as he was touching the cusp of international stardom, a court judge sentenced Anuel to 30 months in federal prison without bail.

Raised east of San Juan, in the Puerto Rican city of Carolina, Anuel AA has a lot in common with many of my favorite MCs: he’s charming, resolute, and lyrically gifted, yet marred by a criminal past, complicit misogyny and the constant struggle between right and wrong. “I had no choice but to carry those weapons with me, because of the issues I had on the street,” the rapper said to VIBE Viva over the phone, while quarantined in Miami. “I thought to myself I’d rather be locked up than found dead.”

Indeed, Anuel had evaded his probable demise when he was nearly abducted and landed right behind bars months later, fulfilling a prophecy that cost him both his freedom and a flourishing start at the tipping point of trap music en Español. “I was being forced to reckon with all the bad things I had done for money in the past,” Anuel expressed, regretfully. “I started reading the Bible for the first time and realized that my talent and blessings came from God, not anywhere else.”

Anuel had begun to take music seriously around the same time his father, José Gazmey, was laid off from his coveted A&R position at Sony Music. With his back against the wall, a scrappy Anuel left home at 15 and began to engage in felonious activity to help provide for his family and finance his music endeavors.

Like many rappers on the island, Anuel was influenced by popular culture and trends on the mainland, most discernibly by contemporary trap. Anuel understood the genre’s synonymy with street life and the drug enterprise and immediately took to Messiah El Artista, a Dominican-American rapper VIBE profiled for championing Spanish-language trap music all over New York.

“I figured if Latin trap was doing well in New York, it was for sure going to pop in Puerto Rico,” said Anuel, who had signed with the Latino division of Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group the year prior to his arrest. “I spent about a month in New York before I returned to Puerto Rico. Then I started to release all the songs I had, one by one, and they began to gain popularity.”

While artists like J. Balvin helped breathe new life into the reggaeton genre in Colombia, Anuel wanted to spearhead a movement in Puerto Rico with a sound all their own. “I recorded the ‘Esclava’ remix with Bryant Myers and it might not have taken off worldwide, but it became a huge trap song in Puerto Rico.”

Akin to the heydays of reggaeton, an Afro-Caribbean genre-fusing hip-hop and reggae that originated in Puerto Rico, trap music was considered lowbrow and was heavily criticized for its vulgarity, violence, and explicit lyrics. Puerto Rican critics and artists alike had very little faith in the music’s potential and therefore denounced it. “DJ Luian, who is like a brother to me, couldn’t understand why I wanted to put all my energy into music that none of our artists wanted to sing.”

“Reggaeton went dormant for years,” he continued. “It was necessary to make trap music, because it felt like reggaeton was stuck in another era.” A self-described student of the late and oft-controversial Tupac Shakur, Anuel thought reggaeton had reached its pinnacle and believed Latin trap would be its successor.

Songs like “Nunca Sapo,” where Anuel channels Rick Ross’ Teflon Don ethos and spits a grimy slow-tempo flow over a sinister 808-laden instrumental, helped put a face to Anuel’s little-known name in the US. On cuts like Farruko’s “Liberace,” Anuel speeds up his delivery for fun and plays on the “Versace” rhythm popularized by Migos, who all hail from Atlanta—the widely credited birthplace of trap music.

For Anuel, whose life mantra “real hasta la muerte” is now a famous hashtag, music aspirations had little to do with radio play. Anuel, 27, was largely concerned with dominating the digital space, especially while incarcerated. Despite his arrest, he continued to release music from behind prison walls while his team fed his massive following up-to-date content.

Hear This Music CEO, DJ Luian heeded what Anuel was trying to accomplish and began to work with Bad Bunny, the Latin Grammy-winning artist and star voice of the current Latin trap movement. “When I was locked up, Luian helped develop Bad Bunny and he basically became in charge of keeping trap alive while I was away,” said Anuel, who ironically came under fire recently and was accused of throwing shade at Bad Bunny for the video treatment of “Yo Perreo Sola,” in which the rapper-singer dresses in drag as a stance against toxic masculinity.

“I couldn’t believe something like this was going viral,” Anuel interrupted anxiously before I could expound on a question concerning their relationship. “It looked like it was something that was edited or put together to make my Instagram posts read that way. I immediately texted Bad Bunny about it and he was like, ‘Don’t worry, people are always going to be talking sh*t.’”

Anuel considers Bad Bunny a genius at what he does and maintains that despite not knowing each other very well, he and his fellow compatriot are friendly collaborators with a working rapport: “When he and I do a new song together, what will people say then?”

Today, the collective jury will reach a verdict upon listening to Anuel’s newly-released sophomore studio album Emmanuel, where fans will find a track titled “Hasta Que Dios Diga,” a sultry, mid-tempo reggaeton number. Fans can expect to hear a star-studded project riddled with guest features, including Tego Calderón, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, J. Balvin, Ozuna, and Karol G, to name a few.

Discussing life during a global pandemic, Anuel spoke fondly of his partner-in-rhyme, Colombian singer-songwriter Karol G. “She’s the love of my life. She’s been there with me through the good and bad. People who really love you are the ones who stand firm by you when things are bleak. In my toughest moments, Karol was there. She’s shown me how to be a better man,” he gushed.

“Karol comes off as super feminine—which she is, but Karol also has a really tough masculine side,” Anuel laughed heartily on the other end of the line. “She rides motorcycles and likes taking them up these crazy hills. She rides jet skis too! She’s like a dude, haha. We work well together and we give each other advice all the time.”

The pair are making the most of quarantine life in South Florida, releasing a self-directed and self-shot music video for their joint single “Follow,” a reference to flirting over social media in the era of social-distancing, the idea that shooting one’s proverbial shot can lead to a budding romance.

On July 17, 2018, Anuel dropped his debut studio album, Real Hasta La Muerte, hours before he was released from jail. By September, the RIAA certified his introduction to the game platinum, garnering the attention of Roc Nation artist Meek Mill. When the Philly wordsmith released his fourth studio LP in November of the same year, followers were geeked to learn Anuel had earned himself a place on Meek’s highly anticipated Championships album with “Uptown Vibes.”

I always wanted you and anuel aa to make a track together bc i feel like he’s the meek mill of spanish trap , how was it working with him ?

— Nagga (@naggareports) December 17, 2018

“Recording with Meek Mill for me was like when Allen Iverson played with Michael Jordan for the first time,” Anuel said, singing praises about their first-ever partnership. “I’m a huge fan of Meek; when his music took off I was still in the streets, so I related and identified with a lot of the things he was saying.”

“Meek doesn’t understand a lick of Spanish,” he mused in jest, “but he’s always with a bunch of Latinos. When I speak to him he says, ‘I don’t know what you’re saying, but my Spanish [speaking] ni**as tell me you be talking that sh*t!’”

Anuel leveraged his knack for storytelling and released “3 de Abril” earlier this year, an emotional freestyle about the day he was arrested and a graphic snapshot of his trials and tribulations.

“I did things without caring about the consequences. I thought I was a man because I was street smart. Now I know what it’s like to lose everything, so I wanted to talk more about my life and the experiences of me and my family,” Anuel described the inspiration behind the song.

Following the release of “3 de Abril,” Anuel again turned hip-hop heads when he and Lil Pump shared a fiery audiovisual for their collaborative effort “Illuminati,” stamping Pump's first new song since summer 2019. This year, Anuel also has songs with Colombian pop empress Shakira (“Me Gusta”) and with the late Juice WRLD (“No Me Ames”).

Albeit Anuel and Juice WRLD never got to meet in person, Anuel learned about the Chicago rapper from listening to his singles on the radio in jail. “The same year I won Billboard Latin’s Artist of The Year award, Juice WRLD won New Artist at the American Billboard Awards. We ended up recording the song after that but held off on releasing it for a bit because he and I had respective singles coming out at the same time,” Anuel explained.

“By the time we were finally ready to premiere it, Juice WRLD had passed away. We were never able to record together in person, but at least we got to feature him on the video. I know the tribute gave his fans and family some needed strength.”

Less than 30 minutes have gone by and already I am forced to wrap my conversation with Boricua’s burgeoning superstar:

Anuel, explain “real hasta la muerte” for me. Why exactly is this mantra of yours so important? 

“I can’t betray anyone. I don’t know what it’s like to really betray someone. I’m very loyal to my circle, my family, and those I hold close to me. Being real is what keeps me humble. It doesn’t matter how much money I make or how much I accomplish. What’s critical is staying real to myself and keeping my feet on the ground. That’s what helps keep me going.”

This interview was translated from Spanish to English and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Continue Reading
Planes belonging to Delta Air Lines sit idle at Kansas City International Airport on April 03, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. U.S. carriers reported an enormous drop in bookings amid the spread of the coronavirus and are waiting for a government bailout to fight the impact. Delta lost almost $2 billion in March and parked half of its fleet in order to save money.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Puerto Rico Calls For Ban On Flights From Coronavirus Hot Spots

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, Gov. Wanda Vázquez has inquired a possible ban on flights from popular cities in the United States due to the high number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Associated Press reports Gov. Vázquez launched the petition to the Federal Aviation Administration this week after officials accused tourists of taking medication to reduce their fevers and failing to adhere to the self-isolation rules. The incidents were later confirmed by GNPR general aide, General José Reyes.

The FAA reportedly granted a request for all flights to arrive at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMM), so that Puerto Rico National Guard (GNPR) could screen passengers arriving at the island.

“Now we want people from the areas most affected by Covid-19 not to arrive," Vázquez said. "This as part of the necessary measures to prevent this virus from spreading and affecting the health of the people of Puerto Rico."

As part of the proposal, Vázquez has listed flights from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Illinois as "hot spots" of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, cases in Puerto Rico have sadly risen. The island has reported at least 24 deaths and 620 confirmed cases. Much like in cites like New York, a curfew was imposed on March 15 that closed non-essential businesses and ordered people to stay in their homes with the exception of grocery shopping or picking up medication.

Continue Reading

Top Stories