Take A Look Close At Don Omar’s Career Before His Retirement In 2017
Don Omar has been at the top of the reggaetón scene since his first solo album dropped in 2003. In the last 15 years, he’s had an insane career, and has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. His much-discussed feud with Daddy Yankee was finally settled with The Kingdom World Tour in 2016, and he announced his retirement less than a year later. Even though he’s reportedly retired, he’s still making music, and with the rise of other big reggaetón artists like Ozuna, Natti Natasha, and Gustavo Elis, it’s important to pay homage to one of the original kings. Here are some facts you gotta know about the legendary Don Omar.
1. His full name is William Omar Landrón Rivera
William Omar Landrón Rivera was born in 1978, the oldest son of William Landrón and his wife Luz Antonia Rivera. He says that from a young age he’s been interested in music, especially the work of Vico C and Brewley MC.
2. He was born in a barrio of San Juan, Puerto Rico
He’s extremely proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, even going so far as to tattoo the Puerto Rican coat of arms on his bicep. He was raised around the Villa Palmeras area.
3. He was an active member of his church growing up and only left to focus on his singing career.
As a young teenager, he joined a Protestant church called Iglesia Evangélica Restauración en Cristo and hoped to become a preacher. He even gave sermons to fellow worshippers. He only left the church to dedicate himself to music.
4. He started his career with nightclub performances and singles on compilation albums
Don Omar started his career with performances in smaller nightclubs accompanied by DJ Eliel Lind Osorio. He developed a good reputation, and quickly switched to writing and producing songs on compilation albums, alongside other popular Puerto Rican artists like Luny Tunes and Noriega.
5. It was Héctor El Bambino who gave him his first big break
Héctor El Bambino, aka Héctor El Father was a popular rapper and producer working in Puerto Rico at the time. He offered Don Omar the chance to sing backup for his duo Héctor & Tito, and was so impressed by what he heard that he helped to produce Don Omar’s first solo album.
6. The Last Don brought Don Omar into the mainstream
The release of his first studio album in 2003 rocketed Don Omar into the mainstream. The album featured collaborations with soon-to-be-rival Daddy Yankee, and onetime benefactors Héctor & Tito. It hit #2 of the Billboard Top Latin Albums and was certified gold, selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone.
7. His next album, King of Kings, was the highest ranking reggaetón LP at the time.
Not content with hitting No. 2 on the charts, Don Omar’s next album King of Kings spent an unbelievable 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. The album was released in May 2006, and even though a special edition of the album leaked online, sales of the final album still went gold.
8. Don Omar’s third studio album is dedicated to his cousin, Cordell Brown.
After King of Kings, Don Omar went back into the studio and made iDon, his third studio album. iDon is dedicated to his cousin Cordell Brown.
9. Don Omar created the Orfanato Music Group in 2007
The Orfanato Music Group, which also goes by the acronym OMG, functions as an independent record label, which represents many up and coming artists working across multiple Latin genres. Currently, the artists represented by OMG include Don Omar, Danny Fornaris, and Xavi “The Destroyer.”
10. In 2010, Don Omar solidified himself as a kingmaker with Don Omar Presents: Meet The Orphans.
Three years after OMG was first created, Don Omar released an album called Meet The Orphans, which featured tons of new and upcoming artists from his label. The lead track was “Danza Kuduro”, which quickly became a gigantic hit.
11. He was detained in Bolivia in 2007
He was held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, after a dispute between himself and a concert promoter got out of hand. The matter was settled before a local judge.
12. Overall, he’s released 5 studio albums and has a sixth upcoming
His sixth album, Sociedad Secreta, is expected in April 2019.
13. Don Omar is also an actor
Don Omar has appeared onscreen as Rico Santos in the Fast and the Furious franchise three times now. His character is a thief who joins Dominic Toretto’s team. He even starred in the short film Los Bandoleros, which bridged the fourth and fifth film.
14. His song “Danza Kuduro” was featured on the Fast Five soundtrack.
Based on an earlier French-Portuguese song called “Vem Dançar Kuduro”, “Danza Kuduro” featured at the very end of Fast Five and appeared on the soundtrack.
15. He has almost as many live albums as studio albums
Right now, that’s a total of four live albums, five studio albums, and one greatest hits collection, Los Bandoleros Reloaded.
16. His most famous rivalry is with Daddy Yankee
The two artists were born within a year of each other around San Juan, and have been publicly feuding for almost a decade over the title ‘The King of Reggaetón”. In 2016, they announced that they would be performing together on The Kingdom World Tour. Tour tickets sold out in minutes.
17. He has four kids
His first marriage was to Melissa Del Valle, and they have one son, Nicolas Valle Gomez. His next relationship was with Jackie Guerrido, a Univision journalist. The couple has three children named Diana, Derek, and Daniel, all of whom have Omar as a middle name.
18. He’s been in two publicly serious relationships.
His first relationship with Melissa Del Valle lasted for one year. Although he was married to Guerrido for three years, the couple divorced in 2011.
19. He has several tattoos
Don Omar has several visible tattoos, including a totem pole on his right forearm, and the coat of arms of Puerto Rico on his left arm. Below the coat of arms, there’s a half-sleeve of intricately designed scrollwork.
20. He has a ton of different nicknames
Like Daddy Yankee, he calls himself El Rey. In fact, it was only in 2016 that the pair agreed to stop their feud and both accept the title. He’s also known as D.O., and the King of Kings. His social media profiles suggest that he’s recently started using the nickname Kong.
21. He announced his retirement in 2017
On Sept. 1, 2017, Don Omar announced that he would officially be retiring from the music industry after a series of concerts at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan. He even released a number of tickets that only cost 99 cents in an effort to ensure that anyone regardless of income could attend. Even though these November 2017 concerts were meant to be his last, he recently embarked on a collaboration with Bad Bunny- so it’s possible diehard fans will be able to see El Rey in concert again one day.