The Founder Of Reggaeton Was On His Way To Become A Pro Baseball Player
Daddy Yankee is arguably one of the most recognizable Latin music artists in the world. Since he dropped “Gasolina” in 2004, everyone has been paying attention to the Puerto Rican rapper and there’s a reason why. His collaboration with Luis Fonsi on the megahit “Despacito” launched him into super stardom in the mainstream and he isn’t slowing down yet.
The Latin music industry wouldn’t be where it is today without him, as he’s cited as the inspiration for so many of our favorite artists today, including Bad Bunny. Here are some facts about the musical icon that you might not know.
His real name is Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez.
That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with just calling him Daddy. It might be his stage name but he lowkey is a total daddy when you think about it. The swagger just drips off the man and people worldwide are getting caught up in his allure.
His stage name comes from Puerto Rican slang.
“Yankee” pretty much just means someone tall or a big shot. Daddy Yankee is 5’7″, so we’re going with the big shot guess. His other nicknames include King Daddy, el Jefe, y El Cangri. All seem more than suitable for the artist.
Daddy Yankee calls Río Piedras, Puerto Rico his home.
He was raised in the Villa Kennedy Projects and has said that music is the only reason he isn’t in prison or dead today. So many people have been saved by the arts and Daddy Yankee is a good example of the power funding arts programs can have.
Daddy Yankee was on his way to become a professional baseball player.
He tried out for a Major Leagues Baseball team, but of course, he’s always had a passion for music. While he was waiting to find out if he made the team, his career ended abruptly through no fault of his own.
Daddy Yankee was shot by a stray AK-47 bullet while outside a recording studio in Puerto Rico.
The bullet is still in his hip and he had to undergo serious physical therapy for almost two years to regain his mobility. The accident forced him to put all of his energy into his music because baseball was no longer a viable career.
He is the actual founder of Reggaeton.
No joke. Maybe other people messed around with that sound, but Daddy Yankee brought the world “Gasolina,” which changed everything. In an interview with Billboard.com, he swears that the “track is completely literal. It’s one of the most innocent songs I’ve ever written.”
His 2004 album “Barrio Fino” landed him his big break.
It was the first reggaeton album to ever reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin album chart, effectively bringing the genre into mainstream existence. The album became the top-selling Latin music album of the entire decade of the 2000’s. We all remember jamming to it at house parties in high school.
That was ten years ago. Today, he’s still topping charts in 14 different countries.
Reggaeton is alive and well with “Dura” nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Urban Song. All your friends have Google’d this and think we’re singing about something “hard”, but Becky G. and Natti Natasha know it’s just about how hot they are.
“Despacito” is the second most viewed music video in history.
Right behind Adele’s “Hello,” “Despacito” reached one billion views just 97 days after its release. If your 2016 Buena Noche didn’t end in a dance off between the cousins and the tías, then I don’t know what you were doing.
P.S. That’s his concert turn out in Albania.
Like a true watery Aquarius, Daddy Yankee was the first Latin artist to sign a deal with Reebok.
He turned that deal into another, and then another, with the launch of his own fashion line. By fashion I mean sneakers and caps. The 2006 line was called “DY”.
Daddy Yankee has been dabbling with Latin trap lately.
Daddy Yankee gave Bad Bunny a leg up with “Dura” and Bad Bunny helped him out with “Vuelve,” but rumor has it he released “Hielo” all on his own.
His collaborations are relevant.
He helped Camila Cabello remix “Havana” in Spanish.
Caption: “Camila y Ramón Ayala de un pájaro son las dos alas ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? @daddyyankee”
He starred as himself in 2008’s “Talento de Barrio.”
If you ever wanted a glimpse into what DY’s life was like growing up in a Puerto Rican housing project, now you have this loosely-based film of his life. Plus, it became the highest grossing Puerto Rican film ever. To this date.
He also guest-starred as himself in on six episodes of “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
Boy didn’t even take a crack at telenovelas. He just jumped straight into American CBS daytime series because he’s that crossover star.
Good luck finding a photo of him and his wife.
Daddy Yankee is extremely private in his personal life and considers it a hidden treasure from the public world. Mireddys González and him have been married for over 20 years and he likes to keep it that way.
He had his first daughter when he was just 17 years old.
Her name is Jesaaelys Marie and Daddy Yankee has been completely upfront in saying that it was very confusing to raise a child as a niño himself. He has two other children with his wife.
Daddy Yankee has never lost touch with his roots.
Daddy Yankee’s organization to improve education, college prep, and more to underserved kids in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia has earned him Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award for his humanitarian efforts. We’re here for it.
Daddy Yankee rarely goes public on his personal views, but after Hurricane Maria, he spoke up.
He donated $100,000 to the Food Bank of Puerto Rico immediately after the Hurricane passed through. The food was able to offer meals to around 9,000 families on the island.
Daddy Yankee was one of the participants in J.Lo and Marc Anthony’s “One Voice: Somos Live!”
While the Trump administration faltered to even acknowledge the true calamity and destruction that wept out the island, DY did something. He donated his talents, alongside J.Lo, Marc Anthony, Luis Fonsi and others to offer a charity concert televised on Telemundo, Univision and NBC.
Daddy Yankee is overall a stand up guy.
I mean, the guy used his rise to the top of world music to become a spokesperson for “Yo Limpio a Puerto Rico” to promote recycling in the late 2000’s. He’s never stopped making música sucia and I don’t care what he says about “Gasolina”–that is the dirtiest song he ever wrote.