Daddy Yankee

El Cartel: The Big Boss (Interscope)

It´s unfortunate that Daddy Yankee is the poster boy for reggaeton in this country. It´s even more unfortunate that he took this album as an opportunity to declare himself the Big Boss (of reggaeton, one would presume), mainly because the shortcomings of El Cartel: The Big Boss wouldn´t be as evident if not for such arrogance. He begins the album by saying without a trace of sarcasm ¨You know that I´m needed/You felt a void without me/There´s only one!¨ Yeah. OK, Daddy. Then there´s the chorus, which is simply, ¨The king is back.¨ In ¨En sus marcas, listo, fuera¨ (¨On your mark, get set, go¨),Yankee goes back to his bread and butter: high-energy reggaeton with references to street racing. It´s easily the best track, but it´s no high-octane ¨Gasolina.¨ The tune ¨Cambio¨ is second to board the lifeboat on this sinking album, which should have been called El Titanic. ¨Ella me levantó,¨ which is effective in conjuring a merengue hook and mambo, and ¨Fuera de control¨ are salvageable, but their ultra radio-friendly attitude make them indistinguishable from most reggaeton already on the air. After that, El Cartelhits the wall. If not for the guest appearances (Akon, Nicole the Pussycat Doll,, Hector ¨El Father,¨ and Fergie), the rest of the tracks could easily be confused for one excruciatingly long ode to lackluster lyrics and lackadaisical rhymes.

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