Nicky Jam with Teleshow: “I want people to dance and the essence of reggaeton doesn’t go away, but we can’t pigeonhole ourselves”

San Juan, Puerto Rico, January 2002. Although the idea was to build two motorcycles on fire, they could barely get them a pair of somewhat dilapidated electric skateboards. The manager aired with the person in charge of the vehicles, to the level of putting a gun on his forehead so that he would move and obtain what had been required of him. But they thought it was nice to go through the two brothers bridge, cement arm that unites the elegant community of Condado with the traditional San Juan Antiguo. Then, Nicky Jam Y daddy yankee They smiled at the representative and asked him to put the gun down, which was fine.

This is how they are seen in the video for “En la cama”, at this point an absolute classic of the first global wave of reggaeton and which belongs to Nicky’s first album, making escante (2001). Quarrelsome and arrogant, they act to the eye of the camera that travels in the bed of a truck and captures them while they rap that rhyme as insolent as it is indelible: “I want the bus complete: chocha, ass, tit”.

When teleshow asks Nicky Jam -born 41 years ago as Nick Rivera Caminero in Massachusetts, United States – his most vivid memory of The Cangris, the sensation duo that he formed with his “brother” DY, your mind travels 20 years back. “The first image that comes to mind when you say Los Cangris is when we were making that video, on the bridge, with the two bicycles. That’s the moment when I said, ‘Wow, these guys are two crazy’”, he recalls and laughs at himself and his half. “It was an epic moment in our history,” he says.

At the same time, when considering what he thinks is his definitive song, he mentions it. “because you always need the bus complete”, he laughs again, now mischievously. “It’s 20 years old and it still sounds great if you put it together with today’s songs. And besides, it is the song that revolutionized the streets, reggaeton. I would love to know how ‘The Complete Combi’ would be heard in the next century”, adventure from Miami, via Zoom, in a specially assembled set. Although he looks and sounds quite relaxed, almost bored with the routine of attending the press, his left leg goes in another direction: unstoppable and anxious against the floor, giving short and constant heels with his white sneakers.

If we talk about songs with Nicky Jam, better to return to this present. He has a new one in his hands, called “Red Eyes” and it is the first preview of his next album, to be released this year and for which he promises to be working on “styles of music that I had never done”. “We did it a couple of months ago. It has a tasty rhythm, a choir that you have to sing and that is very catchy, it has an intro parapel. It has that color that people like from Nicky Jam, like the song ‘El Perdon’ or ‘The Lover’“, describe the reggaeton in the third person and puts it at the height of hits from his repertoire.

What you’re going to hear on my next album is nothing like ‘Red Eyes’”, he trusts. “I don’t know if ‘Ojos Rojos’ falls like reggaeton or like a pop song, I don’t even know what to put on it. I let people put the label of the music style. It fascinates me and I feel that it has that essence of Nicky Jam: what made people fall in love with Nicky Jam, that song has it”, he insists on this story that talks about the tears that distort a girl’s eyes after a fight for the umpteenth time with her boyfriend. And from a narrator – presumably Nicky – who postulates himself as a hero who would not hesitate a second to draw to defend her.

I’m not a thug like I used to be, but if he gets rough, let him put up with it / And if he comes back and controls you one more time, I’ll go out with you and the gun…”, he sings at the same moment in which a percussion dirty which gives another texture to the theme. The personal past also intersects there (see the series Nicky Jam: The Winner) and the present clean of the artist. Pointing out that detail, Nicky stretches and sits back in his chair. “I liked that you realized that! I think that’s my favorite part of the song. There, the percussion changes to one more reggaetonera, more street. It has been an urban reggaeton, more commercial, but when it gets to that part (sings): ‘I’m not a thug like before’, the battery gets heavier“, Explain.

—How do you get involved in the production decisions of your songs?

—I always like to put my inputI like being part of the productions. This song already had everything ready, but when I heard that part, I thought of the drums he used bad bunny on that track (sings “Yonaguni”): “Shorty has a very big ass…”. Those drums are very classic reggaeton from Puerto Rico. So I told my producer to give me those batteries, because all those batteries are in a bookstore. That already exists, it was used for thousands of old school songs. So we put it in this part and it was perfect, because you can feel the street. gives like that feeling and then back again to the commercial song. It was a production idea of ​​mine, with me putting my street flavor, my old school.

“And the letter?” How is it for you today to sing about scenes from your troubled past?

-This song was written by a boy named Vincent Boat (vibarco), the corduroy he is very talented, he has made several successes in the genre. He introduced it to me, I loved it and we got into it. Clear, I’m not the crazy I was before, but if you get rough… do your thing to make it last! (Serie). Don’t mess around with the baby, the baby still has it. One leaves the street, but the street never leaves one.

—You just said that in this new song you used a very visited element in the history of reggaeton. So, where do you think the challenge of continuing to make this genre passes today?

—One cannot get stuck in one style of music. One has to make songs that are pleasing to people’s ears. Yes Raww (Alexander) would not have been carried away by his instinct to bring out a song like “Todo de tí”, and would have been carried away by that reggaeton mentality, he would not have had that great success that helped him and made him the star he is today in day. I don’t have those rules. I love reggaeton and I will always push for reggaeton. I am the architect of this music, I come from the old guard. But I say that music is music, let’s make music, let’s not get stuck, let’s not pigeonhole ourselves into what is pop and what is reggaeton, what is commercial, what is not commercial… Because if Farruko I would have released “Pepas” at a time when reggaeton was underground, and he would have shown it to his friends, maybe they wouldn’t give it to him and told him not to take it out. And look at the great success he got. Yes, we do want the essence of reggaeton. Yes, we want people to dance and not leave the essence of reggaeton. But we cannot pigeonhole ourselves into a style as such, an artist has to do everything. You have to release music that makes your skin crawl, that people like regardless of the style, simply going where the energy of the track, of the instrumental, takes me, do you understand me?

“You have to put out music that makes your skin crawl, that people like regardless of style,” says Nicky Jam (Courtesy: Sony Music)

—The “BZRP Music Sessions #41″ is perhaps the biggest success of your last few years. When was the first time you heard of Bizarrap and what was it like working with him?

-The first time I heard him was with Nathy Peluso, I saw that video and I loved it. I remember I was in a building Mark Anthony, we were sharing… He had that on the speaker and I was like, “What is this?” The video was a normal thing, in a recording studio, with a light… Something I had never seen before. It had never occurred to me to collaborate with him, until my manager proposed it to me. And I said: “Pffff, let’s go”. We met in Miami, we did the setting that he had in his study. Many people thought that I went to Argentina to record, that I would have loved it, but no. And it was spectacular. I did not know that it was going to stick so much, it was crazy. That song is a phenomenon and I love it because I showed all my facets: how I rap, how I sing, I rap in English, in Spanish… I did everything and they gave it to me, which is incredible, because the public of Bizarre He doesn’t listen to just any music, he’s very selective. With this I made myself known and respected as an MC before the new wave of Argentina, which has incredible talent. that they have seen this old man 40-year-old who heard that rhythm and broke it into songs, for me it is a blessing.


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