Name: Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez
Nickname: Daddy Yankee, The King of Reggaeton, El Cangri, The King, The Big Boss, El Jefe, King Daddy
Birth Date: February 3, 1977 (Age 43)
Occupation: Singer, Songwriter, Rapper, Actor and Record Producer
Net-Worth: $30+ Million
Spouse: Mireddys González (married in 1994)
Children: Yamilet Ayala González, Jeremy Ayala González, and Jesaeelys Ayala González
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Today, Success Titan presents to you the King of Reggaeton and one of the best-selling Latin musicians. He went from being an aspiring professional baseball player to being the most well-known Latin singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer, who has been in the music industry for nearly three decades.
With his passion, talent, and discipline, he has accumulated an estimated fortune of US $30 million. I’m Marcia Williams from the Success Titan, and this is Daddy Yankee’s story.
Born as Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez on February 3, 1977, in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, and was raised in the Villa Kennedy Housing Projects neighborhood. He was born to a mother who was a manicurist and father who was a percussionist.
Under the influence of Puerto Rico’s musical culture as well as his family, he has been singing since he was young. The streets of his neighborhood, Villa Kennedy Housing Projects, was where he began to rap as a young adolescent.
Career & Hustle
Daddy Yankee never saw music as his first career choice. He was aspiring to become a professional baseball player. El Jefe advanced with music during one year he was recovering from being shot in the hip.
He first appeared on the DJ Playero’s Mixtape, Playero 34, with the song So’ Persigueme, No Te Detengas in 1991. Yankee released his first official studio No Mercy as a solo artist on April 2, 1995, under White Lion Records and BM Records in Puerto Rico.
During the 1990s, Daddy Yankee was on several of DJ Playero’s underground mixtapes, one of the first reggaeton songs produced. People acknowledge DJ Playero and Daddy Yankee for coining Reggaeton as a description of their music style on the album Playero 36 in 1994.
In 1997, Yankee collaborated with the rapper, Nas. In 2000, Daddy Yankee and Nicky Jam formed an unofficial duo and released several successful singles together but broke apart in 2004 due to creative differences and personal issues. By 2001, Yankee’s success was in only Puerto Rico, and not the rest of Latin America.
The Turning Point
El Cangri.com was released in 2002, becoming Daddy Yankee’s first album to reach international success. It obtained coverage in the markets of New York City and Miami. The album spoke about the different social issues of the era, mentioning 9/11, corruption and religion.
The year 2003 was where Yankee collaborated for the first time with the prestigious reggaeton producer Luny Tunes on the album Mas Flow. He achieved commercial success with the song Cógela Que Va Sin Jockey (a.k.a. Métele Con Candela), and Mas Flow 2.
Success Knocks on Daddy Yankee’s Door
Yankee’s highly anticipated next album Barrio Fino was produced by Luny Tunes and DJ Nelson and was released in July 2004 by El Cartel Records and VI Music. Barrio Fino had a combination of Reggaeton and other genres that were appealing to the English-speaking market.
The album came with an international tour in numerous countries, including Latin America, and the United States. The album has sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone and has sold well throughout Latin America and worldwide.
In 2005, Daddy Yankee won several international awards, which made him one of the most recognized Reggaeton artists within the music industry. The album’s success allowed him to receive promotional contracts with radio stations and soda companies, such as Pepsi and Reebok.
His hit single Gasolina got eight nominations and won seven awards in the Premios Juventud. The commercial success of Yankee’s hit single Gasolina in the United States led to the creation of a new radio format and a Billboard chart: Latin Rhythm Airplay.
On April 30, 2006, Daddy Yankee was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time. The magazine said 2 million copies of the album Barrio Fino got sold. Yankee had a $20 million contract with Interscope Records.
Daddy Yankee was awarded the Industry Leader Award at the 2016 Latin Billboard Awards, on April 28, 2016. In 2017, Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi released their hit single Despacito. The single became the first Spanish-language song to hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since Macarena in 1996.
On YouTube, the official video for Despacito received its billionth view on April 20, 2017, after just 97 days, becoming the second-fastest video to reach the milestone behind Adele’s Hello. Its success has led Yankee to become the most listened artist worldwide on the streaming service Spotify in June 2017 and is the first Latin artist to achieve this.
In August 2018, Daddy Yankee collaborated with Janet Jackson on her return to music on the song Made For Now.
3 Lessons We Can Learn from Daddy Yankee’s Story
- Stay Unique
When El Jefe began his music career, he described his music as Reggaeton. His music has influenced artists who are currently in the industry, such as J Balvin.
His unique genre of music gained him fans. He did not have to change who he was to appeal to the mass audience. His uniqueness made him the King of Reggaeton, one of the best-selling Latin artists and the most listened to Latin artist on Spotify.
- Be Proud Of Your Heritage
Yankee is very proud of his culture. He has romanticized the “el barrio” and raps in his native language, Spanish. Even as a famous artist in Latin music, he continues to sing in his native tongue. He is giving power and representing the Latinx community.
There are several other influencers in the Latinx community. And they have considerable influence in Latin America and also the rest of the world. His album Barrio Fino includes several genres that have echoed with the people of Latin America and were very appealing to the rest of the world.
- There Are Always Second Chances
El Jefe got a second chance at making himself known as an icon. His passion for music has turned into a successful career. Yankee has said that music has saved him. Without music, he would’ve been dead or in jail. His music career was like fate or destiny.
5 Success Tips From Daddy Yankee
- Stay Humble
Daddy Yankee thanked Jesus and Puerto Rico when he was awarded the Icon Award at the 2018 Latin American Music Awards. And he concedes that he is a human being like everyone else. Yankee feels gratitude and is blessed for his achievements and his fans. He has admitted that his wife was the reason for his success.
Humbleness allowed for El Jefe to better improve his artistry. Being humble is an essential trait we should all continue to practice. Be grateful for what you have achieved. Discarding entitlement is something we should learn from Daddy Yankee, to continue achieving success.
- Work Hard and Be Determined
El Jefe says that he was disciplined and persevered through the difficulties faced at the beginning of his career. He worked hard to get awarded the Icon Award. He worked hard to become the most listened to Latin artist on Spotify. He worked hard to have three or more songs to reach a billion or more views on Youtube. And to have an album that was placed number one on the Latin chart.
Working hard and being determined is something that we all need to apply to all spheres of our lives.
- Work Towards Your Dreams
Daddy Yankee says he was a dreamer and desired to become an icon. He became an icon by working hard to complete his goals. Yankee spoke about three decades of sacrifice, so he can never fail his fans.
We all are dreamers. Daddy Yankee has set an example for us to complete our goals. So we can get to the next step of achieving our dreams, it is not impossible.
- Be Your Own Boss
Daddy Yankee said music is a bet, he was taking risks with his career. No radios were playing his music in the early 1990s. Yankee created opportunities for himself. He includes himself in the process of creating his music and producing it. Yankee has no middle man, he presents himself and negotiates deals in the best interest for himself. The label he is signed to does the distribution and positioning.
- Keep Up with Your Audience and New Tools
Social media plays a significant role for artists when advertising their music. Yankee said that he is taking advantage of all platforms to promote his music, for example, Musical.ly. He acknowledges that the current generation loves content. He uses social media to engage with his fans alongside traditional media, such as radio.
He sees the importance of social media and the digital age and is taking advantage of it. Yankee suggests that we formulate our movements through the digital revolution as a way to engage with your audience.
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Daddy Yankee
1. Yankee was the first Latin artist to ever sign a promo deal with Reebok.
2. He was named “Latino of the Year” by Harvard University.
3. Daddy Yankee only uses organic extra-virgin olive oil on his skin.
4. He holds 10 Guinness World Records.
5. In 2010, he guest-starred as himself on six episodes of the CBS daytime series, The Bold and the Beautiful.
6. He endorsed John McCain for President in 2009.
7. In 2009, Yankee was the recipient of Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award for his humanitarian work with his charity, Corazón Guerrero.
10 Quotes From Daddy Yankee
- I’m not a machista that tells his girl what she has to put on. I let her be herself.
- I know how to read people. When you grow up in a rough environment, you have to have a sixth sense.
- I would rather be the tail of a lion than the head of a mouse.
- The best way to help the Latino community is to give back. I love giving back; I’m quiet about God and what I do, but we do a lot in the Dominican Republic.
- Getting your education is an advantage you have.
- I feel so much pride to represent my community and be Latino. No doubt about it, above my career and sales being a Latino comes first.
- “Limbo” has been one of the greatest hits of my career. A great response all over the world, not just Latinos but people in Europe and America.
- When I talk about the Internet, it’s because young people are there. TV and radio are still what moves the masses, and you can’t ignore that. But you also have to feed that monster that grows daily, which is the Internet.
- We took dancehall and hip-hop and mixed it in the middle. I knew we had something. I thought, ‘This sound is Puerto Rican sound.’
- Any club is important. All Latin music movements are born in clubs. There is no better research than going to a club. If your music works, it will bounce up.
Daddy Yankee has created a successful career for himself. It’s shocking to think we may not have had a Daddy Yankee, but fortunately, fate has blessed us with one of the creators of Reggaeton. He is an innovator and a trend-setter, he is the most listened to Latin artist on Spotify because of his boss-attitude and resilience.
He has created a large amount of success for himself. And, it could continue as Latin music gets more exposure and more listeners, due to streaming online.
Your Take-Away for Today
Now that you know how Daddy Yankee made it, what can you apply in your life from what he has done?
I believe one of the most prominent takeaways that we can learn is to do the things you would like to. You could be the next leader in your community or the world. Life is a journey we all must embark on, and we should all make the best of that journey.
Well, that’s just my personal opinion, what do you think instead? Comment below!
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- Melendez, A., 2019. Daddy Yankee: A Five-Step Guide for Gringos. Miami New Times. Available at: https://www.miaminewtimes.com/music/daddy-yankee-a-five-step-guide-for-gringos-8647384.
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