Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
Ozuna Is Making Reggaeton Hits That Are Getting Global Attention
In a world where English dominates pop music charts, Ozuna is one of the artists blurring the lines of what defines a crossover. If defined by language, the Puerto Rican/Dominican rapper has some work to do, but if crossing over means having a strong presence in a country dominated by an English-language market, he's already there. The reggaeton star has been reaching the top of Latin charts the last couple of years with his infectious dance beats and romantic lyrics, breaking his own records, and selling-out back-to-back nights in U.S. venues. His songs may all be Spanish-language, but his debut album, Odisea, peaked No. 22 on the all-genre Billboard 200.
A U R A 8/18 pic.twitter.com/IIbOCNR20l
— Ozuna (@Ozuna_Pr) May 15, 2018
Really, Ozuna is a musical chameleon, adapting to genres like Latin trap and pop. His soft voice goes back and forth between rapping and singing in the style of Drake, and much like him too he is known for invading the romantic side of genres. Working with some of the leading producers in the reggaeton game, like Hi Music Hi Flo, the Afro-Latino is one of the faces of reggaeton's reemergence, priding himself on making positive, uplifting music with "real sentiment," as he says in his YouTube documentary. He's been featured on remixes with the likes of J Balvin, Nicky Jam and Bad Bunny.
He's caught the attention of English-language and international artists too. He can be heard as the vocal foundation of DJ Snake's star-studded electro reggaeton-inspired "Taki Taki" alongside Selena Gomez and Cardi B. Other collabs include one with Akon on "Coméntale" and song with Cardi B called "La Modelo."
Artist collabs and the internet have helped Ozuna build his global fanbase. In 2017, YouTube published a blog post crowning 2017 "THE year of Latin Music" and included Ozuna as one of the Latin artists whose content has seen a high number of views on the platform with 4.9 billion views across the platform. Spotify included "a unique vertical video" of "Taki Taki" during the launch of its Global X playlist, a part of their initiative to bring more attention to global music.
Learn more about Ozuna's sound:
"Taki Taki" DJ Snake Feat. Ozuna, Cardi B and Selena Gomez
"Taki Taki" has got everyone asking what it actually means. Although there hasn’t been a straight answer, when DJ Snake wanted to make a reggaeton song to get people dancing, he wanted to work with Ozuna. "I sent it to Ozuna and he crushed it," DJ Snake told Billboard. "You know, I'm a big fan of Ozuna and he crushed it…"
In one of his most romantic songs, "Tu Foto," Ozuna sings about a former flame, whose only memory he has left is a photograph. Although more mellow than his other songs, the song's vibe is upbeat. "I have your photo to drive me crazy/ Thinking of you, only you, my heart is broken," he sings.
"Dile Que Tu Me Quieres"
It's a forbidden kind of love in "Dile Que Tu Me Quieres." "I know your parents/ don't want me to be with you/ I don't know if it's because of my tattoos/ Or my lifestyle," he sings over a dembow beat. "Tell them you love me/ Don't pay attention to what they say/ We fall in love more everyday."
Ozuna teams up with Cardi B in this dancehall-inspired song that he started working on during his travels. Ozuna told Billboard that Cardi B was a little hesitant to sing one of her parts at first, but he convinced her to do it and the rest is history.