Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
Ozuna Is Making Reggaeton Hits That Are Getting Global Attention
Meet the Afro-Latino who is making global reggaeton/pop hits and selling out U.S. arenas
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.
Photo: Amy Lee
New Music Friday: Listen To New Songs From Andre 3000, Drake, Ozuna & More
From long-awaited debut albums to surprising singles, listen to these six new releases from Nov. 17.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, this New Music Friday offers us a feast of new sounds from some of the music industry’s biggest artists.
Country star Maren Morris teamed up with Teddy Swims for a passionate duet version of his song "Some Things I'll Never Know," while Steve Aoki & ERNEST paired up for an energetic dance/country crossver, "Us," from Aoki’s HiROQUEST 2: Double Helix.
American band Bleachers unleash their wild side with "Alma Matter," from their upcoming self-titled album dropping March 8, 2024. Meanwhile, alternative rock band Bad Suns released their catchy, six-track EP Infinite Joy. Across the pond, long-time British rockers Madness released their 13th album, Theatre Of the Absurd Presents C’Est La Vie.
With sultry sounds from R&B songstress Ari Lennox to mellow, indie rhythms from Dermot Kennedy to upbeat, radiant vibes from the duo Surfaces, this Friday brings a kaleidoscope of sounds from across every genre.
Along with the slew of releases mentioned above, press play on releases from the likes of André 3000, Drake, Ozuna, Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, Danny Brown, and Bibi and Becky G — and be sure to add some new sounds to your rotation.
André 3000 - New Blue Sun
If you’ve seen Andre 3000’s impromptu flute performances in the past few years, then the GRAMMY winner's new sound won’t come as a shock. On his eight-track debut solo album New Blue Sun, the Outkast member experiments with wind instruments and percussion, creating serene and melodic compositions.
Across eight elaborately titled tracks — "I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A "Rap" Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time" and "That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Registered Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control… Shyt Was Wild," — Andre details his artistic journey and the possibility of returning to rap music. Because, as Andre has told numerous outlets, New Blue Sun is not a rap album.
In the future, fans might see 3000 return to the rap universe but in the meantime, let’s enjoy the ambience of the blue sun.
Drake - For All The Dogs Scary Hours Edition
It’s not Scorpio season without a release from the scorpion king himself, Drake. In the latest installment of his Scary Hours series, Drake brought in a heavy-hitter lineup of producers including Lil Yatchy and Alchemist.
With songs surrounding themes of betrayal and broken trust (an the less-than-subtle chant "F— My Ex" more than 10 times in one song), For All The Dogs Scary Hours Edition shows how deep the Certified Lover Boy is in his feelings.
Drake brings out his Swiftie side in the track, "Red Button," shouting out Taylor Swift with lyrics "Taylor Swift the only n—- that I ever rated/ Only one could make me drop the album just a little later/ Rest of y’all, I treat you like you never made it." Seems that the big-ups and grudges heard on October's For All The Dogs translate to Scary Hours, too.
Ozuna - Cosmo
After receiving a nod for Best Reggaeton Performance and performing with David Guetta at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, Puerto Rican Singer Ozuna dropped his sixth album, Cosmo. Filled with soon-to-be dance floor staples, Cosmo highlights Ozuna's versatility.
Songs like "El Pin" and "La Chulita" are full of infectious dance and Afrobeats influences, yet stay true to his reggaeton roots. The 15-track record also includes collaborations with Jhayco, Chenco Corleone, Anuel and David Guetta.
"When you think of a colorful image, you think of youth. When people listen to this album, I want them to take it seriously," Ozuna said in an interview with the Fader. "People want to hear what’s real, what’s clear-cut, in black and white.”
The goal, he continued, is to allow "people to know who the real Ozuna is."
2 Chainz, Lil Wayne - Welcome 2 Collegrove
Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz have joined forces once again to release their second joint album, Welcome 2 Collegrove. The album’s title is a melding of 2 Chainz's hometown of College Park, Georgia, with Lil Wayne’s Hollygrove, Louisiana.
Welcome 2 Collegrove includes features from a cross-section of hip-hop and R&B greats, including Usher, 21 Savage, Rick Ross, Benny The Butcher and Fabolous. Tracks like "Presha" and "Long Story Short" bring back the duo’s classic rap sound from their 2016 project COLLEGROVE, and show their ability to create hip-hop anthems. The special guest artists add even more depth to their songs.
Danny Brown - Quaranta
After a four year break, Detroit rapper Danny Brown is back with his seventh album, Quaranta. A departure from his earlier, more club-centric music, the 11-track album offers a new perspective in Brown’s life.
Quaranta is a turning point in Brown's musical journey, where he reflects on themes of regret, self-destructive behavior, and growth. While songs like "Ain’t My Concern" and "Celibate" still include his signature flair of fast, high-pitched verses, this album takes on a more mature and introspective route.
Bibi feat. Becky G - "Amigos"
On "Amigos," South Korean singer Bibi teamed up with Latin star Becky G for a multicultural but ever-relatable track that focuses on being hung up on past lovers despite having someone new in their life. "I know we had a good time and that you always want more / But if my boyfriend calls, we’re just friends, nothing more," they sing in Spanish.
"Amigos" is rife with hip-hop influences — a genre Bibi loves.
"Expressing oneself through lyrics is so real and genuine," BIBI told AllKPop. "As I’m someone who wasn’t necessarily gifted with natural musical talent — I didn’t even know the difference between boom bap or trap beats until way later. I think the other factors of music organically followed as I grew as an artist."
Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images
Watch: Ozuna & David Guetta Unveil Their New Collab "Vocation" At The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs
Just before Puerto Rican star Ozuna released his new dance team-up with French DJ David Guetta, the pair lit up the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs stage for an inaugural performance of their collaboration.
The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs were a big night for Ozuna. Not only did the Puerto Rican superstar walk in a nominee — his viral hit with Colombian singer Feid, "Hey Mor," received a nod for Best Reggaeton Performance — but he was also just hours away from releasing his sixth album, Cosmo. And to top it all off, he took the stage to perform his new collab with French DJ David Guetta.
Ozuna first opened his performance with a sexy solo rendition of "Hey Mor." Reflecting the darker edge of his Cosmo album, he sang the song in all black leather with a team of female dancers.
The performance turned colorful when Guetta joined Ozuna from behind his DJ deck for "Vocation," premiering the new track for the first time before its arrival on Nov. 17. Through a thermal vision lens, Ozuna brought the party alongside his latest collaborator as sparks literally flew around them.
Ozuna is no stranger to exploring the EDM genre. In 2018, he scored the global hit "Taki Taki" with DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, and Cardi B. Earlier this year, Australian trio PNAU enlisted Ozuna and Bebe Rexha for their dance track "Stars." "Vocation" marked the first time that the two global acts collaborated, and the performance served as Guetta's Latin GRAMMY Awards debut.
The Latin Urbano star is also no stranger to the Latin GRAMMYs. A 15-time nominee, Ozuna has won two Latin GRAMMYs to date, thanks to "Yo x Ti, Tú x Mí," his collaboration with Spanish pop star Rosalía that won Best Urban Fusion/Performance and Best Urban Song in 2020.
Photos Courtesy of Artists
2023 Latin GRAMMYs Performers: Peso Pluma and Eslabón Armado, Juanes, Ozuna, Camilo, Iza And More Artists Added
Additional newly announced performers for the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs include Pablo Alborán, Edgar Barrera, Manuel Carrasco, BORJA, Natascha Falcão, GALE, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, and León Leiden.
The Latin Recording Academy has announced additional performers for the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs. Current nominees Pablo Alborán, Edgar Barrera, Camilo, Manuel Carrasco, Iza, Juanes, and Ozuna along with Best New Artist nominees BORJA, Natascha Falcão, GALE, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, and León Leiden are confirmed to take the Latin GRAMMY stage. Additionally, Eslabón Armado and Peso Pluma will join forces to perform "Ella Baila Sola" for the first time together on television.
These artists join previously announced 2023 Latin GRAMMYs performers Maria Becerra, Bizarrap, Feid, Kany García, Carin León, Christian Nodal, Rauw Alejandro, and Alejandro Sanz, who are all current nominees, as well as the 2023 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, Laura Pausini
Latin GRAMMY winner and GRAMMY nominee Sebastián Yatra; Latin GRAMMY nominees and actresses Roselyn Sánchez and Danna Paola; and internationally acclaimed actress Paz Vega will host the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards.
Pablo Alborán has five nominations including Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Edgar Barrera is nominated in 13 categories including Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Camilo is nominated in seven categories this year, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Manuel Carrasco is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, while Iza is nominated for Best Portuguese Language Urban Performance. Juanes is nominated in four categories including Album of the Year and Best Rock Song.
Taking place internationally for the first time ever, the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will be broadcast from the Conference and Exhibition Centre (FIBES) in Sevilla (Seville) in Andalucía (Andalusia), Spain, on Thursday, Nov. 16. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) on Univision, UniMás and Galavisión in the U.S., and at 10:30 p.m. CET on Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) in Spain. Additional international broadcasting partners and local airings will be available soon.
The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will see the debut of several new Latin GRAMMY categories and a new Field, including Best Songwriter Of The Year, as part of the newly created Songwriting Field, Best Singer-Songwriter Song and Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance. These new additions and amendments will make the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs an exciting, history-making night in Latin music.
More details about the Latin GRAMMY Premiere, where the majority of the Latin GRAMMY categories will be awarded, will be announced soon.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.