When you call yourself “the gods”, perfection is the bottom.
Photo: Anuel AA/YouTube
The 28-year-old was born just a few months apart in neighboring communities in the greater San Juan area of Puerto Rico urbano stars Ozuna and Anuel AA very different paths to international success. The son of veteran producer José Gazmey, who has worked with everyone from merengue star Elvis Crespo to the venerable salsa-fania all-stars, Anuel felt first-hand the stripes and duality in his hometown culture and experienced prejudice as a multiracial child of an Afro -Latino father and a white Puerto Rican mother and class segregation when Gazmey lost his job as a Sony record manager in the 2000s, destroying the family’s financial stability. Anuel found music and trouble alike in search of an end to his struggles, while Ozuna stayed off the streets and sang in a bar where he worked to help his grandmother, who took him in as a child (after his father, a Dancer). for early Latin American hip-hop star Vico C, was shot). While his grandmother was teaching spirituality, his uncle supported his musical education by giving Ozuna a microphone and exposing him to it reggaeton as the music jumped from local to international recognition in the 2000s.
The differences in the stories of Ozuna and Anuel are manifested in the music. Ozuna sells wistful, romantic tunes in a high, solitary chant; Anuel’s gruff tone suggests, and sometimes revels in, a palpable darkness. Ozuna’s debut album from 2017 odisee was the culmination of a long string of increasingly successful singles that typifies the coinage of a new commercial star; anuels Genuine Hasta La Muerte was written during a two-year stint in prison following a gun arrest in 2016 and was released on its first day in 2018. Ozuna rose to prominence in other markets with DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Mamacita.” as Anuel courted the drama and lent credibility to the reggaetón bombs on Tekashi 6ix9ine dummy boy and packing “Intocable,” a diss track aimed at rapper/singer Cosculluela, with enough homophobic, transphobic, and serophobic bile to warrant a long audience Excuse me just two days after publication. (Ozuna’s path hasn’t always been smooth either. In 2019, the singer revealed He was blackmailed over an explicit film he says was made when he was a minor. Queer Puerto Rican Trap Star Kevin Fret, who was alleged by local media to have blackmailed Ozuna, was killed in San Juan two weeks before the blackmail story broke. No connection to Ozuna was found.)
Now the two friends and frequent collaborators have said goodbye Los Diosestheir eagerly awaited album. Los Dioses catches Ozuna and Anuel at critical crossroads in both careers. Last year, Anuel showed a newfound versatility in his songwriting on his 90-minute opus Emmanueland Ozuna bounced back from 2019’s overhyped, undercooked Nibiru with the more confident and economically viable ENOC, although both albums have suffered, both from the inability to tour and the simple fact that the playing field changes under the two stars. With the three hit combination of X100Pre, Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Ganaand El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo, bad bunny has proven he’s the total package, a songwriter who’s broken free from the confines of the genre, who can pull off pop-punk and emo-trap jams with the same ease as reggaetón and latin trap-bangers, and his political awareness inspired him to advocate for Puerto Rico abroad and for justice for the LGBTQ community at home. j Balvin is now getting the crossover calls after enjoying hits with Cardi B, the Black Eyed Peas and Beyoncé. With last year’s 1 out of 1Panamanian singer Sech delivered a powerful piece for the R&B track. maluma made enough waves at the pop end to garner Madonna features and a spot in the upcoming Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Marry me. ONE new wave of Latin trap and drill stars awakens in New York City. The stakes are now higher for Ozuna and Anuel. If they don’t make an effort this year, they risk getting lost in the scrum.
However, the joint album is rare, which makes both parties fire from all tubes. The better tend to see the more dominant creative force in the duo as a pioneer. The bad ones fall short on both ends in the name of compromise. In this world you are either a Watch the throne or a What a time to be alive Kind of record – both great albums together, where as impressive as Drake and Jay-Z were in their writing, the stylistic cues came from Future and Kanye – or you are one Best of both worlds, where Jay and R. Kelly tried so hard to find a commercial middle ground that the resulting stench ridiculed the album’s ambitious title. Bad Bunny and J Balvins oasisthe current benchmark for collaborative albums in urbano music, stuck to the streamlined sound of Balvin albums rather than the lawlessness of Bunny. Los Diosesis unfortunately more of a Both worlds Scenario hampered by cookie-cutter songwriting, familiar with popular sounds but always upwind of them, pleasing on the surface but frequently hollow on closer inspection.
Quickly captured in Miami in October, as Florida nightlife facilities returned to full capacity on the (perhaps premature) order of Gov. Ron DeSantis and as a protracted lockdown at home in Puerto Rico continued, Los Dioses full of nostalgia for the sweaty, horny reverie of a night out on the town. “Antes,” the biggest of those songs reminiscent of simpler times, strikes early as the duo recalls a typical Friday night scene, all weed smoking, bottle service, women dancing and jealous eyes, and wishing for simplicity once more to live through Of everything. It’s a beautiful song that expresses what we’re all thinking, longing for the unpredictable unpredictability and mischief that many of us left behind in 2020 (for now) but avoids the depressing reasons why we miss it. The next two songs attempt to capture lightning in a bottle: “Dime Tú” reenacts love scenes from memory and “RD” revisits even more sexual encounters from the past. After a while you start smelling a formula. The women in these songs are two-dimensional, objects to crave, penetrate, dress in expensive linens, cheat on, and apologize to. She’s a textbook good girl, revealed by our protagonists, who will eventually tell her that she looks just as good in the designer look as she does outside. Los Dioses never challenges or questions the player’s mindset. The closest thing to a mea culpa is “Perfecto,” where Ozuna simply asks that his mistakes be ignored, and Anuel adds that he lost his ex the way Real Madrid lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, a laugh compared to the pain the two have proven able to convey in songs like “¿Los Hombres No Lloran?”. and “Amor Genuino”.
It’s not that Los Dioses is no fun. The menacing “La María” is a prime example of Anuel’s Latin trap excellence and a reminder that Ozuna kicks killer flows when he wants to. (The chorus — “Nos cayó la policía, boten la maría,” essentially “cops showed, ditch the weed” — is about the best line on the album.) Anuel pours out his heart on “Contra el Mundo” and rises the song “Me Against the World” message by giving voice to the love that drives him. “Perreo” offers the album’s best beat and simplest conceit in its ode to partying, twerking and horniness. “Nunca” contains the cleverest expression of the Beauty and the Beast Vibe that haunts all of the love songs on the album as Anuel compares a spirited, mismatched relationship to the brief stint in the early ’90s when Dennis Rodman and Madonna were a couple. There aren’t enough moments like this to find her Los Dioses, an album half full of solid melodies and half full of afterthoughts, where the joy of hearing Ozuna soar an octave above Anuel and as a rhymer on par with his peers is undercut by songwriting that falls short of the two of them. When you call yourself “the gods”, perfection is the bottom. how gods walk Los Dioses is Lokismart, perceptive, imaginative and funny, with a notable flop for each success.