Reggaeton isn’t that old in the grand scheme of things, but there is an industry-wide aspiration for the heyday of early perreo, which was encouraged in black communities in Puerto Rico in the 90s and 2000s. Artists from Bad Bunny to Rauw Alejandro paid homage to the sounds of their predecessors, reminding listeners that there is a lot of history to dig despite the genre’s relative youth. But while the new acts had to dig deep to capture the returning energy everyone is looking for, some veterans have been around long enough to tap into their past to shape the present.
Puerto Rican rapper Yandel, for example, started making music with the duo Wisin y Yandel over two decades ago. He was in his twenties when he started working with Tainy, a production prodigy whose beats were so loud he was signed to hitmakers Luny Tunes when he was just 15. A decade and a half later, Tainy is one of the most ubiquitous producers. on the global pop landscape, overseeing tracks for Bad Bunny and Selena Gomez, while Yandel claims a prolific career that has eschewed complacency, thanks to an openness to new styles (unexpected entries in his recent catalog include sad-boy trap on Eladio Carrion’s track ‘nightclub’). Despite how active they have been over the years, Yandel and Tainy have repeatedly returned to each other’s orbit – and on Dynasty, an agile eight-song project, they team up again to celebrate their longtime collaboration.
In an age when reggaeton release seems overworked, resulting in albums that can end up crowded and overloaded, Tainy and Yandel go for simplicity – a ’boutique’ approach, like Yandel Put the recently – this is serving the project well. (The leanness of the LP recalls the joint album of Bad Bunny and J Balvin Oasis from summer 2019.) Dynasty starts with the audio of the duo claiming to have won a sports championship, a framing device that is not needed at all, but the momentum picks up once the music arrives. “El Plan” and “Háblame Claro” are more robust, dance catchy pieces reminiscent of the beginnings of reggaeton in club. Overall, however, Dynasty is more forward-looking than nostalgic. Tainy’s production is crisp, spacious and crystal clear; he bends atmospheric synths and vibrant loops to punchy beats on songs such as “Cámara Lenta” and “Buscando Calor” examples of how he has taken the skeleton of reggaeton and constantly transformed it over the years .
Dynasty only has two featured artists, and both choices are intentional. Rauw Alejandro, the rising star whose recent album Vice versa rocketed to the top of the charts this month, delves into the slow groove of “Una Más” and adds dimension to Yandel’s verses with his ability to ramp up. The addition illustrates Yandel and Tainy’s desire to join forces with artists ready to carry the torch afterwards. On ‘Si Te Vas’, Brooklyn-born Guyana-raised rapper Saint Jhn rhymes in Spanish and English on Tainy’s laid-back afrobeat riff – a hint of the cross-cultural and global way Tainy sees the future of reggaeton. .
Old-school touches throughout ground the imagination of the project. Tainy has a penchant for expanding her outros and sprinkling them with surprise flourishes. In the last moments of “Deja Vu”, a star of the album, Yandel lets out some songs of “tra, tra, tra”, an ode to the iconic hit of the late 90s by Puerto Rican rapper Don Chezina. It’s a detail that lasts no more than a few seconds, but it’s a brief glimpse into the state of the genre, before the duo continue to push themselves to new horizons.