Reggaeton pioneer Daddy Yankee closing out career with a perfectly titled final album

A man wearing a suit and sunglasses hold up a music trophy
Daddy Yankee is honored with the Icon Award at the Latin American Music Awards at the Dolby Theatre in 2018.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

Reggeaton pioneer Daddy Yankee has a new album coming out. Then a tour. And apparently, that’s it.

Announcing his upcoming studio album — his first in 10 years — and an accompanying tour, the reggaeton star also said he’s retiring from music, according to an emotional video he posted Sunday night on his website.

The 45-year-old rapper has spent three decades in the industry and racked up global hits such as streaming record-breaker “Despacito” and “Con Calma.” He plans to release his final album, “Legendaddy,” on Thursday and embark on a North and South American tour in August.


“I’m going to put all the styles that have defined me in a single album: the fight, parties, war, romance,” the global superstar said in Spanish.

Yankee, born Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez, has had a remarkable career that drew on musical influences from Jamaica, Panama, New York and his native Puerto Rico, where reggaeton boomed and went global. His music finally hooked English-speaking audiences with the inescapable 2004 single “Gasolina,” which helped popularize a genre that was first shunned by traditionalist gatekeepers.

He has sold around 30 million records, according to his website, to become one of the best-selling Latin music artists. He’s also been nominated for four Grammy Awards and a number of Latin Grammys, though he and fellow artists J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Maluma spoke out in 2019 about the lack of reggaeton and representation in the latter awards show.

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Yankee’s hit singles include “Dura,” “Rompe,” “Limbo” and “Que Tire Pa Lante” and a number of tracks that he was featured on. His previous album, “Prestige,” was released in 2012, and in September 2020, he teamed up with Universal Music Group for a strategic global partnership that would encompass music, film and TV projects.

“This career, which has been a marathon, has to get to the finish line. Now I’m going to enjoy what you’ve given me and what we’ve given this genre,” he said in Sunday’s retirement video. “People say that I made it worldwide, but it was you who gave me the key to open the doors to make this genre the greatest in the world.”

The musician said his fans have enabled him to succeed and that has become the “greatest treasure” of his career. He said he would always work “as not to fail them” and to “inspire all the kids who dream of being leaders when they grow up, who do not think about limitations and who work for their families.”

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“In the neighborhoods where we grew up, most of us wanted the drug trafficker [life]. Today ... most want to be singers. That means a lot to me,” he added, also thanking fans and colleagues who have been with him “since the ground floor, from the roots, since the beginning of reggaeton.”

Daddy Yankee’s 41-date tour — fittingly titled La Última Vuelta (the Last Lap) — kicks off in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 10. From there he goes to San Jose, Calif., on Aug. 12 and makes his way to Los Angeles with a stop at the Forum in Inglewood on Aug. 13. (Tickets for that show go on presale March 28 at 10 a.m. Pacific.)

Daddy Yankee, in what could be his final West Coast appearance, will join Maluma, Anuel AA, Wisin Y Yandel, Farruko and Banda MS in Rosarito, Mexico.

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The tour will also hit Sacramento, Ontario, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and New York, with a number of stops in Canada and throughout Central and South America. He closes out the tour on Dec. 2 in Mexico City.

He will also headline the Baja Beach Fest — held in Rosarito Beach, Mexico — the weekends of Aug. 12-14 and Aug. 19-21.