#7DJ (7 Días En Jamaica)
When Papi Juancho dropped amid the late-summer doldrums of 2020, many saw it as a return to raunchy form for Maluma. Reuniting with the Rude Boyz as his producers, the Colombian superstar seemed to turn his back, at least temporarily, on the luxurious pop and arena balladry of its full-length predecessor 11:11. Yet if his fans have learned anything from the man behind worldwide smash hits like “Felices los 4” and “Hawái,” it’s to expect the unexpected. Timed with his 28th birthday, the surprise release of #7DJ once again presents the artist in a new light—in this case the Caribbean sunshine. Recorded in Jamaica with a mix of local musicians and studio familiars, this seven-track mini-album puts him in touch with reggaetón’s origins while exploring the roots and dancehall vibes prevalent in the island’s fruitful sounds. On “Tónika,” he connects with reggae royalty in Ziggy Marley, yielding a breezy bilingual duet that combines the organic and the electronic in extravagant fashion. No doubt enjoying the freedom of these sessions, Maluma indulges in “Agua De Jamaica” and the delectable R&B thump of “Chocolate.” When he fully commits to the live band experience, as on the exceptional “Desayun-Arte,” he leaves no doubt of the expansive effectiveness of his artistic range.