Viva el Perreo

Jowell & Randy

Viva el Perreo

“With ‘Safaera,’ Bad Bunny opened a door for us to show a new generation what classic reggaetón was all about,” Jowell tells Apple Music about the YHLQMDLG collaboration with his partner Randy that proved instrumental in redefining the long-standing duo. “Classic” is a word they both use frequently when discussing their uncompromising view of reggaetón as music for the streets with roots in the underground. But another adjective that comes up almost as often is “futuristic.” From that balance between genre loyalty and a desire to move forward, these 14 new songs crown Jowell & Randy as contemporary kings of additive-free perreo. For Viva el Perreo, they recruited some crucial collaborators, including Bad Bunny and star producer DJ Orma, as well as DJ Blass and Don Omar, two pioneers they pay tribute to with the joyful sincerity of fandom. “We represent an intermediate school in reggaetón,” Jowell explains. “It’s not the new school, because there’a a generation after us, but it’s not the old school either, because we still give the likes of Vico C and Daddy Yankee the huge respect they deserve.” Read on as the duo elaborate on their particular journey back to the future, one song at a time.
Tóxicos Randy: “It’s about relationships today, but we wanted to give it a funny twist that would grab your attention. Social media is definitely a factor in toxic behavior. We had never worked with Orma before. He has a very classic swing and a very classic way of doing reggaetón, but he sounds modern at the same time. Bad Bunny wrote the lyrics, which is another first for us. We hadn’t worked with new people for a while. Like we were back in the day, they are a little bit ahead of everybody else. They really helped us to develop this new flow, which we kind of already had, but we needed a jolt from different minds with a different color.”
Bien Arrebatao (feat. Miky Woodz) Jowell: “This is a classic-feeling reggaetón track on an album that is quite classic. It goes back to different eras that were really interesting to us and that maybe the new generation doesn’t know too well. To me, it sounds like a throwback to the glory days of Plan B, who have these really sexual, very explicit choruses. Miky Woodz makes it unique when he blends that old-school feel with the freshness of his flow and his lyrics. It’s like a new kind of reggaetón.”
Perriando Randy: “Here’s another one written by Bad Bunny and produced by Orma. This is the romantic side of Jowell & Randy. The song starts by making you a cozy bed in the middle of all the perreo, with a little piano and a pretty melody. Then it moves into a super banging perreo that you weren’t expecting. That’s where we let go of all the depression and all the tears from the first part and go straight to happiness and success. The lyrics are about moving forward and letting go of the things that are holding you back—your relationship, your friends, whatever it is. It’s also about ourselves and everything we had to get over in this business, all the bad stuff people were saying about us because of how we dressed or the things we were doing. All that stuff, we took it and transformed it into what the genre is today. We’ve been at it for decades now. People like Daddy Yankee or us came out with a sound that a lot of people thought was shit, but we kept going because we had so much faith. Plus this music rescued so many of us from the streets.”
Si Se Tiran (feat. Don Omar) Jowell: “Don Omar was a big favorite when we started out. We grew up in awe of him and we had always wanted to do something with him. We’ve collaborated with pretty much all of the real heavyweights: Daddy Yankee, Wisin & Yandel, Ivy Queen, Tego Calderón, J Balvin, and many, many others. But we were missing Don Omar. He shared a few ideas with us in the studio, and this is the one that we liked best, because it represents the streets, the real reggaetón from the days of Don. This is the Don Omar that we wanted to hear because we are huge fans. The beat is brutal, it appeals to what we call malianteo in Puerto Rico: street life. His lyrics are pure fronting, like ‘we are the best’ and ‘no one can stop us,’ that self-esteem thing. It’s going to be a hit in the street and a hit in the clubs. People have been waiting a long time for it.”
Hoy Se Chicha Jowell: “Hoy se chicha is Puerto Rican slang for ‘sex tonight.’ There’s a lot of dirty language in the lyrics, but it sends out a happy message.” Randy: “This is like lounge perreo, with a really soft, tasty vibe. We sound fierce on it, rapping hard as if we were doing dembow, but the track itself is very mellow, as if we were on a Caribbean beach with some choice ladies. I like the fact that this showcases the new Jowell & Randy raising up the bar and doing something different. DJ FERMIN produced it and Bad Bunny wrote the parts that Jowell sings. You can tell that there’s more than one mind behind it giving it different colors. Our lyrics, Bunny’s, the beat…it all merges beautifully.”
A Mí Sí Me Gusta (feat. Barbie Rican) Randy: “‘A Mí Sí Me Gusta’ is reggaetón for 2021, with futuristic sounds and a different swing. Here we take Jowell & Randy’s style and we take the vocals to a new level. We sound young, hungry, with a lot of fire. We loved singing over the beat, which is pretty fast, almost like a Dominican dembow but still reggaetón made in Puerto Rico by Puerto Ricans. I don’t think anyone has ever heard this particular way of rapping and throwing in the verses before. It’s still something you can sing and dance to, but the way we fit the lyrics over the beat is really fresh. When I think of a video, I imagine a very cold place, with icebergs and everything, and us singing in the snow.” Jowell: “Barbie Rican sings in the chorus. She’s a new artist, but she already has a big following in the genre. This is the first time we’ve done a perreo track with a woman. That’s another one we crossed off the list.” Randy: “She doesn’t have the most angelic voice in the world, so she’s exactly what we wanted.”
La Pega Cuernos Randy: “This is a song I could have never come up with. I’ve come up with all kinds of things, but nothing like this. It’s really funny. It sounds like a real serious reggaetón, but the story is like a scene out of some comedy. Bad Bunny wrote the lyrics and we recorded it with Orma, same as ‘Tóxicos.’ Here we are riding a very forward-looking beat, with the new kids but staying true to the essence of classic reggaetón. It sounds like a track from the days of DJ Blass, and I like that. There are very few people who can produce for us this way, with the vision that these kids have. This is from the roots; it’s pure, unadulterated reggaetón but taken to a futuristic level, like 2021. It’s DJ Blass for the future—dirty perreo, straight from the streets but classy.”
Anaranjado (feat. J Balvin) Jowell: “‘Anaranjado’ balances the album a little bit. This is a very clubby record from beginning to end, and we needed something more commercial, with a piano and a sweet melody. This is classy reggaetón, the kind that J Balvin does so well and feels comfortable with. The idea came from Keityn, a top songwriter who worked with Arcángel and Sech [on ‘Sigues Con Él’], among many others. We loved it the minute we heard it. I’m happy that we could fit it in such a dance-oriented album. It gives your ears a rest, and it’s something you can enjoy in a different way.”
Apaga la Luz Randy: “Another perreo by Jowell & Randy. Big perreo. Quality perreo. There’s something special in it. It’s heavy reggaetón for the dance floor, for people that like to let loose. It’s the perfect song to see if they installed the right sound system in your car, if you’re going to get the ladies in or you’re just going to make a fool of yourself. At the end you can hear De La Ghetto almost hidden behind the music, and it works as an intro to the next song. This actually started as a long song that we broke in two. The whole record is designed so that one song blends into the next one, like a DJ set.”
Reggaetón HP (feat. De La Ghetto) Randy: “Jowell & Randy and De La Ghetto have never failed on a reggaetón track. Fifteen years later, we still have the same intensity and the same fire. It’s like going back to ‘Triple X’ and ‘Un Poco Loca,’ but with the kids all grown up, a really strong friendship behind us and a proven brotherhood there. That’s what the song means to me: loyalty to what we always wanted to do and have always been proud of, despite the dirty language. This is the shit in Puerto Rico. It’s true-blue reggaetón, and it’s always an honor to have De La Ghetto.”
La Golda Jowell: “We grabbed part of ‘La Gorda Budusca,’ a Maicol & Manuel song that was on [1994’s cassette-only compilation] The Noise Underground Original, Vol. 1. It’s pure ’90s Puerto Rican reggaetón that we wanted to bring into 2020 with Urba & Rome, who are two of the dopest producers right now. Jowell & Randy is a little bit like an evolution of Maicol & Manuel. Our roots are in that underground era.” Randy: “This is my kids’ favorite song on the album.”
Se Acabó la Cuarentena (feat. Kiko El Crazy) Randy: “Dominican dembow is such a good rhythm, and we wanted to give it that club vibe. Kiko El Crazy is family to us. He represents the new school in the Dominican Republic. That’s something that we always do, get together with new guys to keep Jowell & Randy fresh as well as to show our support.” Jowell: “We recorded the song to celebrate the end of the quarantine, when people couldn’t wait to get out, and now the virus is spreading again and we’re all locked up like before. Sometime soon people will dance to it in the clubs and celebrate. That’s for sure.”
Latigazo Randy: “This is another one to test the subwoofer in your car, to turn the stereo up. The lyrics are about fighting everything that gets in your way.” Jowell: “Like ‘La Golda,’ this one was produced by Urba & Rome. We had always wanted to work with them because they are some of the best in the genre. It’s one of my favorites, with killer bass and everyday street stuff in the lyrics.”

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