About Anuel AA
By the time he walked out of a Miami prison in July 2018 after having served some 30 months on a weapons possession conviction, Puerto Rican singer and rapper Anuel AA was a bona fide star. A diehard-powered #FreeAnuel social media campaign set the table for the artist (born Emmanuel Gazmey Santiago in 1992, in Carolina, Puerto Rico), whose music release schedule never faltered, even during his incarceration. In fact, he recorded some of his debut album, Real Hasta la Muerte—a canonical entry in Latin trap—over the phone from behind bars, and its release coincided with his own.
Anuel was certainly on his way before the detour. In 2015, he caught the attention of Maybach Music Group lieutenant Spiff TV, who signed him and positioned him to be one of the flagship artists on MMG’s Latino arm. And his presence on hits like DJ Luian and Mambo Kingz's “La Ocasion,” Bryant Myers' “Esclava (Remix),” Pepe Quintana’s “Ella y Yo,” and his own “Sola (Remix)” with Farruko, Daddy Yankee, Wisin, and Zion & Lennox helped to not only lift his own star but the profile of Latin trap as a whole. By the time Real Hasta la Muerte came out, Latin trap was an uncontainable force.
Anuel’s path to stardom has been nothing if not unique, but it’s not as if he was unfamiliar with the mechanics of the industry altogether. His father, José Gazmey, got his start as a bass player on sessions with salsa legends Celia Cruz and Héctor Lavoe, and went on to become an executive at Sony Records in Puerto Rico. Anuel would see those family ties come full circle when he guested on Fat Joe’s “YES,” a song that samples Lavoe and Willie Colon's salsa classic “Aguanile.” The collaboration, which features Anuel rapping in Spanish while Cardi B and Joe bar up in English, is exemplary of how Anuel fits in best—by doing him.
HOMETOWNCarolina, Puerto Rico
BORNNovember 26, 1992