In an Apple Music interview breaking down his 2020 album ENOC, Ozuna described the inspiration behind a track called “El Reggaetón.” But wait—reggaetón? Wasn’t that more of, like, a 2000s term? Maybe. But just remember how long it took for the world to learn it. “We insisted and insisted,” Ozuna said, speaking in translation. “And now we’re going to take it away when people have managed to catch it? We can’t.” Alongside collaborators Bad Bunny and J Balvin, Ozuna represents a wave of young artists helping shepherd Latinx pop from specialty market into the global mainstream while staying firmly rooted in the places and sounds they came from.
Born Juan Rosado in San Juan, in 1992, Ozuna was raised on reggaetón pioneers Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin & Yandel alongside American rap and more traditional sounds like salsa and bachata. After a brief stint trying to get his career off the ground in New York City, he came back to Puerto Rico—a move that helped clarify his priorities not just as an artist, but as a representative of his place and people. Even on his collaborations (“Taki Taki” with DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, and Cardi B, or “Mamacita” with the Black Eyed Peas), you don’t sense Ozuna stretching to cross over. If anything, the undiluted quality of Ozuna’s music—like Balvin’s and Bunny’s—represents the changing demographics of modern mainstream pop. We know the word reggaetón now, sure. But in Ozuna’s opinion, there’s no harm in saying it again.
HOMETOWNSan Juan, Puerto Rico
BORNMarch 13, 1992