Daddy Yankee: “El Cartel: The Big Boss”
Producers: various
El Cartel/Interscope
Release Date: June 5

There's a lot riding on Daddy Yankee's first full studio set under his new deal with Interscope. Perhaps that explains why this disc is a robust 20 tracks long, plus a remix of the single "Impacto," featuring Fergie. Daddy Yankee goes from middle-of-the-road, feel-good reggaetón to reggaetón with mainstream top 40 appeal ("Impacto," "Who's Your Daddy") to serious, socially minded fare on tracks like the soulful "Coraza Divina." Instead of simply patching rhythms together, as many reggaetón acts do, Daddy Yankee's mix of styles here is far more thought-out, as on "A lo Clásico," which features Latin jazz improvisations. The singing is mostly in Spanish, albeit often with English choruses. As such, the feel is Latin, but imbued with that mainstream sensibility that has already served Daddy Yankee so well on the charts. Above all, this is simply a better-crafted album, at both a songwriting and a production level, than prior efforts. --Leila Cobo