Farruko On His No. 1 Debut 'Visionary' & the New Sound of Reggaeton

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Farruko

In his new set Visionary, Farruko goes from bragging to introspection with a lot of Caribbean beats in between. It’s a finely produced yet danceable fusion that this week takes the 24-year-old Puerto Rican rising reggaeton star to a No. 1 debut on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart -- for the second time.

That may take some by surprise, but this hasn’t just been the year of J Balvin and Nicky Jam. After all, Farruko had already reached the No. 1 slot exactly a year ago with Farruko Presenta: Los Menores.

Part of a new generation of reggaeton stars, Puerto Rico’s Farruko catapulted to major recognition alongside pal Balvin in “6 AM” the single the pair co-wrote which was one of the runaway hits of 2014. Farruko’s rise has been different from Balvin’s, but equally impressive.

Farruko's 'Sunset' Shines in Top 5 on Hot Latin Songs Chart

Now signed to Sony, his Visionary includes hits “Sunset,” featuring Shaggy and Nicky Jam, which is at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay and Latin Rhythmic Airplay chart.

Billboard caught up with Farruko in the midst of a promotional as he celebrated his new chart achievement.

What’s the concept behind Visionary?

It’s a little futuristic. All the rhythms, all the melodies, all the song concepts have to do with what’s happening in social media, in clubs. That’s one of the reasons fans are identifying with the album.

Do you go to clubs often?

I like to. To know what’s going on. If you’re too far removed from that, believe me, you get lost. At least in this genre you do. This is a very competitive genre and you have to know the DJs, you have to make music for clubs. I believe reggaeton is music that’s made for clubs, and whoever isn’t in that world falls behind.

You have several English-speaking acts in this album. What did you want to achieve with this?

I have a track with Pitbull in English (“Never Let You Go) and a track with Ky-Mani Marley (“Chillax”). And of course, the single has a more American touch with Shaggy and Nicky Jam. It’s part of the evolution of the genre. Many American acts are now looking to what we’re doing. In fact, “Sunset” is playing in some American stations, like Power 96 in Miami.

You have a track in this album with Nicky Jam, you recorded with Balvin and, of course, your last studio album was all about new acts. What do you see as the difference between the new faces and the veteran ones?

I think Balvin, Nicky and I are part of a new generation that’s doing a great job. And the difference is we’re more united than the pioneers were. We help each other out, we’re touring together. Back in the day there wasn’t this kind of unity.

Would you say today’s sound is more melodic, or does each of you have their own sound?

There’s a new tendency of reggaeton coming from Colombia, which is what Maluma, Nicky and Balvin are doing. I’ve stayed more within classic reggaeton but I fuse it with other styles. People like the Colombian movement, but I’ve stayed around here. I’m more Caribbean, more reggae, and I like to fuse more with electronic music. I’m taking another path. 

Billboard Latin Music Awards 2016