Jail and High Decibels: RKM & Ken-Y Speak for the First Time About Their Reunion

David Report; Pablo Diaz
RKM and Ken Y

Following a four-year split, Puerto Rican duo RKM & Ken-Y are getting together again, Billboard has learned. The duo, known for their blend of reggaeton (courtesy of RKM) and melodic vocals (Ken-Y), are working on new music that will be out in the Fall on Pina Records.

Already on Friday (June 23), they released a remix as featured artists on “Más que ayer,” originally recorded by Arcangel and De La Ghetto. A lyric video already has over 1 million YouTube views. 

RKM and Ken-Y’s return comes just a few months after Ken-Y was arrested in Thailand and subsequently released, a rattling experience that had bearing on their decision to reunite. Over the phone -- RKM (real name Jose Nieves) from Peru, where he was on tour, and Ken-Y (real name Kenny Vasquez) from Puerto Rico -- the duo spoke about their reunion with Billboard

It’s been four years and many rumors. Have you guys stayed in touch? 

Ken-Y: We always spoke. In fact, when I came back from Thailand, RKM came to se me at home. He always insisted we had to get back together; he said we were a brand that was transcendent, and given what was happening in the industry, we decided to get back. 

What did you see happening in the industry? 

Ken-Y: All these new fusions: Trap, and how big it’s become. We felt our sound -- that mix of melodic and rap -- was missing. 

RKM: Before, the artist would write and record songs. Now, as a soloist, I’ve had to do everything 100% on my own, even booking myself. For me, it was very, very important to be together again. 

Ken-Y, was your experience in Thailand a determining factor in your reunion? 

Very much. I had a lot of time to think. Thailand gave me time to reflect on many aspects of my life, and accelerated the process. It’s a question of doing the things you think can work, both in your personal and professional life. 

You used to be on indie label Pina Records and now you’re returning to them. Why them?

RKM: We’re like the prodigal sons that return home. It’s the most solid company in urban music. And for us, it makes sense to return to a place where they already know us.  We’ve already recorded seven tracks. We’re going to refresh fans’ minds [about] RKM and Ken-Y. 

Tell me something we don’t know about quirks each of you have in the recording studio…

Ken-Y: RKM works really well in the studio. But he likes to listen to the music really loud, so we have to really pump up the volume on his headphones. 

RKM: One of the things I missed was seeing Ken-Y come in and out of the audio booth when I’m recording, and saying, “No, do it like this!” He was always scolding me, but in a good way. I missed that.