Jowell y Randy's 'Viva El Perreo' Vouches to Keep Reggaeton's Essence Alive

Jowell & Randy
Natalia Aguilera

Jowell & Randy

Jowell & Randy were not going to let a global pandemic rain on their parade. Instead, they dropped a whole new album.

Three years after Viva La Musik, the reggaetón duo presents Viva El Perreo, via Rimas Entertainment, their sixth studio album created entirely during the Coronavirus quarantine and adapting to the new normal.

Home to 14 tracks, including the already released “Anaranjado” in collaboration with J Balvin, Jowell & Randy’s new set counts with a number of mastermind producers such as DJ Orma, Subelo Neo, DJ Blass, and San Benito a.k.a Bad Bunny, to name a few. Bringing a mix of la vieja and la nueva, the duo recruited Miky Woodz, Don Omar, Barbie Rican, J Balvin, De La Ghetto, and Kiko El Crazy for features.

From top to bottom, Viva El Perreo is an homage to the essence of reggaetón, Puerto Rican culture, and Jowell & Randy’s distinctive sound over the years. In celebration of their new production, the reggaetón duo has also declared August 7 as the International Day of Perreo.

“We are very proud of this new album. We are grateful to everyone who participated in the creation of each song, and we are very excited to be able to celebrate this release with all of our fans, who have been joining us since day one. We want everyone to enjoy it and join us today in our celebration of ‘Dia Internacional Del Perreo,’” they said in an official statement.

In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Jowell & Randy elaborate more on Viva El Perro, working with San Benito, and more.

Perreo is really making its comeback this year. As one of the emblematic duos in the genre, why is it important to keep these authentic melodies alive?

For us, it’s important because that’s the base of our genre, particularly reggaetón. We have different aspects of urban music, such as hip hop and trap, for example. Our base, unlike those types of rhythms, is perreo, which is the cadence that makes people dance. That’s why it’s important for us to keep that essence alive -- so that it doesn’t get lost. Because despite the arrival of many new influences and many new artists, we are interested in maintaining the base of perreo, even if they are fused with different melodies and elements. That’s why you’ll notice that Jowell and Randy will always continue to release this type of music because we want to nurture music with perreo.

Was Viva El Perreo born during the Coronavirus quarantine?

Yes. Completely. We like to say that we made this album by remote control. Benito developed the majority of the ideas. He sent them to us digitally and after we worked on them in the studio, we would send it to him for approval. Because as a composer, you don’t want to have your idea damaged, at least if it is going to be modified in some way, you need the approval of the composer so that it doesn’t lose its original concept.

That’s what we did in this case -- we worked as a remote control. We had the same process with the producers, such as DJ Urba and Rome, Los Hitmen. We reunited a couple of times to talk about the game plan but everything else was done virtually. We sent our vocals and did the mastering and mixing at a distance. This case was a bit complicated, because we weren’t physically in the studio but thank God we were able to do it virtually and meet the expectations.

How would you describe your personal and professional relationship with San Benito?

Personally, we thought it was cool to see how he expressed himself about us on social media and different interviews before meeting in person. We think he’s a very genuine person. He doesn’t have an ego and he always treated us with respect. As artists who have been in the industry for a long time, we think it’s admirable that he treats us with respect and recognizes the contributions that we have made in reggaetón.

Professionally, we have to give it to him. We catalog him as a genius because he’s very versatile when it comes to production and he’s demonstrated his skills as a composer. As a music producer, he structures the album, the ideas for the cover, the songs -- and not every artist can do that. We love working with him because he makes us feel like we are in a league where we have to buck ourselves up. We are not here with just any guy, according to his work -- we’re here with a guy in the big league. We deliver the maximum percentage of our skills when we work with a guy like Benito because truly, the man is on another level professionally.

What three songs on Viva El Perreo do you recommend and why?

We recommend “Si Se Tiran” with Don Omar, because it’s a joint that has never happened in the history of reggaetón. Many of our fans have asked for this collaboration. We’ve been wanting to work on this for a long time, but we were unable to do it because of our busy schedules. Now that we made it possible, we each got in the studio and gave it our 100 percent and it was carefully made. We recommend this song because we know that it will be a piece that will remain in the history of the reggeatón forever.

The second track we recommend is “Toxicos,” because it’s a hot topic right now in the streets. Everyone is talking about that toxic man or woman in your life -- but no one in the genre has actually made a song about a toxic relationship when both partners are toxic. The song is pretty much about knowing a person is no good for you, and you’re always fighting but you like them a lot, and so on. What we sing is what we live, what we see on the street. People will have a good laugh with this song.

The third song we recommend is “La Gorda” because this song is very special to us. It’s inspired by a song that we heard almost 25 years ago by The Noise and it was always one of our favorite songs in the underground scene. We always wanted to recreate it. We got the old melodies and added some new rhythms. The song is great for all the curvy girls out there, to have fun and create their dance challenges. It’s not an offensive song, in fact, it’s meant to have fun and compliment women. We hope people like it a lot because it represents the reggaetón of Jowell y Randy.