Breaking Down Daddy Yankee & Marc Anthony's Salsa Hit 'De Vuelta Pa' La Vuelta'

Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony
Courtesy of El Cartel Records

Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony

Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony ended 2020 with a bang, delivering the traditional salsa track "De Vuelta Pa' La Vuelta" that, in a matter of days following its release (Dec. 10), became a chart-topping hit debuting at No. 6 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart (dated Dec. 26). It currently sits at No. 1 on the Tropical Airplay chart (dated Jan. 9).

"I think this is atomic," Marc Anthony tells Billboard, who received the demo from Yankee and instantly fell "in love" with the song. "What he sent me was pure gold. Absolute Marc Anthony vintage."

The Sergio George-produced track became the first collaboration between the two Puerto Rican powerhouses, who belt out heartbreak lyrics over an uptempo dance beat. While the track may be pure salsa, Yankee doesn't hold back in his fast-paced rapping verses that include the hook "de vuelta pa' la vuelta."

"That hook was all Daddy Yankee," George says. "He is just brilliant and this collaboration truly worked because he knows the genre, understands the culture, he’s a salsa music fan so it's honest and real."

"['De Vuelta Pa' La Vuelta'] has that salsa sound from the barrio that I've always been a fan of," Daddy Yankee said on social media. "I was able to fuse that with my urbano essence and Marc Anthony's world with the orchestra and the instruments. We made it happen."

Below, a breakdown of "De Vuelta Pa' La Vuelta":

Who called who:
"Yankee sent me the track and he calls me and says, 'Marc, I’ve always wanted to work with you. We’ve been talking about this for years. And I have this one song,'" the "Vivir Mi Vida" singer recalls. "Like I tell everybody, 'Man, it has to be good. It has to be a song I would sing on my own. It has to be a hit.' What he sent me was pure gold. Absolute Marc Anthony vintage. It was perfection."

Sergio George was brought onboard by Marc Anthony to produce the salsa song. "I took the track and started producing it by myself in my house in New Jersey because of the pandemic. I started laying down the track and sent it to Marc. It was only a demo. He said, 'I love it, let me send it to Yankee,'" George says. "The interesting part about this is that all the sounds you hear on the final track were part of the demo. Marc told me, 'don’t worry about the urban stuff, Yankee will probably add that.' We sent to Yankee, he laid down vocals and sent back to me but every time he’d send back, it was my music. I thought ok they might add it later. I always thought Yankee and his team would maybe change some of my stuff but they didn’t. And when they said '[we] love it.' I didn’t dare to change a thing." In a matter of approximately four hours, Marc Anthony recorded the track with a live band in a studio in Miami. "We knew it was a hit right then and there."

The lyrics: 
The opening verse finds an emotional Daddy Yankee processing a betrayal via dramatic lyrics. "Before you say anything, your eyes have already confirmed everything. It's true what they told me and it's too late to deny it. I tried to keep people like you away from me but at the end of the day, I'm human," Yankee sings over a slow intro. Then, as the songs picks up to an uptempo, Marc Anthony joins Yankee to trade verses about the infamous ex. "You humiliated me and I know you enjoyed it because that's what you do ... when you're packing your bags, don't forget to pack your pride too. You'll need it when you try to come back," the salsero sternly adds.

The team: 
Songwriters: Edgar Barrera, Elena Rose, Daddy Yankee, Marc Anthony, Rafael A. Pina Nieves and Sergio George

Producer: Sergio George

"This was a good song that these great artists made into a great song," says George. "I stepped out of the way and let them do their thing and whatever they wanted me to do I did. The catalyst behind this is Marc and Yankee. Their creativity, passion, they understand what their market likes, it’s amazing. That’s why this song works. It’s great art.