Latin

Farruko Navigates From Perreo to EDM In New Eclectic 'La 167' Album: 6 Essential Tracks (Staff Picks)

Farruko
Courtesy Imagine It Media / Mike Ho

Farruko

After three years of working on his album and creating music “for the love of it, not for the trends,” Farruko presents his new studio album La 167 via Sony Music Latin, named after one of the main highways in Puerto Rico, near his hometown.

“It’s the best album I’ve ever made,” Farruko previously told Billboard during an intimate listening event during the 2021 Latin Music Week.

Home to 25 tracks, including the previously-released “La Tóxica” and “Pepas" -- the latter of which scored him his first-ever No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart -- La 167 is easily Farruko’s most versatile album yet.

It kicks off with “Ki,” an instrumental trap song with a motivational speech by Mexican conference speaker and author Daniel Habif, followed by his two hits “Tóxica” and “Pepas.” Like “Pepas,” La 167 includes more EDM gems like “Embalao,” “Helicoptero,” and his focus track “El Incomprendido,” which interpolates Alice Deejay’s 1999 classic “Better Off Alone.”

On road 167, Farruko takes fans on an eclectic journey that includes romantic reggaetón (“My Lova”), hard-hitting perreo (“Baya”), dancehall (“W.F.M.”), reggae (“Jibaro”), trap (“Cucaracha”), and even salsa (“La Bendición”).

In other songs, such as the title track, “Guerrero,” “Apunta y Dispara,” and “Siempre Sere,” the Puerto Rican rapper wears his heart on his sleeve, telling raw stories about growing up, the street life, and overcoming many challenges.

His collaborators include old-school acts, such as Gallego, Tempo, Ñengo Flow, and Lito MC Cassidy, and a wave of new artists like Brray, Noriel, Jay Wheeler, and Myke Towers, to name a few. "I believe a lot in new talent and finding a new sound," he explained.

With La 167, which was mostly crafted in a workshop near his childhood home in Puerto Rico, Farruko hopes to spread nothing but "good vibes and good energy."

Below, the Billboard Latin staff recommends some essential tracks.

"Cucaracha" (feat. Ñengo Flow)

On "Cucaracha," Farruko join forces with rapper, singer-songwriter, and Bayamon native Ñengo Flow. In the alternative-trap fusion track, where Farru samples Paquita La Del Barrio’s “Rata de dos Patas," the two artists sing about their challenging road to fame. “We started from cero and the business multiplied/ I learned the hard way, nobody explained it to me/ They wanted to take me away and it got complicated for them/ And I ended up burying them, four ‘cubic’ meters," Farru croons. -- INGRID FAJARDO

"Baja Cali"

Behold, the corrido on the album, with an urban twist -- though this isn't the first time that Farruko has dabbled in the regional Mexican genre. The song is led by an acoustic guitar, fusing with his raspy voice and rapping. The lyrics talk about his mother’s advice on how your enemies are always closer than you think: “Be careful with the envy, my son, said my mother/ Remember that the enemies come disguised as sheep.” Farruko sings the song in a way that will make fans feel as if they are riding in a truck across Baja California, accompanied by a guitar. -- I.F.

"Jibaro" (feat. Pedro Capo)

On their second collaborative effort, following the Latin Grammy-winning "Calma (Remix)," Farruko teams up with Pedro Capo for a heartfelt track that pays homage to the humble and hard-working "Jibaro," a local term given to farmers from the countryside of Puerto Rico. The song kicks off with a folk-like guitar melody, and the sound of a small coqui frog, before transitioning to a mid-tempo reggae and trap fusion, focusing on the importance of coexisting and community. -- JESSICA ROIZ

"La 167" (feat. Gallego)

For the album's title track, named after the principal highway that passes through his hometown of Bayamon, Farruko and José Raúl Gonzalez (better known as “Gallego”) do their own version of Voltio’s classic “Julito Maraña,” both of which sample Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon’s "Juanito Alimaña.” The song opens with the salsa classic, followed by an intro that welcomes you to Route “167.” Afterwards, Farruko raps about his upbringing in Puerto Rico, keeping the downtempo salsa melody through the entire song. The lyrics talk about the reality of the streets, elaborating on how the choices you make can either result in jail time or death: “The road is a concrete jungle/ Tell me if you want to go to prison or inside a coffin." -- I.F.

"Baya" (feat. Yomo)

On his new album, Farru also recruits Yomo (yes, the man behind all-time perreo favorite "Descara") for "Baya," a pure -- you got it -- perreo track. Giving fans the ultimate ride experience, the song starts off with sounds from a street race, and quickly escalates to fast-paced thumping drum beats, becoming one of the catchiest tracks on La 167. It's Yomo's contribution, especially when he brings back his classic "Yomo, dejale caer to' el peso" line, that easily transported me to my first trip to Puerto Rico in the spring of 2011, and the endless noches de discoteca. "Baya" continues with the Brray and Noriel-assisted "Doble L" for two back-to-back perreos. -- J.R.

"La Bendición" (feat. Lenier)

When Farruko told Billboard that he made music for the love of it, he was not kidding -- and "La Bendición" is proof of that. While experimenting in all scopes of Latin music, Farru teamed up with Cuban newcomer Lenier for a traditional salsa about living his life and not caring about what his haters have to say. "With God's blessing, who takes care of me from above, some tell me to stop, others tell me to continue," Farruko sings. As with his collab with Jerry Rivera on the revamped "Que Hay de Malo," Farruko's vocal abilities continue to shine like never before in this tropical genre. -- J.R.