The singer tells Billboard, however, that the song almost didn’t come to pass because of the constant stigma surrounding queer desire. “I almost turned the song down,” he says. “I think partly because I began in hip-hop and as a gay man, I just knew I couldn’t talk about these things in my music if I wanted to be taken seriously.”
But Ray ended up persisting and finished recording and releasing the song, because he felt that it would be hypocritical to sing about a message of equality while not actually executing that message. “In the chorus I sing about how we’re all equal in the fact that we are all sensual beings,” he says. “And once I realized that I decided to keep the song.”
“Así Así” is one of only three professionally released songs since Ray’s return to music in 2015. This song, along with “El Otro” and “Guess I’m Doing Fine,” are each infused with the sounds of pop and reggaeton and serve as a stark contrast to his hip-hop roots.
Part of the reason Ray chose to venture into reggaeton was as a way to honor his heritage as an Afro-Lantinx artist. The singer says that while he has faced barriers to entry in the industry due to his race, he has seen walls starting to break down.
“While there’s so much work that needs to be done, large platforms like Spotify have been spotlighting Afro-Latinx artist specifically to highlight our musical contributions,” he says. “I think championing our music along with keeping an open dialogue helps to deconstruct our minds into accepting colorism subconsciously.”
Ray says that deconstruction includes bringing women into the fold of male-dominated genres like reggaeton, which he has already seen happening. “Women have a different perspective than men,” he says. “Reggaeton is a very passionate and sensual genre, and now it’s nice to see women, like female rappers in hip-hop, be accepted to sing about the same thing guys are singing about.”
Watch the lyric video for Solomon Ray’s “Así Así” below.