With scenes for the Fate of the Furious famously filmed in Havana, something would be missing if Cuban music didn’t represent on the soundtrack. It’s El Taiger, the Cuban reggaeton artist featured on producer Pinto “Wahin” and DJ Ricky Luna’s track “La Habana,” who delivers some authentic sabor to the music for the movie, which over the weekend broke the box office record for the biggest global opening of all time with an estimated $532.5 million haul.
El Taiger, known on the island for his Cuban-rooted urban sound, sings a tribute to Cuba and its music that name checks musical styles rumba, songo, timba and son, and celebrates Havana’s characteristic seven days a week party vibe and, more sentimentally, the unique feeling of its streets and its people. “I knew this song had something because it reflects nostalgia, time spent outside of Cuba,” El Taiger, whose real name is José Manuel Carvajal, told Cuban music magazine Vistar, which features him on its April cover. Like other popular Cuban reggaeton artists, Taiger now spends most of his time, although he regularly visits Havana.
El Taiger’s 2016 debut album, Taiger, was released on Puerto Rican hip-hop artist Cosculluela’s label Rottboyz. A new album, with collaborations by Cosculluela, Ozuna, J Balvin, Bryant Myers and others, is due this spring.
El Taiger told Vistar that the new album, which has more of a trap sound, “is made for the international market, not just for Cuba, although, of course, it was still made thinking about my island.”
“La Habana,” on the other hand, is pure Cuba, with a sound that recalls Orishas early hits. It’s a track with sure appeal for international Cuban music fans, that should also find it’s way to Latin dance floors and signal El Taiger’s breakthrough outside of Cuba.