Puerto Rican reggaeton star Tego Calderon has become the first artist in the genre to sign with a major, non-Latin label. Calderon has inked a worldwide, multi-album deal with Atlantic Records via his own imprint, Jiggiri Records.
His Atlantic debut, “The Underdog/El Subestimado,” is slated for release in October. The set will feature collaborations with Don Omar and Eddie D, among other reggaeton acts, as well as at least two tracks with major rap stars.
“We will try to delve a little in English but it won’t be something too obvious,” the artist tells Billboard. “It’s not like we’re trying to make that much sought-after crossover. I don’t want to force things. My Latin audience has taken me to where I’m at and I don’t want to seem like an ingrate.”
Calderon is one of reggaeton’s biggest and most respected names. But he has only one other studio album to his name: “El Abayarde” was released in 2002 via the indie label White Lion and was later picked up for distribution by BMG. However, he has collaborated with multiple acts from the mainstream and Latin worlds, including Usher, N.O.R.E. and Wyclef Jean.
Calderon also gained prominence as the face of Hennessy’s “Never Blend” campaign. The artist says he has re-upped his contract with the company for another year.
Sources say other major reggaeton acts are expected to announce new label deals in the coming weeks.