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Reggaeton Star Daddy Yankee Quitting Music to ‘Follow Jesus Christ’

The rapper told his fans: “I am unashamed to tell the world that Jesus lives in me and that I will live for him.”

daddy yankee
Source: EDITORES FOTO > ALONSO CHERO/El Comercio de PERU/Newscom/The Mega Agency
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Daddy Yankee, arguably the biggest star to emerge from the reggaeton scene, has announced his retirement from music to devote his life to Jesus.

The 46-year-old rapper, who is treated like a near-God himself in his native Puerto Rico, announced his radical change of direction to a rapturous crowd at the final show of his La Última Vuelta [The Last Lap] world tour in the Coliseo José Miguel Agrelot arena in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“My people, this is the most important day of my life,” he told the crowd. “I want to share it… because living a life of success is not the same as living a life of purpose. For a long time, I tried to fill an emptiness... that nobody could fill.

"That's why tonight I recognized and am unashamed to tell the world that Jesus lives in me and that I will live for Him… All of the tools that I have within my power – like music, social media, my platform, the mic, everything that God gave me is now for Him.”

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daddy yankee onstage
Source: EDITORES FOTO > ALONSO CHERO/El Comercio de PERU/Newscom/The Mega Agency

The reggaeton star is turning his back on the temptations of fame for a more devotional life.

Yankee – real name Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez – has been dubbed the “King of Reggaeton”. Born in the slums of San Juan, he released his first solo record in 1995 and quickly became a leading light of the sexually-charged reggaeton movement, which fuses traditional Latin American and Caribbean music with dancehall and hip hop.

His 2005 single “Gasolina” became a breakout hit worldwide, earning Yankee a Latin Grammy nomination and later ranking at #50 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". In 2017, he released “Despacito” in collaboration with Latin singer Luis Fonsi: it became the first Spanish language song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since “Macarena” two decades earlier and spent 11 weeks at the top of the UK singles charts. It also led to Yankee becoming the most listened to artist worldwide on Spotify in June of that year.

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daddy yankee praying
Source: Juan Luis Martinez Perezs / GDA Photo Service/Newscom/The Mega Agency

Will the star change his name from Daddy Yankee to Father Yankee?

Yankee is not the first successful artist to eschew the temptations of rock ‘n’ roll for a more spiritual life: in the mid-1970s, at the height of his career, soul singer Al Green became a minister, establishing the Full Gospel Tabernacle church in Memphis, Tennessee, where he still regularly preaches. In 1999, rapper Ma$e, who had found fame guesting on Diddy’s singles "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" and "Been Around the World", as well as the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems", claimed his music was "leading people, friends, kids and others down a path to hell" and announced he was quitting to pursue a "calling from God".

Both artists have since returned to recording and performing music.

It remains unclear whether Yankee will take up a ministry himself (with social media wits speculating that he might change his name to “Father Yankee”), but he finished his show at the Coliseo José Miguel Agrelot arena with a final message for his fans. “I am human and everyone that follows me should follow Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life", he said, as a group of drones flew over the stadium, forming the shape of a cross.


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