NEW YORK — When it comes to all things Daddy Yankee, it's no secret the star's gasolina was burning a lot hotter a few years ago.
But if you ask him why it took so long to finally release his major-label debut, El Cartel: The Big Boss, which dropped Tuesday (see "Daddy Yankee Set To Deliver El Cartel Across The U.S."), you'd be surprised by one of his answers: video games.
"I [always] say: 'Put the album out in the right moment,' " Yankee said. "[And] summer is the best time for any artist to put out an album. I wanted to put it out in ... December, but if you do your homework, in December it's not a good look to drop an album anymore. It used to be fresh, [but] now video games have taken over. So I decided to hold the album [until the summer, when] everyone is clubbin', everyone is having fun, everyone is enjoying their life. They love the video games, but it's more about having fun. You just want to be outside then. So the best decision for me was to put the album out now."
And hopefully high-profile collaborations with Will.I.Am, Akon and Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls, along with production work from Scott Storch, can help Daddy Yankee keep the kids occupied. Yankee called his track "Papi Lover" (featuring Scherzinger) a "sexy" one for the ladies.
"With Nicole, even though I heard her doing her thing in the States, I wanted her to be in my world instead of me being in her world," he said. "To make a difference in her career and in my career. So we did a crazy dancehall, Caribbean song."
But it's "Bring It On," Yankee's track with Akon — who also produced the song — that has the reggaetón star the most excited. The song may be his next single, he said.
"I'm rapping in the song, in Spanglish," he said. "I'm a real New Yorker. I grew up in the Bronx too. ... It's one of my favorite songs, and the people who have heard the album [said] it's one of their favorites too. Akon gave me the beat, and when he heard me on that song, he was like, 'Oh my God, I didn't know you rapped.' And coming from Akon, him telling me I'm a professional — and he's on top of the game right now and real talented — and when he told me that, it's just a good feeling.
"He told me, 'I don't know what you saying, Yankee,' " he continued, laughing, " 'but the flow sounds tight.' "