Daddy Yankee, the superstar and standard-bearer of the Caribbean-infused rap genre known as reggaeton, on Sunday announced his retirement at age 45, following a farewell tour this summer, including a Madison Square Garden show on Sept. 20.
"Today, I'm announcing my retirement from music by giving you my best production and concert tour," Daddy Yankee, born Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez in Puerto Rico, said in a statement. "I will say goodbye celebrating these 32 years of experience with this new collectors’ item, my album 'Legendaddy.' I'm going to give you all the styles that have defined me in one single album." The LP, his first since 2013's "King Daddy," drops Thursday at 8 p.m.
In a 3-minute video on his YouTube channel, he said additionally in Spanish, as variously translated by CNN and Rolling Stone, "This race, which has been a marathon, finally sees the finish line. Now I'm going to enjoy what all of you have given me. People say I made this genre global, but it was you who gave me the key to open the doors to make it the biggest in the world."
The six-time Latin Grammy Award winner added that, "In the barrios” — Spanish for low-income, generally inner-city Latino neighborhoods — "where we grew up, most of us wanted to be drug dealers. Today, I go to the barrios and caseríos," he said, using the Spanish term for government housing in Puerto Rico, "and the majority want to be artists, and that means a lot to me."
On Instagram, where he also posted the video, a multitude of reggaeton stars commented with appreciation of him and support for his wishes. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," wrote "Mi Gente" singer J Balvin in Spanish. "The Big Boss, thank you for everything," said singer Becky G (née Rebecca Marie Gómez), also in Spanish.
Daddy Yankee's La Última Vuelta [The Last Turn] World Tour commences Aug. 10 in Portland, Oregon, and concludes Dec. 2 in Mexico City. General-public tickets go on sale March 30.
The star's 2004 hit "Gasolina" is credited with introducing mainstream audiences to reggaeton, with Billboard 10 years later calling the song "an eminently commercial take on what was then an underground, subversive genre shunned by major labels." Reggaeton, the magazine said, "would revive sales of Latin music, usher in a new radio format in the U.S. (Latin Rhythm) and establish the urban base responsible for many Latin radio hits today."