Barrio Fino En Directo (El Cartel/Universal)
With a third of the Earth's urban population-a full one billion people-now dwelling in slums, we're hearing more and more from a generation that's increasingly located in the ghettos, barrios, and favelas of the world. These voices struggle with poverty, crime, drugs, violence, and AIDS, but they do so armed with enormous energy, talent, and motivation. The world over, urban youth are channeling their discontent and their hunger for change into music, claiming hip-hop as their own-their solace, their entertainment, and their form of protest. As they mould hip-hop to fit their cultures, dozens of hybrid genres are emerging. One of the most exciting is reggaetíƒ ³n, a fusion of Latin music, hip-hop, and dancehall.
Daddy Yankee is a leader of this movement. Hailing from the Villa Kennedy projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he's the first reggaetíƒ ³n artist in the world to achieve serious crossover success. Driven by the success of his steamy club banger "Gasolina", his fourth album Barrio Fino debuted at the top of the Billboard charts in 2004, selling 1.6 million units in the US and earning him a Latin Grammy.
Barrio Fino En Directo is a live version of that album, with a handful of new studio tracks thrown into the mix, including the disc's infectious single, "Rompe", and recent collaborations with Snoop Dogg ("Gangsta Zone") and Paul Wall ("Machete Reloaded").
Still, the most noteworthy element of this outing is the accompanying DVD documentary, which provides a detailed account of reggaetíƒ ³n's roots. Combining concert footage with interview clips, the film does a wonderful job of capturing the emotion that drives reggaetíƒ ³n. It touches the heart of the genre-barrio life-while showing how reggaetíƒ ³n has given hope to millions of youth coming up in slums throughout the Americas.