Atlantic Records has set August 29th as the street date for the eagerly anticipated label debut from Latin rap superstar Tego Calderón
. Released on Calderón's own Atlantic-distributed Jiggiri Records, the album is already being hailed as a landmark in the Latin hip-hop and reggaetón movement. When Calderón inked a worldwide deal with Atlantic last year, he became the first artist in the Latin hip-hop field to ink a global pact with a major label.
Calderón describes his Atlantic debut as "a musical journey through the Afro-Caribbean culture." It showcases poetry from the heart and is a unique fusion of elements taken from traditional bomba puertorriqueña, Jamaican reggae, blues, Cuban rumba, and New York salsa.
The diversity of musical styles that Tego brings together on "The Underdog/El Subestimado" is reflected in the wide array of musical instruments on the album. Avoiding the overuse of computer-generated tracks, Calderón brings to his palate the music of percussion and brass to create a vivid soundscape that recalls the classic rhythms of the legendary salsa greats.
"The Underdog/El Subestimado" contains 22 tracks plus one bonus track and features collaborations with such artists as Buju Banton
, Eddie Dee & Voltio
, Chyno Nyno, Don Omar
, and legendary salsa singer Oscar D'León. The album also features the work of producers DJ Nelson, Danny Fornaris, DJ Nesty, Naldo, DJ Joe, Echo & Diesel, Cookee, Major League, Salaam Remi, Erick Figueroa, Daniel Cruz & Eduardo Lobo, and Troyton Rami. All the songs on the album were co-written by Calderón, with the exception of "Chango Blanco," written by Luis López Cabán. Featured in the album is a special booklet with bilingual track-by-track commentary by award-winning Puerto Rican author and professor Mayra Santos-Febres.
The first single for the Latin market will be "Los Maté," produced by DJ Nesty & Naldo.
Announcing Tego's signing to Atlantic in the spring of 2005, Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman commented: "With the continuing creative and commercial explosion of new Latin music in the U.S., I am thrilled that one of its signature artists, the brilliant Tego Calderón, has joined the Atlantic family. The reggaetón and Latin hip-hop movements are rapidly merging into the mainstream of American music and media, and Tego's innovative style, street credibility, and charismatic presence have already made him a cultural icon, placing him at the leading edge of the vibrant new urban-driven Latin scene. The signing of Tego is a proud moment in Atlantic history, signaling our enthusiasm and our long-term belief in this boundary-crossing music."
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Tego Calderón -- AKA "El Abayarde" -- has earned international acclaim for his unique musical style, which mixes salsa and Afro-Caribbean rhythms with hip-hop and dancehall reggae influences. Lyrically, he has forged a revolutionary flow inspired by his authentic street roots, creating a social chronicle that openly addresses such issues as racism, poverty, and class oppression. Combining hip '60s slang with modern urban language, and set apart by his unmistakable Afro hairstyle and captivating stage presence, Calderón's appeal transcends economic, social, and age barriers, as he creates music with truly universal appeal.
Growing up, Calderón was exposed by his parents to the groundbreaking music of salsa legend Ismael Rivera as well as to Latin jazz. Going on to study percussion and composition, Calderón then began forging his own multicultural rap style, earning a reputation as a street poet with a fresh musical approach. Establishing himself as a new voice of the barrio, he made a series of appearances on best-selling Latin hip-hop compilations.
In 2002, Calderón released his solo debut, "El Abayarde
." Breaking sales records in the underground reggaetón genre, it sold a remarkable 50,000 copies in just one week, and Calderón became an overnight Latin superstar. Just three months after making his solo premiere, Calderón was greeted with a tumultuous response at a sold-out concert at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. The following day, he made history when he became the first rap artist to perform at the traditional National Day of Salsa celebration. Since then, Calderón's career has exploded, his success spreading throughout Latin communities in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Canada, and the U.S.
As Latin rappers have been embraced by the American hip-hop culture, Calderón has been featured on a variety of mixtapes and been invited to add his trademark vocal style to collaborations and remixes by the likes of Fat Joe
's Terror Squad
(the #1 smash, "Lean Back"), Usher
, 50 Cent
, Cypress Hill
, and Wyclef Jean
, along with fellow Latin stars Roselyn Sánchez
, Toño Rosario
, and Aventura
, among others.
A household name in dozens of Spanish-speaking countries around the world, Calderón has now become a major, influential presence in the U.S. market. When he first headlined New York's Madison Square Garden in August 2003, the New York Times heralded him as "the most forward-looking performer" of the dozen artists on the bill, noting that "Mr. Calderón made the best case for reggaetón as music with room to grow." In October 2004, when Calderón returned to the stage of the Garden as the star of the breakthrough "Megatón 2004" reggaetón event, the audience had swelled from 12,000 to a sold-out 20,000. "The crowd erupted into a frenzy," noted the Village Voice. "The fruit of Tego's crossover appeal was palpable. Not only did attendance surge by thousands from 2003, but now masses of non- Spanish-speaking gringos were bopping their heads and flailing their arms to the universal beat."
From his ovation-gathering appearance at New York's annual Puerto Rican Day parade in 2004 to becoming the first Spanish-language artist to be featured on New York's Power-105 to his performance at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Calderón has been breaking cultural barriers. Earning widespread critical acclaim, he has been featured in the New York Times, Vibe, Fader (cover), Urban Latino (cover), Fuego, and many other publications. The Village Voice noted that Calderón "almost single-handedly... steered his country's dominant youth culture out of the island and Latino neighborhoods, and into the American stream of pop consciousness."
Listen to "Los Mate" right here:
/ Real Audio
"THE UNDERDOG/EL SUBESTIMADO"
1. ¿Como Me Llamo Yo?
2. Los Maté
3. Mardi Gras
4. Slo Mo'
5. Pon La Cara
6. Payaso - Interlude
7. Payaso featuring Eddie Dee & Voltio
9. Llora, Llora featuring Oscar De León
10. Chillin' featuring Don Omar
11. Veo, Veo
12. Oh Dios
14. Son Dos Alas - Interlude
15. Chango Blanco
16. A Mi Papá
17. Cuando Baila Reggaetón featuring Yandel
18. Bureo, Bureo
19. Por qué - Interlude
20. Llévatelo Todo
21. Bad Man featuring Buju Banton
22. Mil Cosas
Bonus Track: Llegó el Chynyn featuring Tego Calderón and Chyno Nyno