Daddy Yankee is officially retiring from reggaeton to devote his life to his religious faith, the rapper said after ending his farewell tour, La Meta (The Goal), Sunday night in his homeland Puerto Rico.
The 46-year-old singer made the announcement in a lengthy speech following a larger-than-life performance of his global hit “Gasolina,” a song that marked the beginning of the globalization of reggaeton and catapulted him into mainstream success back in 2004.
“My people, this day for me is the most important day of my life. And I want to share it with you because living a life of success is not the same as living a life with purpose,” the artist, who also popularized the 2017 megahit “Despacito” with Luis Fonsi, said in Spanish.
Despite traveling the world, winning awards and being praised by fans worldwide, a part of him felt unfulfilled for a long time, he told a cheering crowd of more than 18,000 people at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico. “I have to confess that those days are over. Someone was able to fill that emptiness,” he said.
Despite wearing stylish sunglasses onstage, the tears streaming down his face were visible to the thousands of fans around the world who watched him closely via livestream.
In his message, Daddy Yankee cited this Bible verse in Spanish: “What good will it be for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
“That is why tonight, I recognize, and I am not ashamed to tell the whole world that Jesus lives in me and that I will live for him,” the singer said with his hand to the sky.
Daddy Yankee announced he would embark on “a new beginning” as Ramón Ayala, his birth name.
“All the tools that I have in my possession such as music, social networks, platforms, a microphone — everything that Jesus gave me, is now for his kingdom,” he said. “Thank you very much, Puerto Rico, and I hope that you walk with me in this new beginning.”
“To all the people who followed me, follow Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life,” he added. “Just like Jesus, with his mercy, allowed me to travel the world, in your mercy, Father, I hope you allow me to evangelize the world from Puerto Rico. Amen.”
Dozens of drones shined outside of the Coliseo de Puerto Rico for a light show in the sky, depicting a cross and the message “Cristo viene” (“Christ will come”) after the show ended.
The artist had previously recognized his Christian faith in interviews and in public appearances, but his Sunday night speech still took fans by surprise.
Fans on social media mostly responded to the remarks positively.
“I was not wrong to choose you as my favorite artist without a doubt,” one supporter commented on Daddy Yankee’s Instagram post sharing his speech.
“We love u, admiration for you always,” another fan responded.
A smaller number of social media users reacted mockingly and skeptically to the news. A user on X questioned if Daddy Yankee would ever renounce the royalties and rights to his “sinful songs,” while another said, “Daddy Yankee’s music was becoming so lame that Jesus Christ himself had to come and remove him from reggaeton.”
Daddy Yankee is not the first reggaeton artist to end his career to devote his life to his Christian faith. Among the most well-known in Puerto Rico are Farruko, Héctor “El Father” and Voltio, among several others.
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