Daddy Yankee's new hit Dura inspires videos

Artist Daddy Yankee (above, at this year's Grammy Awards) is credited for bringing reggaeton - a Latin dance music historically associated with the marginalised Afro-Puerto Rican community - to a global audience.
Artist Daddy Yankee (above, at this year's Grammy Awards) is credited for bringing reggaeton - a Latin dance music historically associated with the marginalised Afro-Puerto Rican community - to a global audience.PHOTO: REUTERS

People from all walks of life, from children to top models to the elderly, have been recorded dancing to the hit released on Jan 18

MIAMI • In the video, Ms Rachel Phillipsen, a 90-year-old New Yorker of Puerto Rican origin, follows a zumba instructor with impressive rhythm and coordination.

That video has left a massive footprint, generating 5.5 million clicks.

"There are no excuses not to dance. The excuse is all in your mind," zumba instructor Rina Elena Martinez said.

The song inspiring their nifty footwork is called Dura and comes from Daddy Yankee who sings in Spanish: "I like how you move that ram-pam-pam."

The Puerto Rican king of reggaeton, who co-wrote last year's monster hit Despacito, has people around the world once again moving their hips with his latest song.

Millions of people have clicked on online videos inspired by Dura as aspiring dancers around the world - from fresh-faced children to top models to endearing elderly people - find their groove, with varying degrees of skill or stiffness.

"I'm beyond honoured and feel very blessed. You make music for an audience," Daddy Yankee said. "And the audience has made this song in their own organic, spontaneous way."

The musician helped bring reggaeton - a Latin dance music, with roots in Jamaican dancehall and the style of hip-hop, that was historically associated with the marginalised Afro-Puerto Rican community - to a global audience starting with his 2004 hit Gasolina.

But Dura marks a fresh turn in the 41-year-old singer and rapper's career as the song has taken off based largely on how fans appropriate it.

"Why have so many people - even babies - liked it?" he asked rhetorically. "Well, some things you can't explain. It's the magic of music, a magic that just happens and that you can't understand."

He has one theory. Dura, he added, harks back to "the rhythm and nostalgia for music of the late 1980s and early 1990s, that essence of reggae that inspired reggaeton".

Daddy Yankee, whose real name is Ramon Luis Ayala, released Dura on Jan 18.

The next day, Colombian model Andrea Valdiri posted a video on Instagram, barefoot in sweatpants and a loose white top, as she danced to the song with her hands rubbing sensually around her body.

The video has been viewed nearly nine million times on her Instagram account and in Daddy Yankee's repost. It also set off a rush of homemade interpretations of the song - posted under hashtag #DuraChallenge.

Daddy Yankee's original video has been seen nearly 200 million times on YouTube.

Celebrities who have taken the #DuraChallenge include Venezuelan model Diosa Canales, Dominican reggaeton singer Natti Natasha and the Puerto Rican former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, who also appeared in the Despacito video.

Dura, which literally means "hard" but could also mean "hot" when it comes to appearance, is an ode to a beautiful woman.

Musically, the song returns to early reggaeton without the pop melodies that mega-stars such as Shakira, Enrique Iglesias or Despacito co-writer Luis Fonsi deployed to bring the genre to the Anglo pop world.

In a retro video, Daddy Yankee and his cohorts dance around well-trodden streets covered with vibrant street art. Women, who often have passive roles in highly sexual songs, take the lead in showing their moves. "We were inspired by the bright colours of the 1990s and the era's fashion. I wanted to make this fun and to show that the song could empower women," said Daddy Yankee.

The video was directed by Puerto Rican Carlos Perez, who shot Despacito and has worked with singers Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony.

Despacito also spawned spoofs and has made history as the most-watched video on YouTube with more than 4.8 billion views. Helped by a remix featuring Justin Bieber, Despacito tied a record by spending 16 weeks on top of the Billboard singles chart in the United States - a major feat in a country where non-English songs rarely fare well.

Dura as of last Friday was No. 10 on Spotify's global singles chart and No. 1 in several Latin American countries.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2018, with the headline 'Daddy Yankee's new hit Dura inspires videos'. Print Edition | Subscribe