Reggaeton icon Daddy Yankee made an electrifying appearance at Univision’s 31st Annual Premio Lo Nuestro awards show on Thursday night. The rapper was one of two top honorees at the show: Both he and the regional Mexican band, Premio veterans Intocable, were given the show’s Premio Lo Nuestro a la Trayectoria, otherwise known as the network’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Daddy Yankee’s landmark album, Barrio Fino, which became the best-selling Latin music album of the 2000s — and helped propel reggaeton, a once-forbidden genre on the island of Puerto Rico, further into the Latin pop mainstream. Joined onstage by a band of música urbana all-stars, the Big Boss performed his greatest highlights from the aughts: “Rompe” with De La Ghetto; “Ella me Levantó” with Zion y Lennox; “¿Qué Tengo Que Hacer?” with Yandel; “Lo Que Pasó, Pasó” with Ozuna and “Gasolina” with J Balvin. Immediately following the medley, Balvin presented Yankee with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Reggaeton would not be what it is without Daddy Yankee,” said Balvin, “and without Daddy Yankee, there would be no J Balvin.”
“The more recognitions I get, the smaller I feel,” replied Daddy Yankee, who graciously accepted the award with his shades on. “Our genre has grown because there is union, there is brotherhood,” he continued. “To my Puerto Rico: In the darkest alleyway, in the most violent place, you can change your thinking and be positive and be an agent of change for your neighborhood and for your country.” He also dedicated his win in part to to the people of Venezuela, wishing “lots of freedom for the Venezuela we love and care for.”
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Yankee would later perform his most recent hit, “Con Calma” featuring Snow — the Canadian reggae star who first capped the Billboard Hot 100 with his 1992 hit, “Informer” — which has steadily surged up the mainstream pop chart since its release in late January. (Not a wink of “Despacito,” Daddy Yankee’s most globally renowned hit, was to be performed that night.)
Meanwhile, urban artists continued to win big that night: Ozuna received a whopping nine awards, the most of any other artist at the show. Natti Natasha — the artist with the most nominations this year — still left the night’s most decorated woman with four awards. J Balvin also scored the Premio Lo Nuestro award for Artist of the Year for the third consecutive year.