Daddy Yankee made history in January when he released the viral reggaeton hit, “Con Calma,” featuring Canadian reggae star Snow. The Toronto rapper subsequently made his return to the Hot 100 for the first time in more than 25 years, when his 1992 song “Informer” — the inspiration for Yankee’s “Con Calma” — stood at Number One for seven consecutive weeks and became the highest-charting reggae song in Hot 100 history. (Not bad for someone nicknamed “Superb Notorious Outrageous Whiteboy.”)
While Snow’s comeback verse made for a delightful nostalgia bomb, Katy Perry’s new remix … brings mixed results. She makes a charming throwback to her Teenage Dream days in the line, “You can be my Puerto Rican dream/I can be your California gurl,” and purrs a little bit of Spanish for good measure. But moans of “Ay Daddy… ¿Cómo te llamas, baby?/A little mezcal got me feelin’ spicy” leave an awkward impression on both Yankee and Perry fans alike.
Perry may be a pop chameleon, but her verses make for a cultural mismatch — mezcal being from Mexico — and evoke the age-old Carmen Miranda tropicalism we should have left in the Fifties. As is the case when many anglophone megastars attempt a Latin crossover, Perry’s remix paints an otherwise brilliant, maximalist pop song into a tight corner.
Still, “Con Calma” will undoubtedly continue to wine its way up the charts on its own merit: the song has also kick-started its own dance video challenge, and racked up over 648 million views on YouTube. But if Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, or Chaka Demus and Pliers want to contribute their own remix, we wouldn’t be mad about it.