‘This Is Graduation’: How Myke Towers Leveled Up on ‘La Vida Es Una’
In the mid-2010s, Myke Towers dominated Puerto Rico’s underground rap scene. His sharp delivery and lyrical dexterity made him a teenage prodigy whose release constantly went viral on SoundCloud. Hits like “Por Mí,” “Es Normal,” and “En Los Bloques” helped him build a cult following in the world rap en español, and eventually, he launched into stardom with three studio albums over the last seven years. His fourth, La Vida Es Una, is his most extensive yet.
“This is graduation,” the Puerto Rican artist tells Rolling Stone. Each of his projects has been an evolution, marking a specific era in his career: His 2016 debut album El Final del Principio turned heads, while Easy Money Baby spun off chart-topping tracks like the Farruko-assisted “Si Se Da” and “Girl,” his Spanish-language version of 50 Cent’s “21 Questions.” His sophomore album, LYKE MIKE was a homecoming of sorts that took listeners back to Towers’ lyrical roots. With each release, Towers achieved a perfect equilibrium of rawness and romantiqueo, becoming one of the most sought-after features in Latin music, working with the likes of Bad Bunny, Cardi B, Becky G, Maluma, Sech, and Selena Gomez. He’s also pulled off some unexpected collaborations with acts like pop queen Thalia and Mexican-American renegades Fuerza Régida (Towers actually called them up recently while they were interviewing with Rolling Stone.)
On La Vida Es Una, Towers assumes his position in global pop. “My last project was for my first fans, the streets,” he explains. “This album is the complete opposite. These are songs for everyone to sing together and to dance — all the songs were created with that intention.”
Towers is aware his Day Ones might not understand the project at first listen, but he’s hopeful they’ll get it once they submerge themselves into the full LP. Towers wanted to reach an array of listeners through the album’s 23-track sequence. He explains the creation process was just as eclectic as he recorded on the road while traveling to different cities and countries. “I’m continuously learning things that I never imagined learning. It’s all for a larger scale. This project gave me the assurance and confidence that I can do it. But I still have a lot to accomplish,” he says.
Across the album, there are significant touches that link back to Puerto Rico. But a big inspiration for Towers continues to be East Coast hip-hop. He’s known for a laid-back and raunchy lyrical delivery that toys with street codes as well as empowering and romantique tropes. His vocal projection shifts and changes depending on melodic tones, whether he’s singing, sing-rapping, or providing sharp bars. “Most of my favorite rappers are from New York like Biggie and Jadakiss,” he explains, adding that Biggie’s influence is what inspired the track “Cama King,” featuring Argentinian artist Chita. Later, he teams up with industry titan Arcangel on “Don & Tego,” a tribute to the figures that inspired both rappers: genre pioneers Don Omar and Tego Calderon.
As he continues to grow, he admits he feels a major responsibility to satisfy everyone. “It’s complicated. And to tell you the truth, I’m continuously making new music,” he says. Still, what ties the album together is how much Towers wanted to take risks and challenge himself. Some eclectic moments on the album include “Sábado,” a funk song produced by Dallas brothers Play-N-Skillz, and the alt-pop-turned-trap “Extra Extra.” On ““Conocerte,” which features Ozuna, and on the Sky Rompiendo-produced track “Mundo Cruel,” he fuses afrobeat influences into the production. Both songs, he shares, are meant to vibe out while “Flow Jamaican” serves as an ode to the Caribbean music that raised him.
La Vida Es Una‘s era is defined by curiosity. It shows how over the span of nine years, audiences have seen Towers evolve and conquer charts as well as new waters and international airwaves — all while never swaying too far from his essence. His journey is an ambitious one, and he ends the album with “Lo Logre,” a song that speaks to his success and the motivational message he wants to pass on to his audience.
“I want people to enjoy this album and with a message that I want to carry with the title— we only have one life— as they apply it to their life,” he says. “I want my fans to think, ‘It made me change my way of thinking and celebrate life.'”