Already well established in the reggaetón underground, with roughly a decade of street-level experience under his belt, Daddy Yankee broke into the Latin mainstream big time with Barrio Fino. The first reggaetón album to reach number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, Barrio Fino covers all the bases over the course of 21 tracks, from all-star collaborations ("No Me Dejes Solo," with Wisin & Yandel; "Tu Principe," Zion & Lennox; "Sabor a Melao," Andy Montañez) to English-language crossover ("Like You") to empowering political rap ("Corazones"). Daddy Yankee works chiefly with two production teams -- Luny Tunes and the trio of Monserrate, Fido, and DJ Urba -- though there are also contributions from Eliel, DJ Nelson, Echo & Diesel, and Nely. The Luny Tunes collaborations pay the most dividends, with "Gasolina" and "Lo Que Pasó, Pasó" standing tall as album highlights. Other highlights include "Dale Caliente," "No Me Dejes Solo," "Tu Principe," and "Que Vas a Hacer?" Actually, the first half of Barrio Fino is remarkably solid. Only toward the final quarter of the album sequence do the songs begin to grow tiresome. This is partly because Barrio Fino is so long -- had a half-dozen songs been trimmed from the running length, it would be a non-stop highlight reel. Daddy Yankee deserves a lot of credit for the success of Barrio Fino, for his charisma, energy level, and command of the proceedings are well evident and often infectious. But also credit the producers -- especially Luny Tunes, who turned this album into a showcase of their hitmaking prowess -- and Glory, who sings several of the best hooks and serves as Daddy's sultry female counterpoint. Everyone plays his or her role on Barrio Fino, which, along with Don Omar's The Last Don (2003), is a milestone reggaetón release for its time.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
feat: Wisin & Yandel
feat: Zion & Lennox