Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Reggaeton star might bank on homophobia to revive sagging career

Just like Ricky Martin, reggaeton was supposed to be the next Gloria Estefan of the music world.

Instead, with the exception of Calle 13 who released a masterful - if extremely raunchy - album last year that expanded their reggaeton roots to embrace salsa, cumbia and tango rhythms, the top reggaeton stars floundered their promise away with albums that simply didn't catch fire (yes, I'm talking about you Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderón and Don Omar!).

Welcome to the other side of the perennial United States "Latin explosions" that only a few (Shakira? Jenniffer Lopez?) have ridden and been able to survive (Ricky Ricardo? Jose Feliciano? Ricardo Montalban? The Taco Bell chihuahua?).

In November I wrote about a Panamanian reggaeton singer - Mr. Fox - who seemed to buckle the general perception of reggaeton artists as shying away from the homophobic lyrics of some reggae singers. Unfortunately one of the biggest reggaeton stars seems to be ready to join that trend.

Mexico's Es Más is reporting that Puerto Rican reggaeton sensation Don Omar will be releasing a new album this year that will touch on issues related to "sex, social criticism, homosexuality, religion and God."

Not only that but he's releasing the album on Good Friday (March 21) to cash in on religious fervor and promises that "it will be an [album] cover that will leave everyone once again with their mouths open. It will be titled with a name that will leave everyone in the cold."

So don't be fooled by the rocks that he's got! The announcement probably will not surprise fans who know that the singer used to be a preacher (and a member of a group called the Christian Rappers) but we are certainly concerned about the possibility that one of the top reggaeton artists will turn to gay bashing in his lyrics to sell records. Let's hope that's not the case.

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