Under the umbrella of música urbana, latin trap music grew in popularity in 2016 thanks in part to the success of the Trap Capos: Season 1 album. The compilation was a team effort featuring Puerto Rican rappers like Bryant Myers, Juhn, and Noel Santos Román, who have all gone on to become breakout stars. Román is most known by his stage name Noriel, and since striking gold with the Trap Capos hit “Cuatro Babys” featuring Colombian superstar Maluma, he has kept the momentum behind his career going.

Noriel has made himself a staple in música urbana by working with big names like fellow Puerto Rican acts Bad Bunny, Nicky Jam, and Anuel AA on various tracks and remixes. After raising the profile of Latin trap music even more with last year’s Trap Capos: Season 2, Noriel is now setting his sights on furthering his own career. Following some star-stacked singles, he released songs last year like “El Problema” and “KaRma” without any features. His latest release, “No Te Hagas La Loca,” with rising Colombian reggaetonero Manuel Turizo, is shaping up to be another hit for Noriel.

The season of Noriel is upon us and the 25-year-old artist is just getting warmed up. He talked with us about his favorite projects so far, the current crisis in his homeland of Puerto Rico, and what’s next.

With the Trap Capos album, you’re considered one of the pioneers of Latin trap music. What made you interested in making Latin trap music?

There is something very unique about Latin trap because it’s not meant to be danced to. It’s meant to just help you let go of everything and just chill. I always wanted to be innovative and different. There was a lot of reggaeton out at that time and I guess you could say maybe that’s why I started focusing on Latin trap.

How has life changed for you since appearing on the Trap Capos albums?

It changed completely. It changed everything. We started this whole movement that had not been there before. We were number No. 1 on Billboard for many weeks. We achieved something that nobody had done before. It gave me the opportunity to work with Maluma on that single [“Cuatro Babys”] that had opened a lot of doors for me.

There’s a lot of reggaetoneros and traperos out there right now? How are you different and unique from the rest?

I would be lying if I say that I’m the best. Puerto Rico has exported some of the best of the best. I think what has helped me stay unique: by not doing what the others are doing, to explore with other artists, and to do my own thing, and to go with my gut feeling. That’s always important.

How did the song “No Te Hagas Loca” with Manuel Turizo come together?

Turizo contacted me because he wanted me to collaborate on a song of his [“Una Vez Más”] but then it turns out our vibes were so cool, so I asked him to be on this song as well.

You’ve worked with a lot of different artists. Which one has been your favorite experience?

I have been blessed to collaborate with multiple artists, but my favorite experience was probably “Cuatro Babys” with Maluma and “Duro y Suave” with my sisterLeslie Grace.

Who are some other artists that you would like to collaborate with?

There are so many but I think my top 3 would be the king of kings, Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel, and J Balvin.

How do you feel about all the protests happening right now in Puerto Rico?

It made me sad. It’s bittersweet. I was there. First you are sad because you see how people are taking advantage and all the corruption, but then you feel powerful because we united and made a difference. I was out there with my colleagues. We felt that we needed to do something because at the end of the day that’s what important. It’s our future and that’s not a joke.

What is the future of the Trap Capos albums?

Honestly, right now I am focused on my album, which is set to be released by the end of the year. It will have a little bit of everything. This is my next phase in my music career. I am very excited for you guys to hear it.