It’s been just 24 hours since notorious Latin trap artist Anuel AA was released, and as fans continue to stream his surprise album Real Hasta La Muerte, we’re learning more about the Puerto Rican rapper’s experience in prison. The artist better known as Emmanuel Gazmey Santiago gave his first interviews to Billboard and Apple Music’s Trap Kingz show yesterday, opening up about his creative process, his perception of his fame, and the new music he’s working on.
Check out the interviews below, and scroll down for highlights from both of the conversations.
H/T: Billboard & Apple Music
He recorded his surprise album in 7 days.
Anuel AA told Apple Music’s Trap Kingz show that he recorded 22 songs for Real Hasta La Muerte over the course of a 7-day period, during his month-long stay at a halfway house in Miami. “I recorded 22 songs in 7 days, and from the 22 we divided them so we wouldn’t use them all for the first album…I didn’t get to hear the album [before its release] because they locked me up again.”
He feels he was targeted for arrest due to his explicit lyrics.
Anuel told Billboard that he knew he was in trouble as soon as he was in police custody. “As soon as they arrested me, I knew they were going to take me in, because I feel they arrested me for everything I say in my songs…they arrested me for my music. For everything I said, which is real, what people see and live in the streets – not only in Puerto Rico but in the whole world.”
He wasn't able to see his son for over a year.
Anuel told Billboard that he was able to speak with his son over the phone and see pictures of him during his time in prison, but while he was in detention in Puerto Rico, he was prohibited from seeing him during visits. “A year passed without me seeing him. In the prison in Puerto Rico, they didn’t let me accept any visits with him.”
He spent 90 days in solitary confinement.
After a prison incident, Anuel was sent to solitary confinement for 90 days, where he was not allowed to speak to anyone. He told Billboard, “I kept listening to the radio, listening to what has happening in the streets. I would write.”
He was friends with Ozuna before they were famous.
Anuel opened up about his friendship with Ozuna, revealing they were friends before either of them were on the charts. “We’ve known each other since before we were famous. When we started out, both of us were recording music, working, trying to get ahead, but we weren’t famous yet…eventually we did two collaborations together and that’s when we exploded.” After he completes 60 days of probation, Anuel will go on tour with Ozuna.