On Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs Producers chart for 2019, the two forces behind the label Hear This Music sit among the top four spots. At No. 3 is the duo Edgar and Xavier Semper, who are also known as the Mambo Kingz, and one spot below them is their collaborator Luian Malavé Nieves, a.k.a DJ Luian. The Puerto Rican team is not only responsible for some of the biggest hits in Latin music in 2019 but also in the past five years. DJ Luian looked back with Remezcla on a few of the most important songs to come from Hear This Music.
“It’s been like 15 years since I’ve known them,” DJ Luian says of the Mambo Kingz. “We have always maintained a beautiful relationship. It was like 3 years ago that we sat down and said, ‘We have to work together because together we can achieve more things.'” Their label Hear This Music was born soon after, which helped popularize Latin trap music.
Of just about any superstar in música urbana that you can think of, most likely DJ Luian and the Mambo Kingz have already recorded with them. “In Latin music, I’ve collaborated with all the people that I’ve wanted to work with,” Luian says. “Thanks to God that I have a good relationship with all of them.”
One of the biggest stars in Latin music today, Bad Bunny, was discovered by DJ Luian and the Mambo Kingz. Why they chose to give him a chance, DJ Luian says, “He had something unique and had a different look. Music in that moment lacked someone like him.” Even though he parted ways with them in late 2018, DJ Luian adds, “We achieved together what we achieved, which was to create music.”
DJ Luian and Mambo Kingz are still steadily releasing all-star collaborations. Their most recent is “Música” with fellow Puerto Rican acts Farruko, Myke Towers, Darell, Arcángel and Wisin. After working with Drake and Cardi B, DJ Luian hopes to court more English-language acts as well. “I would love to work with Rihanna and The Weeknd,” he says.
"La Ocasión" (2016)
“La Ocasión” is one of the first big hits from Hear This Music. “One of biggest songs in my career is ‘La Ocasión,'” says DJ Luian. “It’s one of the songs that had Ozuna and Anuel AA together with Arcángel and De La Ghetto. It was a Latin trap anthem on a global level. I believe it began to take Latin trap to another level. It was a song that opened the doors for all us around the world.”
J Balvin and Bad Bunny’s Oasis album notably featured a Hear This Music production, “Odio.” The song was released after El Conejo Malo’s falling out with the guys. “We made ‘Odio’ more or less at the same time that we did ‘Sensualidad,'” DJ Luian says. “Even though it came out on last year’s Oasis EP, in reality, we worked on that song a long time ago before that.” DJ Luian and Mambo Kingz also wrote on Cardi B’s smash “I Like It,” which Luian reveals was part of the same sessions. “It was at the same time that we did ‘Sensualidad’ and ‘Odio.’ We were working on a lot of things with Bad Bunny and J Balvin.”
For “Sensualidad,” DJ Luian and the Mambo Kingz teamed up with Bad Bunny, Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin and Latin pop star Prince Royce. “‘Sensualidad’ was an idea that we created with Prince Royce,” says DJ Luian. “Later Bad Bunny joined and lastly, I presented the song to J Balvin and he loved it. We shot the music video in the Dominican Republic. It was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2018.”
“Bubalu” is one of the Mambo Kingz and DJ Luian’s memorable collaborations with Puerto Rican trapero Anuel AA. They added another Latin pop star to the mix with Becky G. “When Anuel came out of prison, we had the opportunity to work with him for like two weeks in the studio,” DJ Luian says. “We created a lot of songs together, including ‘Bubalu.’ Like with ‘Sensualidad,’ we presented it to Prince Royce and then Becky G joined. I believe we created something very interesting.”
“Mia” is the biggest hit to come from DJ Luian and the Mambo Kingz. The song peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 chart. “Drake called us to create a song together with Bad Bunny,” DJ Luian says. “We went with five songs that we already had made. The one that Drake liked the most was ‘Mia.’ Me and the Mambo Kingz guided Drake for him to be able to record in Spanish. It was easy. I was thinking it would be a little difficult. In reality, Drake, who doesn’t know Spanish, knew how to imitate the sounds well. We sang it in Spanish and he repeated it until we got what we wanted. When we heard the final product, we knew we had an anthem.”
'Mala Santa' (2019)
After collaborating with Becky G on “Bubalu,” DJ Luian and the Mambo Kingz worked on her debut album Mala Santa. “We were the executive producers on that album,” he says. “We made that whole album together with her. Becky G is very talented. We created like 25 songs and we narrowed it down to the songs you see on the album. We spent like three months working on it. I think the final result was excellent.”
“Música”is one of Hear This Music’s reggaeton productions. “We made that song with Farruko like a year ago,” DJ Luian says. “We were waiting to release it and I believe we put it out at the perfect time. We were able to team up with Wisin, Myke Towers, Darell and Arcángel. Making that song was very interesting.” Everybody went to the discotek for this one.