Fresh off the release of his third solo album, reggaeton stalwart Yandel has yet another reason to celebrate. At the epic Cotto-Canelo fight this past Saturday, the Puerto Rican trailbazer made history by being the first Latino artist to perform during an HBO Pay-Per-View event, as Primera Hora reports.
It’s not the first time Latin music stars have taken the stage to hype up a historic boxing match. Back in the day, a three-day music festival known as Zaire 74 helped fuel excitement for Rumble in the Jungle, a legendary fight between boxing champions George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. Of course, none other than la reina Celia Cruz and Fania All-Stars performed in front of a crowd of 80,000 fans.
But Yandel’s show was the first Latino performance to be televised on HBO and Pay-Per-View, a landmark feat in the reggaetonero’s career. As we know, Yandel, along with his partner in crime Wisin, is responsible for some of reggaeton’s most influential songs, a genre that has upended our understanding of Latinidad, gender, and race as we know it. While he’s enjoyed a rich and long career in Latin America and amongst Latinos in the U.S., his performance at a boxing event of this caliber certainly opened doors for him in the Anglo market.
To top it all off, Yandel will become the first-ever Latin artist to livestream a concert via Tidal, the Jay-Z and Beyoncé-owned music platform. The performance is slated for December 12 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Through Cotto Promotions’ partnership with Roc Nation, boxing champ Miguel Cotto is producing the event.
It’s a move that’s momentous for Yandel’s newfound push into the mainstream English-language market, but also one that’s notable for the changing face of music in 2015. Tidal’s success partially depends on the support of other artists, and Yandel’s choice to affiliate with the latest streaming service in the game definitely shows us what side he’s on. Let’s just hope he honors his reggaeton roots (and continues to deliver bangers that will go down in history books) as he navigates the new challenges of the industry.