2019 is shaping up to be a big year for J Balvin: In addition to opening up the Grammys and dropping a special clothing collection with Guess, he recently teamed up with Tainy, Benny Blanco, and Selena Gomez for the track “I Can’t Get Enough.” Today, he’s unveiling another massive collaboration: “Contra La Pared,” which features dancehall icon Sean Paul.
Paul and Balvin had both teased the track and the video yesterday on Instagram. Like “I Can’t Get Enough,” it’s another laidback, slow-winding Tainy production driven by looping flute samples and a stripped-back beat. In between Balvin’s lulling vocals, Paul jumps in to drop a couple of verses and even delivers a few lines in Spanish, giving the track its energy. There’s even a playful interpolation of the children’s song “Cucara Macara.”
The video for “Contra La Pared” is expected to come out tomorrow — according to Entertainment Tonight, the guys shot it in Utah’s Lake Powell, in an area where the director Andy Hines said, “no one has really shot” before.
“Contra La Pared” isn’t the first song that has featured the two of them together. Back in 2017, Balvin and Paul joined forces for a much more upbeat Major Lazer track called “Buscando Huellas.” In an interview, Paul told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe that they met at a Farruko album release party. “I didn’t know he was an artist,” said Paul. “Both of us was kinda looking for food. We was hungry. He goes like, ‘Yo, that’s Sean Paul buying a hamburger.’”
And, it’s also not the first time that Balvin has shown his deep interest in Caribbean rhythms: “Ambiente,” off of his last album Vibras, had very clear Jamaican reggae influences. Getting Paul in on this collaboration is an indicator Balvin wants to keep trying out the sound and getting dancehall artists directly involved in his projects.
Just before 2018 closed out, Balvin had been busy with frequent late-night TV appearances and had been working on new music. Already, “I Can’t Get Enough” has six million views, and Balvin is reportedly still working on a joint album with Bad Bunny. All of this is part of what he’s called his global domination plan, and he shows no signs of stopping.
Stream the track below: