Earlier this month, Nicky Jam and J Balvin started teasing the remix for “X,” the joint track that toppled “Despacito” from the no. 1 spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart in May. They wouldn’t say which artists they’d feature on the rework, but Billboard set up a poll for listeners who wanted to place some bets, and they threw out Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Maluma, and Anuel AA as some potential guesses.
The guys eventually let the secret out on Instagram and shared that Maluma and Ozuna would be the ones joining them on “X,” and today, the long-awaited collaboration is finally out. The remix starts with super light vocals from Ozuna, whose singing kicks off the track before he launches into some bars. Maluma picks things up where Ozuna leaves off with his own smooth delivery skirting above the song’s snaking synth line and steel drum flourishes. They help take the song into new reggaeton romántico heights as they unspool lyrics about winning a girl over, and with the dynamics of their voices, these new verses actually feel like an upgrade from the already massive hit.
The remix works as a who’s who of mainstream reggaeton at the moment. Both Balvin and Maluma are reeling after debuting two new albums (Balvin’s Vibras consequently led him to become the most streamed artist on Spotify worldwide). Ozuna is also coming off of a banner year: He’s the most streamed artist on YouTube with more than 2.7 billion views, and he’s scored awards as Best New Artist at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards and iHeartRadio Music Awards. Nicky Jam, meanwhile, is planning an English-language album and just linked up with Will Smith for a World Cup anthem.
With that amount of star power, “X” will probably keep surging up the charts and showing reggaeton’s strength in numbers.