Daddy Yankee joins the list of celebrities who are stepping away from their successful careers in entertainment to devote their life to Christianism. The 46-year-old Puerto Rican global sensation Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez announced his retirement from reggaeton music in 2022 but never clarified the reasons until now.
During Yankee’s last day of his farewell tour, La Meta (The Goal), in his homeland, the “Gasolina” and “Despacito” interpreter gave a lengthy speech revealing why he was leaving behind the genre that catapulted him into mainstream levels.
“My people, this day for me is the most important day of my life. And I want to share it with you because living a life of success is not the same as living a life with purpose,” the artist said in Spanish.
Despite Daddy Yankee being known for coining the term “reggaeton,” also known as reggaetón and reguetón, and being the Spanish-speaking artist who opened the doors for the following generations, the star told the over 18,000 people at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico that Jesus Christ had filled his gaps. “I have to confess that those days are over. Someone was able to fill that emptiness,” he said.
In his message, Daddy Yankee referenced a Bible verse in Spanish: “What good will it be for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
“That is why tonight, I recognize, and I am not ashamed to tell the whole world that Jesus lives in me and that I will live for him,” he assured with his hand to the sky.
Retiring from his stage name
Daddy Yankee also broke the news that he would embrace “a new beginning” by using his birth name, Ramón Ayala. “All the tools that I have in my possession such as music, social networks, platforms, a microphone — everything that Jesus gave me — is now for his kingdom,” he said. “Thank you very much, Puerto Rico, and I hope that you walk with me in this new beginning.”
“To all the people who followed me, follow Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life,” he added. “Just like Jesus, with his mercy, allowed me to travel the world, in your mercy, Father, I hope you allow me to evangelize the world from Puerto Rico. Amen.”
Born Ramón Ayala in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Daddy Yankee began his career in the ’90s rapidly gaining popularity and later coining the word reggaeton to describe the new music genre emerging from the island and mixing English-language hip-hop, Latin Caribbean music, Jamaican reggae, and Spanish-language rapping and singing.
After releasing “Gasolina” in 2004, Yankee has sold around 30 million records, becoming one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time. His album Barrio Fino also made history after becoming the top-selling Latin Music Album of the Decade (2000–2009).