Daddy Yankee Gasolina

Generally, a so-called "hit single" is deemed as such by using one primary criterion: it hit a significant mark on a music industry chart. So how could someone describe fairly the chart success of "Gasolina," a song by Puerto Rican recording artist Daddy Yankee that still lingers on international sales and airplay charts two full years after its initial release?
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Daddy Yankee "Gasolina"Single: "Gasolina"

Album: Barrio Fino (El Cartel Records)

Date Recorded: July 2003 through July 2004 at The Lab Studios in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Producers: LunyTunes, Urba & Monserrate, Echo & Diesel

Engineers: Hyde, Echo, LunyTunes

Mix Engineers: Hyde, Echo, LunyTunes

Mastering: Nestor Salomon of Digito Recording Services

Other Projects: As an engineer, mixer, and artist/musician, José "Hyde" Cotto has worked with various Latin American successes such as Vico C, Puya, Tego Calderón, Yaga & Mackie, Ivy Queen, among others.

Single Songwriters: Ayala (Daddy Yankee) and Davila

Console: Amek Angela 2

Recorder: Digidesign Pro Tools|HD

Monitors: Yamaha NS-10M, Genelec 1038A, KRK V88

Vocal Microphone: Neumann U87

Vocal Processing: Avalon 737 microphone preamp, Waves Q-Clone EQ plug-in
(click thumbnail)Generally, a so-called "hit single" is deemed as such by using one primary criterion: it hit a significant mark on a music industry chart. So how could someone describe fairly the chart success of "Gasolina," a song by Puerto Rican recording artist Daddy Yankee that still lingers on international sales and airplay charts two full years after its initial release? By simply recognizing it for what it is: the world's official introduction to Reggaetón, a musical amalgamation featuring the sounds of Jamaican Dancehall and American Hip-Hop mixed together with tons of Latin flavor.

"It was a surprise for us," comments engineer, mixer, and musician José "Hyde" Cotto about the success of "Gasolina." Cotto, a four-time Latin Grammy winner and 2003 graduate of SAE Institute in Miami, has worked alongside Yankee for years. "We thought it was going to be big, but we didn't know that it would catapult Reggaetón into the international market."

Cotto doesn't exaggerate either. "Gasolina" is presently bouncing around the Top 10 Latin singles on iTunes (alongside two other Daddy Yankee singles) and regularly bumps in discotheques worldwide. So it may not be new, but to many, it's as fresh as the day it was released.

(click thumbnail)José "Hyde" Cotto
Recorded and mixed at The Lab Studios in San Juan, Puerto Rico — where Cotto is chief engineer —"Gasolina" began with a decidedly upbeat Reggaetón groove and a one-word hook that most anyone could grasp. "Almost everybody, no matter what language they speak, knows what 'gasolina' means," offers Cotto. "People everywhere could identify with the song and the hook."

To record Yankee's lushly reverbed vocal tracks, Hyde used a signal chain consisting of a Neumann U87 microphone and an Avalon 737 preamp running straight to Pro Tools|HD, compressed only slightly. "The U87 is my favorite for recording Reggaetón and Hip-Hop," offers Cotto. "Also, I play around with reverbs a lot; Reggaetón is a type of music where the vocals can be really, really wet at times."

Today, American rap icons are seeking Hyde and the Reggaetón sounds he has helped craft to further expand the boundaries of Hip-Hop. "It's surprising to me," he says humbly. "I feel flattered. It's an honor every time someone from the States asks me to do something for them. It means that we're doing something right."