Nuevo Culture

Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” Inducted into National Recording Registry

Before ascending to his status as the Godfather of Reggaeton, Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez, now famously known as Daddy Yankee, was immersed in the vibrant sounds of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Living in his modest apartment within the projects, he was surrounded by the cacophony of revving engines and playful catcalls echoing from the streets below. It was during one such moment, as he recounted to Billboard in 2014, that a simple phrase reverberated in his mind: “Cómo le gusta la gasolina!” – a playful comment directed at girls riding in flashy cars with men.

This phrase took hold of Daddy Yankee‘s imagination, and he began building upon it, adding the infectious line “Dame más gasolina!” The result was the catchy chorus that would define his mega-hit, “Gasolina,” propelling the rapper to international stardom and elevating reggaeton from an emerging genre rooted in the Black working-class neighborhoods of Panama, New York, and Puerto Rico, to one of the music industry’s most lucrative styles.

Recently, “Gasolina” achieved another milestone by becoming the first reggaeton song to be inducted into the National Recording Registry at the prestigious Library of Congress. Among the 25 chosen recordings and albums that will be preserved as part of the nation’s audio history, this party anthem, featuring the reggaeton singer Glory, stands as a testament to the genre’s soaring popularity.

Originally released as the lead single for Daddy Yankee’s third studio album, Barrio Fino, “Gasolina” made history as the first reggaeton song to receive a record of the year nomination at the 2005 Latin Grammys, where the album clinched the best urban music album award.

This triumph marked the genre’s undeniable ascent, leading Daddy Yankee to enjoy a continuous flow of hit records and collaborations with fellow reggaeton superstars throughout 2017. The year 2017 also witnessed him shatter records with the unforgettable “Despacito,” a collaboration with Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber that held its position as Billboard’s Hot 100 No. 1 for an impressive duration.

Felix Contreras, host of NPR’s Alt Latino, lauded Daddy Yankee, stating that he not only became one of the most successful Latin music pop stars but also played a pivotal role in globalizing the reggaeton craze. Katelina Gata Eccleston, who contributed to Spotify’s Loud podcast, chronicling reggaeton’s rise, emphasized that “Gasolina” drew a clear line for the genre’s mainstream chart success.

‘Gasolina’ undoubtedly demonstrated to the industry that this music is not only entertaining but also commercially viable

After a remarkable career that spanned over three decades, Daddy Yankee gracefully stepped away from the spotlight last year, leaving behind a musical legacy with the release of his final album, Legendaddy.

Among the other esteemed recordings and albums selected for preservation by the Library of Congress are Madonna‘s “Like a Virgin,” Mariah Carey‘s cherished Christmas classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and Led Zeppelin‘s iconic “Stairway to Heaven.” Additionally, the Super Mario Bros. theme, composed by Koji Kondo, received an honorable mention as the first video game theme to join the registry.