Ramon Ayala, otherwise known as 'Daddy Yankee', is one of the many pioneers of the reggaeton genre who's boyhood dream was actually baseball! But, in his early teens he suffered a serious leg wound after being shot with a AK-47 during a neighborhood gun battle. Suddenly, this Yankee's athletic career was over.
Fortunately, Ayala had a knack for singing and lyrical improvisation, having been musically influenced by his family as a child. Fortunately for the music world, he quickly took to the underground rap movement, which was becoming popular in his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico...and by 1992 Daddy Yankee was playing in a new field of dreams.
Early on, Ayala imitated artists such as Vito C, DJ Nelson, and DJ Playero...who got Ayala his first recording gig in the production 'Playero 37'. At the age of 18 Ayala cut his first album 'No Mercy' which didn't sell well, so he eventually formed a duo act with Nicky Jam. Their track 'Posicion' was featured in the movie sound track 'One Tough Cop', however Daddy Yankee quickly re-focused on a solo career.
His albums 'El Cartel' and 'El Cartel II' did well in Puerto Rico, but it was 2002's El Cangri.Com that really took off....in New York and Miami as well. This really helped his cross-over success with English speaking audiences.
Two years later Daddy Yankee hit a grand slam with the album 'Barrio Fina', which featured the smash hit 'Gasolina' and a special, salsa cross-genre single called 'Melao'...which he performed with Andy Montanez. 'Gasolina' was nominated for a Latin Grammy, and an MTV Video Music award, with other tracks on the LP combining reggaeton and other genre's aimed at attracting English speaking audiences.
This led to Ayala's first world tour which included South and Latin America, the United States, and Europe. Soon afterward Ayala received several international awards, making him one of the most recognized reggaeton artists in the industry.
In 2007 Ayala followed up with 'The Big Boss', which became the year's top selling latin album in all categories. It also marked Daddy Yankee's return to his hip hop roots, as opposed to total raggaeton. Later that year, Ayala was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.
In 2008 Ayala made a guest appearance on an album titled 'Caribbean Connection, that also featured artists 'Wisen and Yandel', 'Don Omar', 'Hector Delgado', and Jamaican groups 'Inner Circle', Elephant Man', 'Bounty Killer', and 'Wayne Wonder'.
Then, early this year he performed at Chile's famous Vina Del Mar International Song Festival, where he took home numerous awards. Ayala also won the prestigious 'Spirit of Hope' honorary award at the Latin Billboard Music Awards.
Off stage, Ayala signed a mega-endorsement with Pepsi, and is the first Latin artist to sign a deal with Reebok. He also endorsed John McCain's candidacy for U.S. President, and has worked in the film industry...both as an actor and producer.
Daddy Yankee also co-owns 'El Cartel' Records, has created a charity for troubled youths in Puerto Rico, and owns part of the Caguas Creoles Pro Basketball team. Finally, his guarded personal life does include a 15-year marriage to his wife Mireddys and three young children... who keep Their Daddy Yankee grounded and at home whenever possible!