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De la Ghetto

De la Ghetto

Well versed in reggaeton, Latin trap, pop, and hip-pop, De la Ghetto is a prolific urbano artist born in the U.S. and raised in Puerto Rico. He first established himself alongside onetime duo partner Arcángel, landing a major reggaeton hit with 2005's "Ven Pégate." Known for his bilingual rhyming style delivered in a percussive, rapid-fire cadence, De la Ghetto forged a solo career after the duo's 2007 split. While albums like 2008's Masacre Musical and 2018's Mi Movimiento have performed well on the charts, his focus has largely been on the numerous singles, mixtape tracks, and collaborations that have made him a staple of Latin radio, video, and streaming. As a featured artist, he has been involved with hits like "Aparentemente" by Yaga & Mackie (with Arcángel), Nicky Jam's "Si Tú No Estás," and "1,2,3" with Sofia Reyes and Jason Derulo. De la Ghetto's success has continued into the 2020s; his singles have been streamed into the millions and in 2023 he began a new era with his first independent album, GZ.

Born Rafael Castillo on September 17, 1982, in New York City, he later moved with his family to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and became involved with the city's burgeoning reggaeton scene. In 2004 he founded Arcángel y De la Ghetto, a duo with fellow New York City-born Puerto Rican artist Arcángel (born Austin Santos). They first established themselves with the song "Ven Pégate," which is featured on the popular Hector El Father-hosted mixtape album Sangre Nueva (2005). Throughout 2005 and 2006, Arcángel y De la Ghetto were featured on a variety of reggaeton albums, including Luny Tunes' Mas Flow: Los Benjamins (2006), and were associated with Baby Records, the label of Zion (of the duo Zion & Lennox).

Arcángel announced in December 2006 that he was embarking on a solo career and founding a label of his own. In the wake of Arcángel's announcement, De la Ghetto launched his own solo career and was subsequently featured on one of his biggest hits to date, the Tito El Bambino and Randy remix of "Siente el Boom" featured on the album Top of the Line: El Internacional (2007). Also in 2007 he scored his second major hit with "Sensación del Bloque," another of his collaborations with Randy.

Following these mainstream breakthroughs, De la Ghetto made his major-label full-length album debut with Masacre Musical (2008); it peaked on the Top Latin Albums chart at number 46, and its single "Dificil" peaked at number 42 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. While the artist didn't issue another full-length for five years, he was intensely active. In 2009 alone, he issued five singles from Musical Massacre, including the Top 40 Hot Latin Songs track "Tu Te Imaginas." De la Ghetto and his label and management kept up his profile by issuing tracks for dozens of compilations as well as his own singles.

In 2013 he released the full-length Geezy Boys: The Album; it netted five hit singles including "Saciar la Sed," "Ahí Ahí Ahí," and "Sincero Amor" (whose remix featured Arcángel). De la Ghetto and his team began issuing videos that kept his tracks and collaborations popping up on social media and streaming charts. Between 2016 and 2018, he placed no less than nine songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart, and six more on other select lists including Latin Airplay and Tropical Songs, while upping his output as a guest exponentially. In fact, De la Ghetto was, by 2016, one of the most in-demand studio talents in reggaeton.

His third album, Mi Movimiento, was issued by Warner Music in September of 2018. It included 17 tracks, many of which were selected by fans on his social media accounts. The set included collaborations with a large number of artists, including fellow chart-masters Wisin, Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, Maluma, Fetty Wap, and more. In July 2020, he appeared alongside Arcángel on Anitta's track "Tócame." Three months later, he returned with his fourth studio album, Los Chulitos, which featured guest appearances by Nicky Jam, Manuel Turizo, Justin Quiles, Jowell & Randy, and Farruko. A typically prolific period followed over the next two years with highlights like "Cuando Bebe," a multi-artist super-collaboration that included Myke Towers, Mambo Kingz, and Jay Menez, among others. 2022's "Loco Por Pearrearte (Remix)" with Rauw Alejandro was also a big hit, and maintained the demand for his next full-length, and first as an independent artist, GZ, in 2023. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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