Puerto Rican pop icon Ozuna: “Latin music is the best music in the world!”

The star, who's teamed up with countryman Anuel AA for massive reggaeton collab 'Los Dioses', talks working with Cardi B and being compared to Kanye

When you have four Guinness records to your name (for Artist With the Most Videos to Reach One Billion Views on YouTube, Most Billboard Latin Music Award Wins for a Single Artist in a Single Year, the Most Billboard Latin Music Award Nominations for a Single Artist in a Single Year and Most Billboard Latin Music Award wins for a Single Artist in a Single Year), you have the right to call yourself a pop god.

READ MORE: Anuel AA & Ozuna – ‘Los Dioses’ review: Latin pop titans lock horns on massive reggaeton collab

So it was big news when Ozuna joined forces with the fellow Puerto Rican pop icon Anuel AA to drop ‘Los Dioses’, their joint album bursting with tropical sounds, which is raw and vulnerable in all the right places. Ozuna and Anuel turn simple brotherly love to an astonishing 12-track record, proving that they’re at the top of their game. Now, being the forefront of Latin music as he is, Ozuna is also onto other things – including being a part of the never-ending Fast & Furious franchise, appearing in the upcoming Fast & Furious 9 alongside his bestie Cardi B.

He’s making his continent proud, so NME caught up with Ozuna to talk all things ‘Los Dioses’, working with Cardi B and where he thinks he and the rest of Latin music will be next.

Hi Ozuna! How are you doing?

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“The quarantine for me is half-and-half. Being at home with my family is very good, but I need my public and I need my fans. I need to do shows, go to the studio and work. My new music is so different right now, because I only have time for me and not shows or the world. It’s half-and-half right now.”

What do you miss most about concerts?

“Concerts – that’s my life for real. That’s the most important thing about my career because I go to the studio to record, but I also go around the world touring and make music too. I tour in Europe and the US, and I miss my fans and getting good vibes from them.”

Congrats on the album ‘Los Dioses’ with Anuel AA! How that collaboration come about?

“[For] the last three years, the fans have been waiting for this album. They needed us as a duo in one album. I didn’t plan to make the album but every time we made music, with Anuel, it was the best vibe. We were like, ‘Yo! Let’s do the album’. We had already done collabs like ‘Adicto’, ‘Bebé’ — I thought that the fans needed it.”

Why did you call yourselves ‘the gods’?

“Anuel picked the name, but it’s a concept. In the studio, I’m doing my work and I feel like a god in my work. That’s why the title is a concept. A doctor is a god in the hospital; a boxer is a god in the ring. But there is still only one God in the world.”

How do you describe the music you guys made on ‘Los Dioses’?

“This album is the old Ozuna; the street Ozuna. There’s a different vibe in the music; I can do bachata, la salsa, dancehall, balada, but this was for the streets. The old fans were waiting for the old Ozuna, so I wanted to put that into the beats, the lyrics and the albums.”

‘Antes’ is a great club track. Are you surprised at the massive fan response its received?

“[We] made this for the time. People need those songs to remind us of the old times when we were allowed in the club and it’s just time for this song [to be released]. I love this song! It’s my favourite on the album. ”

People see you and Anuel like the Kanye and Jay-Z of Latin music — how does that feel?

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“Anuel is my brother for real. We met in 2015 and this man has always had the best heart. He’s real peoples. I think people who know about Anuel know that. When I met him, he was like, ‘Yo, I don’t have much’, but I was like, ‘I got you because that’s more important’. When you have the money and the fame, not many have a brother who can tell you the real. I just want to inspire the new artists and next generation with this duo.”

Why do you think you’re considered the ‘it’ guy of Latin music?

“I put everything in the hands of God. Also, having my family and the right mindset, I’m a lot better off. I don’t think of the money and the fame, or being more ‘up’. I love the music and the culture – that’s why I do it. That’s why the people love Ozuna. I do it with love.”

You’ve worked with huge stars like Cardi B — what’s it like, rubbing shoulders with the big shots?

“Cardi B is my sister. She’s great. She’s like family. She calls me up not about work but like, ‘How’s your family? You good?’. For me she’s the best woman and the realest woman in the world. She helped me with my career; when we went to the Billboard Awards [in 2018 [for a performance of their song ‘Modela’] while she was pregnant, I knew she was there for me. I have love for that woman!

And what’s the future for Ozuna?

“I got my family right now. I’m working on my movies. I’ve got different projects on the table. I do music right now, but I want to take time for myself and other projects.”

And what’s the future of latin music?

“Latin music right now is around the world. It’s the best music in the world because we have the hook; we have everything. I love the American music, Arabic music, Asian music, but I think we need more collabs around the world. Not only the melodies; we need Latin musicians to make music with Japanese musicians, so all music can go up. I love the union, so we should just vibe in the studio and have a good vibe. Go around the world and make that music. Tomorrow is a different day, but today – you need to be happy.”

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