We still can’t get Steve Aoki’s colorful Latin Grammy performance of “Mi Gente” from last November — with J. Balvin, French Montana and Bad Bunny — out of our heads. The talented trio rocked the awards show with explosive sounds, vibrant choreography, neon-colored wares and nightclub vibes. Now the Asian-American DJ and music producer, who remixed “Mi Gente,” is pairing up with another Latin music powerhouse: Daddy Yankee. Aoki’s new song “Azukita” features the reggaeton singer, Merengue-pop artist Elvis Crespo and Texas hip-hop and electronica producers Play-N-Skillz, Juan “Play” and Oscar “Skillz” Salinas.
Daddy Yankee talked to PEOPLE CHICA about this unique musical adventure. “It’s been super cool. Steve Aoki is very creative,” he says of the collaboration. “Play-N-Skillz and I had the track, we sent it to Aoki, and when he sent us back the song and we heard the drop, we knew he had a special song.”
Aoki’s love of Latin music is nothing new. “I’ve always gravitated to Latin artists — whether Yankee or Balvin or Bad Bunny, I look up to what they’re doing,” he told Billboard. “Azukita,” co-produced by Play-N-Skillz, is Aoki’s first Spanish-language track. The song is a result of raw talent and a little serendipity.
“We had been in communication with Steve Aoki about at some point doing a Latin inspired record,” Play-N-Skillz told Billboard. “We were in studio with Daddy Yankee working on his project when our publicist tells us Elvis Crespo wanted to come by. We mentioned it to Yankee and I suggested doing a mega collab, with all of us. I face-timed Steve with Daddy Yankee in the room with us and we told him the idea for the song. He loved it and we went after it. Elvis came to the studio that night and we all started vibing to the track right away. The lyrics and melody just flowed, and within a few hours we had the song.”
Daddy Yankee tells PEOPLE CHICA about working with Crespo: “I am an Elvis Crespo fan. I love his Merengue music and how he fuses it with other genres. He sounds very natural with electronic music because of his peculiar voice. We told Play-N-Skillz we had to produce this with Elvis because he is a creative nut and that makes him stand out.”
Crespo returned the compliment, talking to PEOPLE CHICA about Daddy Yankee: “He is a genius in his genre and his energy is extremely contagious. We stayed up all night recording, sharing ideas and ‘Azukita’ emerged,” he adds about the spontaneous birth of the song, recorded in Los Angeles.
The good news is that the future holds more Latin tracks mixed by Aoki. “There are other original songs that are in the works but this is the first that has come out,” he told Billboard. “And to open the door with Yankee, that’s a big welcome to the community.”