With his baritone tenor and cheeky lyrics, Darell has become one of the most recognizable figures in the Latin urban landscape. His ad-libs are some of the catchiest — not since Alexis & Fido have grunts and barks becoming such a major part of an artist’s brand. He’s go-to when it comes to the genre’s hottest remixes, appearing on everything from the megahit “Te Boté” to the recent smash “Baby Schai (Remix).” All of it has solidified him as a dependable fan favorite.
His sophomore album, Everybody Go to the Discotek, has been a long time coming. “We were working on this even before my last album, [LVV: The Real Rondon],” he tells Rolling Stone. “But when the pandemic delayed things we decided to sit on this one until we could give it a bigger release.” That delay was a blessing in disguise: Discotek, a 16-track mix of reggaeton and other fusions, benefitted from the extra TLC. As the title suggests, the project sets the mood for painting the evening red at the club — and it gets its name from one of Darell’s more popular catchphrases, “Everybody do to the discotek!” (He even made it pandemic-appropriate back in 2020.)
Darell’s big personality has always come through in his songs, which tend to capture the street-tough but debaucherous qualities he embraces about himself. He spoke to Rolling Stone about some of the standout tracks on his new album sharing his favorites and clearing up some rumors about old beef with one of his guest artists.
“Wait Deh Man” feat. Nicky Jam, Luar La L, Wisin
This was one of the very first songs we ever recorded for this album, so keeping it “alive” took a lot of work. Initially it was just me on it, and then a few months later Nicky Jam came onboard and I locked onto that structure of just us two on the track. Suddenly, from working in the same label as Luar La L, he heard the song and loved it and wanted to hop on, too. We talked it over with Elias De León from White Lion and made it happen, so now it’s us three. And then, with the album almost finished, Wisin shows up! I couldn’t believe it, that the song became this amazing collaboration of all these artists. Now it’s even trending on TikTok!
I really love Dominican dembow. We’re sister islands and we both have that music in our veins. Dembow is one of the genres that most animates me and puts me in a good mood. I’ve collaborated with lots of dembow artists in the past like El Alfa and Kiko El Crazy, and “Rulay” to me is a whole mood. It’s a song that makes you want to be partying, hanging out, rumbeando. I wanted it to be authentic so I went through the correct channels and got El Alfa’s producer, Chael Produciendo, to make sure it was a great song. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.
I wanted something a bit more “street” in the album, because it’s very reggaetón-heavy. Even “Adentro de La Disco” with Myke Towers sounds like malianteo but the beat is mostly reggaetón-slash-perreo. With “Funka” I wanted to mix trap and drill with a Brazilian vibe, and it’s an idea I came up with along with my producers Lil’ Geniuz and Maffio, who are two of my favorite producers to work with. They know my process so we work together very easily.
“Friendly” and “Quiero Verte”
Making songs [that are more sentimental] isn’t hard, but it involves more emphasis on the songwriting part. “Friendly,” to me, has a lot of elements from the urban side — that impulse to be “dirty” in our lyrics — but at the same time has elements of romance and feeling lovelorn, and that gives it an angle. It’s a song about having a friend, and you really like each other, but pride won’t let us be together so we just say we’re friendly. “Quiero Verte” is the same way; it has the common naughty humor from the genre but also tries to be more commercial, and the two complement each other.
“Me Dice Daddy” feat. Omar Courtz
We have to support the new talent coming up. They’re good kids, and the second they decided to try and get into this business, it’s because they have a clear vision of wanting to do things the right way and have a good future. Remember, I come from the projects where I had a zero percent chance of making it out of there and few people helped me, but thank God we made it. Every time I collaborate with a new artist, I feel like I’m giving back and that I’m adding to something positive so a kid can get out of the gutter and push forward. All the new blood can count on me. I learned that from Farruko, who always applied himself that way and supported new artists. He’d tell me, “Do the remixes, help the new guys!”
“Dame Break” feat. Sech
This is also one of the older songs from the album, which we actually first released almost a year ago as the first single. It was very well received, and it’s a collab that had hardly been done since “Otro Trago (Remix)”. I’m really happy with how it turned out and think we did a good job with the back-and-forth between our verses and chorus.
Sech and I had some misunderstandings a while ago, but nothing that couldn’t be worked out and we’re really good right now. Things happened but thanks to mutual friends we patched things up; our friendship was never in real danger. We’ve talked a lot, given each other advice, and I really appreciate him. He’s grown a lot as an artist and it’s been great to see. We were talking over video and I showed him I still had old teddy bear merch from when he started out and he was moved, so he knows that he’s my brother.
A lot of people hear my voice, and it’s rough especially since I’m mostly rapping, but a few times when I want to intonate a chorus people are surprised. They ask me, “Is that really your voice?” It helped me a lot back when I was mostly a songwriter for other artists because I’d have to send them reference tracks singing bonito, and I’d adjust my voice so it’s less rough. I adapted it over time and learned more about the delivery, about singing. I’m not the sharpest singer, but just like how I can switch up my gravelly voice, I feel I can play with a smoother voice, too. It’s a blessing! People used to say I’d be stuck only rapping.
This is my favorite song on the album. Everything that’s a fusion of genres, like this and “Wait Deh Man,” I love doing. With this one we used bachata, which is a type of music we grew up with and then we’d all listen to Luny Tunes mix with reggaetón on Mas Flow. That’s the essence I’m giving on the song, and it’s really my favorite. This one and “Bellako y Solo” are my top ones.