Rafael Castillo, also known by his stage name De La Ghetto, is a Latin artist that burst into the reggaeton domain. Before becoming a recording artist, De La Ghetto was heavily influenced by Latin, hip-hop, rap, soul, and funk music at an early age.
As he developed his artistry, De La Ghetto saw a rise in his brand after collaborating with Fetty Wap on his song, “F.L.Y.” The collaboration demonstrated De La Ghetto’s ability to adapt to the hip-hop world. The single is his most significant collaboration to date.
De La Ghetto is an all-around artist that can record hip-hop jams in English and Spanish. Also, he pays homage to Southern rappers by incorporating Trap music into Reggaeton.
Fans will hear more of him on his new album, Mi Movimento. On this album, he collaborated with Latin urban artists, J Balvin, Maluma, Wisin & Yandel, Daddy Yankee, and Nicky Jam. He also has another hit single, “1,2,3” with Sofia Reyes and Jason Derulo. The record is now an international single in 50 countries.
The Grammy-nominated Latin artist recently performed at the Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Festival at the Barclays Center and it was a huge success. De La Ghetto gave his all to the fans while he was on stage.
Singersroom.com spoke with the Latin superstar about his positioning in the music industry. Check it out!
Latin + Hip + Hop Emerged – I love music ever since I was a kid. I was born in New York, raised in Puerto Rico and I was the only kid bumping R&B and hip-hop. In PR, we had Reggaeton, but I was into everything. I didn’t limit myself. I was into music from the ATL, Memphis, East Coast, West Coast, just everything. I’m more of an urban Latino artist. But, some people were like “Oh, you think you’re black,” and it was not about color. It was all about my love for music because it was so pure for me! Around 2005-2006, my sound was more Reggaeton, but I wanted to change it up a little bit. A lot of Reggaeton artists weren’t really adding hip-hop at the time. I wanted to add a mixture of Latin music and hip-hop. Then, hip-hop was becoming more popular in PR, but they were doing it in Spanish. Reggaeton started adding more R&B, hip-hop, and Spanglish and it became this movement in PR. It was my pathway to follow a similar path and do something different.
I was working on my music for 11-12 years straight, and I started on YouTube and Myspace while I was on an independent label. I was just using everything to my advantage, so I can present music to my fans. In Puerto Rico, we didn’t have access to iTunes, iPhone, or Apple; it wasn’t accessible in Latin America. I was working on my mixtape and Myspace and YouTube was the only way I could release my music. But, now everything has changed; people are streaming Latin music more because it’s diverse. It was just a matter of time before Latin music became more urban.
Collaboration with Fetty Wap on the song, “F.L.Y” – The record is just a feel-good record. You want to feel good inside and out, and it’s not about materialistic things or designer brands. You should feel good about yourself, job, your loved ones, or just life period. You’re F.L.Y when you’re doing for yourself and the family, taking care of business, and just making moves. I worked with Fetty Wap after meeting him two years ago in Puerto Rico. They wanted to do a video in my neighborhood, and after the shoot, we just started talking. And from that point, I was working on the song in LA, and it was halfway done, and I was like something is missing on the record. I was like Fetty would sound good on the record. I sent it to Fetty, and he loved the song. The song fits Fetty’s style, and he jumped on it right away. We shot the video in New Jersey, and we just had fun shooting the video. Then the song became so popular on Spotify and YouTube, and my fan base grew. I started receiving a lot of love from the states even though I was born in Puerto Rico.
Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Festival – It took place on June 8th at the Barclays Center, and it was a good concert. People saw the best of both worlds, meaning hip-hop and Latin music. Jaden Smith was there, so people saw him do his thing on stage. You can really capture that spin on hip-hop in the music. I grew up listening to salsa and soul music from Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind Fire, so it’s all good.
De La Ghetto’s Stage Presence – There will be nothing but positive vibes on stage and LOTS of energy. Just want to have fun and let it all out. Fans will feel my energy on stage while I do me. I love what I do, and I love the crowd. It’s not rehearsed, and it’s all natural. I have my DJ, dancers, band and we just rock out as soon as the music plays.
Latin Grammy nomination – It was a BIG accomplishment. Hard work pays off. It’s a blessing to be even nominated for a Grammy. It was just great, being there on the red carpet while people are saying your name. Now, on my profile, I can say I am a Grammy nominated Latin artist. I wasn’t thirsty to receive the award because I felt like I already won when I was nominated. It made me feel like people are recognizing and respecting my music. I was preparing for this moment for 11 years, and now it’s here. I won in other ways because I’m not in jail or a coffin. God gave me the strength to carry on and always love my craft. The money and fortune will come later on, but you must do everything from the heart. I’m just happy I signed with Warner Music Group two years ago in order for me to receive the nomination. I’m just blessed.
New album, Mi Movimento (My movement) – The album is more mature than my other releases. But, it has the same essence; it’s more worldwide and laid-back. The album has a little bit of everything: Reggaeton, Reggae, R&B, and Hip-Hop. I didn’t want to get too crazy, but I needed it to have a 2018 music vibe.
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