Released on November 26, on its 29th birthday, “Legends Never Die” topped Billboard’s “Top Latin Albums” and “Latin Rhythm Albums” charts this week and 10 of its 15 songs were featured on the “Hot Latin Songs ”.
NEW YORK — Anuel AA finally felt free to express himself uncensored on his new album, “Legends Never Die,” at the end of his three-year probation for a case of illegal possession of weapons by him. who also spent 10 months in jail.
“I finally felt that freedom to be able to express whatever I wanted in a song,” the Puerto Rican trap and reggaeton musician said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “Thank God I have already left that stage of my life, that process, and well, I learned a lot from him. It made me stronger and bigger ”.
Released on November 26, on its 29th birthday, “Legends Never Die” topped Billboard’s “Top Latin Albums” and “Latin Rhythm Albums” charts this week and 10 of its 15 songs were featured on the “Hot Latin Songs ”. The first single, “Dictadura”, has been a success in countries that include the United States, Colombia, Spain, Argentina and Mexico, and its respective video has more than 54 million views on YouTube.
It is his third studio album (apart from “The gods” with Ozuna this year) after “Real hasta la muerte” (2018) and “Emmanuel” (2020), and pays tribute to idols who inspired him throughout his life, especially basketball stars like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
The art for this project – including five covers and several videos – was actually done with basketball as the concept. Anuel AA is also co-owner of the Capitanes de Arecibo, a team that last month became champion of the professional league of Puerto Rico, the National Superior Basketball.
From his home in Miami, where he has lived since he was released from jail three years ago, the artist spoke on a video call about his music, his creative process and his desire to inspire. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
AP: The album begins with “Real hasta la muerte”, an introduction of almost 10 minutes with very strong lyrics about the violence in the neighborhood.
Anuel AA: You know that I was known for my trap music, which was like more wild, with a lot of adrenaline, more from the street, talking about my past experiences. I wanted to make that music for a long time and since I was on probation I did not feel free, I had to watch what my songs said a lot because even if it is music it can be misinterpreted. Now I finally felt that freedom to be able to express whatever I wanted in a song. It is a song that I feel has a lot of adrenaline and a lot of street. My biggest fan is from the street and I wanted them to feel on another level from the beginning of the album, like bringing them into my world. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album.
AP: Can you tell us a little about how that time on probation was for you?
Anuel AA: Probation is like being half free and half in their hands, the federals, because they have you under surveillance. I was on probation for three years. Those three years I was reporting to them, taking drug tests, which of course I was always clean and well, I never had problems. But it is something that even to leave – I could not leave my country because when I left it was based on contracts, I had to teach even the “wire transfers” (bank transfers) that were sent for payments, all my contracts; monthly I had to send all the information from my bank account. Psychologically, you don’t feel free; it becomes a stress. Although one is not doing anything, one can be in the house calm and the phone rings and one gets nervous. Thank God I have already left that stage of my life, that process, and well I learned a lot from him. It made me stronger and bigger.
AP: And did it also inspire you to write these songs?
Anuel AA: It inspired me a lot. I feel that it was an important part of the process, I mean, to be able to mature as I have matured up to now and value my work and so many blessings.
AP: In the song “1942”, you sing that “money and power demonized me.” Do you feel that way sometimes?
Anuel AA: You hear that song and it’s like a confession, like when you have that moment of intimacy with your partner. The song is about a person who is mentally unwell, is drinking. It’s called “1942” like tequila (Don Julio brand), it’s as if I’m talking to her while we drink together and that’s why I say very common things and sometimes very strange, very crazy things. In real life, if I think about my whole life, about everything I’ve lived through, it has happened to me. That’s why it sounds so natural. And there is so much feeling, but at the same time there is also madness because the day I recorded it I was drinking. I said: “If I’m going to do a song that deals with 1942 Tequila, then I’m going to drink to feel the same vibe of the song.” (Laughs)
AP: I see you are wearing a Michael Jordan jersey and all the album art revolves around basketball. How did the idea for this concept come about?
Anuel AA: I started with the concept of basketball because before becoming a singer my first dream was to be a basketball player. I focused on Kobe and Jordan because they are one of the legends that have inspired me the most because they are legends who fell 10 times, but got up a million. My passion for basketball kind of mixed with my music career. I feel that this is the first step on a very long road to be a legend with a lot of work and discipline. I want others to be inspired by me as I was inspired by these legends.