After releasing two albums back to back in August, Ozuna breaks rank with Nibiru, an ambitious set and the first under his new deal with Sony and the Orchard. Though ostensibly a set of mostly dance tracks, Nibiru is many things.
First, it's an album that seeks to finally establish that its star — who for the past three years has been the top-selling Latin artist in the market, according to Nielsen Music — is more than a reggaeton act. Nibiru includes reggae, trap, bits of pop, hip-hop and an increased dosage of acoustic instrumentation.
And Nibiru is also a triumph over adversity, an 18-track set whose joyfulness is book-ended with introspection in opening and ending tracks that address Ozuna’s state of mind following the scandals that hounded him in the past year, including extortion from a sex tape that was ultimately leaked.
Above everything, though, Nibiru is on track to continue a winning streak. Odisea was the top-selling Latin album of 2017, Aura the top-selling of 2018 and now Nibiru is looking to follow the footsteps. Released late in the year as opposed to August, when Odisea and Aura were launched, it has enough hits to quickly propel sales. Here are our choice tracks.
"Nibiru": Vacillating between bravado and vulnerability, the opening title track, and newest single, is Ozuna’s current day manifesto. The irresistibly catchy song sets Ozuna up as a major player in a disco, a guy whose “enemies can’t do anything with me; they want to take me down but I’m still a star.” With a hybrid reggaeton beat and a chorus of “hey, heys” that spur Ozuna on, it’s a decidedly hit single, and the perfect set-up for a hit album full of twists.
"Temporal" feat. Willy: Ozuna tapped Willy, singer for Puerto Rican band Cultura Profética, for this slow, sweet reggae track. Highly arranged and produced, with live drums and percussion and Willy’s smooth, romantic vocals, it’s a departure from Ozuna’s edgier, clubby fare.
"Difícil Olvidar": A beautiful love song set to a gentle reggaeton beat, “Difícil Olvidar” (Hard to Forget) is quintessential Ozuna in its catchy, instantly memorably melodies. But it pushes forward in the way it marries lyrics to beat, with the end of each phrase falling on the downbeat of the new measure. It’s a new approach for Ozuna, one that showcases evolution while keeping a firm grasp on hit-making.
"Sin Pensar" feat. Swae Lee: There are several bilingual collabs on Nibiru, but a favorite is “Sin Pensar,” where Swae Lee (of Rae Sremmurd) sings in English but also dips his toe into Spanish. This minimalistic-set ballad brings together two like-minded balladeers from very different universes.
"Reggaetón en Paris" feat. Nicky Jam & Dalex: It is so hard to pick favorites on this album, but the immediately catchy “Reggaetón en Paris,” a celebration of reggaeton’s current universal acceptance, is a major contender. From the sultry intro to the irresistible chorus that breaks early on, this is a definite club banger.
"Qué Pena" (Bonus Pick): Ozuna couldn’t sign off Nibiru without speaking his mind. And he does so here in this piano driven coda where he calls out all his detractors while zoning on his work ethic and belief in God. “What a shame, the ones who least know me are the ones who seek me and condemn me; I’m there, keeping it together even when the tide rises; the bad ones want to tire, but God protects me with his mantel; I always face my problems, and no matter how dark the road, God always lights it.” Definitely not your normal 27-year-old.