A New York night with Jhayco on his TIMELEZZ World Tour

“This music is taking over the world.” – Jhayco

It was storming outside of New York City’s Terminal 5 when TIMELEZZ album loyalists began muscling into the concert venue. For 3,000 showgoers, it had been a long journey since the evening’s headliner first stepped from behind the scenes of the industry and into the limelight. When Jhayco premiered in 2018 beside Universal Music Latino as a solo artist with the EP Eyez On Me, he had already established himself as a producer and songwriter for several mainstays in reggaeton. 

At the time, the Río Piedras-born Puerto Rican singer-rapper, formerly known as Jhay Cortez, was celebrated for his credits under Ozuna, Natti Natasha, Tito “El Bambino,” and assisting the diamond-selling anthem, “I Like It,” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin. Latinx markets respected Jhayco’s contributions to other talents, but his voice provided the recognition he sought most. By the release of his 2019 debut album, Famouz, the opening hit, “No Me Conoce,” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, placed the frontman on a new tier with a slew of follow-up multi-platinum successes. Terminal 5’s DJs reminded Jhayco’s NYC ticket holders of this by dropping several of the artist’s breakthroughs in chronological order, preparing all for the TIMELEZZ World Tour.

“¿Dónde esta mi gente Latino?” the duo barked over their mics as one played the whine-up tune, “Easy.” Jhayco fans vibed as the pre-show pair mixed between reggae favorites and noteworthy tracks like the LAS QUE NO IBAN A SALIR duet, “CÓMO SE SIENTE (Remix).” As the crowd warmed up, one vinyl spinner got a little too happy and asked, “Where are my Boricuas at? No, the real ones. I mean the ones from the island.” And what was a space full of dancing patrons soon became three levels of side-eyes — from what was likely the largest mass of supporters in attendance: Nuyoricans. 

The songs continued, but the energy was inconsistent until Jhayco’s DJ, Hype Reaction, took the stage. In time, the audience began repeating, “Jhayco, Jhayco,” calling for the force who now has over 10 billion song streams to date. Responsive blue lights strobed into the crowd, and Jhayco screamed out, “¡Nueva York!” His prioritization of women listeners was immediate, as he sang, “El tiempo volando se va/ Hoy te tengo, pero quizá mañana te vas,” from the recent collab “Fiel” with Los Legendarios and Wisin. Six dancers donning red and black leotards, and patent leather thigh-high boots ran onstage — to fill the role of the woman Jhayco tries to woo — on the opening tour track. 

Soon, the Latin trap loop on “Kobe En LA” expressed Los Angeles’ love for the late legend and Jhayco’s island’s admiration for the MC. His 2021 platinum-selling sophomore effort, TIMELEZZ’s tracklist, came into play following. The popular bop, “Christian Dior,” and some of its music video’s motorcycle references gleamed on the jumbotron. Security began to direct women further away from the photo pit as the show’s excitement intensified, and the attendees who were previously drenched by the rain appeared to be in a much better place. 

In Spanish, Jhayco told the crowd, “Good evening. Thank you to everyone who is here with me … I appreciate those applauding.” He then began to sing his and Sech’s introduction to their duet “911- Remix.” Each time the vocalist extended his microphone above him, his enthusiasts sang with him word-for-word. Suddenly, the “La Curiosidad (Blue Grand Prix Remix)” rhythm thronged the extended features format reggaeton is famed for — with voiced support from Jay Wheeler, Myke Towers, Rauw Alejandro, DJ Nelson, Lunay, and Kendo Kaponi. Throughout the Caribbean, 7-minute tracks are embraced, but the love Jhayco’s audience displayed at Terminal 5 was partly due to the fact that his migrant family relocated to Brooklyn in his youth. 

Musical collaborations took up half of the TIMELEZZ World Tour’s set, and Jhayco’s popular bop “Ley Seca” with Anuel AA got the room in motion before an obligatory roll call. “Where are my people from Puerto Rico, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador,” he questioned. As his fans battled to make sure their land of origin screamed the loudest, the slapper “Los Bo” with Myke Towers rattled from speakers overhead. The song’s public housing visual and lyrical content affirmed that trap en español has a lot in common with the rap subgenre in English. Street culture and the grind are universal languages — it does not matter where rappers record from. 

Displaying duality, Jhayco shifted gears by singing what he described as his “favorite song,” acapella. The familiar tune invited Terminal 5’s mass to join in on “Dile” by Don Omar, vocalizing its renowned lyrics, “Otra, otra noche, otra.” This reggaeton classic played a hand in the success of Jhayco’s TIMELEZZ album, as the ascending star offered his take on Omar’s smash with “Dile (Homenaje).” The evening’s supporting women danced in homage and made sure to do the reimagined rendition justice. 

An image of a car flashed on the stage screen as the cue for Bayamón’s trap artist Mora’s collab “512” with Jhayco to shake the room. The illustration paid tribute to their mechanic-based music video, but the audiovisual themes of the concert did not stop there. The beat from Jhayco’s baseball music video beside Anuel AA and Myke Towers, “Súbelo,” took his devotee’s enthusiasm to the point of some people getting in trouble with security for hanging too far off of the second floor’s banister. And like his latest music video release, “Sensual Bebé,” the sound of his new track maintained a party feel. 

Even so, all of the commotions did not come to pass without the acknowledgment that more English-speaking producers are beginning to invest in Spanish-language radio markets — as el movimiento’s numeric success is on the heels of the rap genre. Bad Bunny, namely, has been identified as Spotify’s most-streamed artist globally for the second year in a row. Further, Bad Bunny also became the all-time most-streamed artist globally on its platform in a single day with this month’s album release, Un Verano Sin Ti, on which Jhayco is featured.

 Embracing growing camaraderie, the EDM hitmaker Skrillex was recently added to the production of TIMELEZZ, for the cross-genre track, “En Mi Cuarto.” The audiovisual featured Jhayco’s real-life girlfriend and viral sensation, Mia Khalifa, surprising his supporters. Each LP element fused cultural factors to his world tour, with the artist frequently speaking to reggeaton’s global appeal. “This music is taking over the world,” he affirmed. Jhayco, bilingual himself, aids by communicating how all walks of life enjoy el movimiento. The artist is evolving into one of its heavy hitters.

Aiming to finish strong, Jhayco closed his New York tour stop with the 2 songs that changed everything and propelled him toward superstardom. Since their release, the smashes “No Me Conoce” and “DÁKITI,” have been inescapable across reggaeton platforms. Both songs’ music videos accumulated well over a billion views on YouTube and their performances made for the crowning moment of his TIMELEZZ night. Removing his white sunglasses to view his frenzied showgoers, Jhayco beamed in Spanish: “New York, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

 

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