The summer isn’t technically over, but I think we all know the only possible choice for the song of summer is Despacito, by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. Despite all my attempts to resist this infectious jam, it shimmied its way into my heart and the top of the charts, its corresponding music video reaching 1 billion views faster than any other YouTube video ever.
This means that the United States has a Spanish language song at the top of of the charts for the first time since 1996, and more importantly, it means Daddy Yankee is relevant again.
As a young person in New Mexico, Daddy Yankee’s 2003 reggaeton hit “Gasolina” was absolutely inescapable. You couldn’t get through a school dance, child’s birthday party, or outdoor event without everyone breaking out into that catchy chorus. Even for the kids who didn’t speak Spanish, it was a pretty easy chorus to sing: All you had to do is belt out “Dame mas gasolina” at appropriate intervals, and you could fit in!
And what is this “gasolina” that you want more of? Surely the gas you use to fill up your sweet car, I thought, so you can drive as fast as Daddy Yankee spits his rhymes. It’s a staple of children’s birthday parties. There’s no way “gasolina” has a nefarious meaning, or signifies anything inappropriate. RIGHT?!?
Wrong. What Daddy Yankee refers to as “gasolina” is what a doctor would refer to as semen, what a hip hop artist would refer to as skeet, and what yours truly would refer to as jizz. When you sing the chorus to “gasolina,” you’re really asking for someone to…well you get the point.
When my innocent childhood memories of frolicking to Daddy Yankee were marred by this more nefarious double entendre, I was shocked.
But not as shocked as I was when I learned that Daddy Yankee is apparently a huge fan of John McCain.
That’s right. In a 2008 appearance during Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, Daddy Yankee went on record calling McCain “a fighter for the Hispanic community” and “a fighter for the immigration issue.’’
In fairness to Daddy Yankee, this was before McCain supported the draconian Arizona law, S.B. 1070, which allowed police to arrest anyone (read: any non-white person) who wasn’t carrying identification or immigration papers. But it was after McCain chose Palin as his running mate, so really, what were you thinking, Daddy Yankee?
When asked in 2008 what “Gasolina” was about, Daddy Yankee insisted the song was about energy independence. I don’t know if I’m more disillusioned to learn that a favorite song of my childhood is about sex, or if Daddy Yankee is a Republican.
Of course, none of that is going to stop me from listening to Gasolina. Even at a children’s birthday party.
sorry, not that way, John.
Bella Pori is a state government employee and co-founder of Call Them In, an email reminder service that makes it easy to call your Senators and support progressive legislation. She loves to talk about Bruce Springsteen, so talk to her on Twitter @BellaPori.