José Reyes: The Hitman
At his peak on the baseball diamond, Jose Reyes made it seem easy. Stealing 78 bases in the 2007 season — no one has stolen more than 70 since. Getting 204 hits in a season as one of the best leadoff men in the biz. And just being one of the locker room’s most beloved teammate, cracking jokes and DJing
“Wherever I was, my teammates have given me the DJ duties,” Reyes, 34, says. “And I vary my mix even though I do put on my music. I walk around with a speaker up and down the locker room.”
Now, the former All-Star baseball player is bringing that same enthusiasm to Latin music. The Dominican-born Reyes isn’t new to the game (he has seven music videos under his belt and collaborations with Bad Bunny and Arcángel), but it seems as though he’s taking it more seriously in 2019. That becomes clear with today’s (February 22) release of his fiery trap banger, “Enemy.”
It’s about time to bring the hits off the field and onto the charts.
‘Vivimos Caro’ is a great club song. Is that the vibe you want for your new music?
Well, we have another project that is more dembow…a song with Lirico En La Casa. It’s different from ‘Vivimos Caro.’ ‘Vivimos Caro’ was more for the clubs and ‘Enemy’ is more about how people are living — such as having two-faced friends.
How long have you made music?
I carry it in my blood. Aside from baseball, I’ve always loved music. I used to freestyle as a kid in school in the Dominican Republic. My first music video I did in 2011 with Vakero, Callejero and Julio Voltio. And in 2012, we put out one with Arcángel. I have about seven videos.
Talk to us about the type of music being played in a professional baseball locker room.
I’ve been on four different teams. When I was in Toronto, every day was assigned a genre. For example, Monday it was pop, Tuesday was Latin, Wednesday was hip-hop, etc. And most teams do that now.
Who had the best walk up music?
Last year, the weirdest one was [Yoenis] Céspedes. His was the Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life.’ He spent a long time walking out to that. Personally, I always put a different walk up song for each at-bat.
Do you think dembow has the potential to go global especially now that El Alfa is taking it outside of DR?
I definitely think so. It’s a very danceable music. Who doesn’t like to move? It’s a very tropical rhythm and El Alfa is taking it to a new level on the international stage. I always say that they have to change the lyrics so people can understand what they’re saying.
El Alfa does it well, but there are a lot of Dominican dembow artists who are focused too much on Dominican slang. And sometimes outside of DR, people aren’t going to understand that slang. But the music is rising for sure.
What is it about trap that spoke to you?
Right now I’m making music about real things. It’s things that happen to me. I have a lot of young fans, so I like to talk about my life. I came out of the struggle, so I’ll talk about poverty and becoming successful despite my humble beginnings. In ‘Vivimos Caro’ we’re talking about elevating yourself but also about bragging about our spoils. And my fans liked it a lot.
You always had fun playing the game. Are you having the same fun making music?
It’s different sentiments. In baseball I have a lot of energy and I joke around with my teammates. In music, I’m more serious and I need to find out what my public wants to consume. It’s two different worlds.
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