By Nancy Sanchez-Diaz
In J Balvin’s newest album, we meet J Balvin the father, J Balvin the rapper, J Balvin the reggaeton-ero. Most notably, we meet Jose, the man behind the artist — The ‘J’ in J Balvin.
“Jose,” released on Friday, Sept. 9, is a mix of pop-reggaeton beats, hip hop, trap, and EDM sounds, providing an evocative catalog of the sounds that have already established Balvin as one of the world’s most-streamed pop stars. It follows “Colores,” making it his sixth studio album.
While 2020’s “Colores” focused on different colors, each track symbolizing a mood ring and a certain set of visual terms, J Balvin gets more raw and personal in “Jose.”
In “Jose,” J Balvin is remarkably safe with where he is at in the music world, using this star status to reminisce on his humble beginnings as he gets ready to move on to the next chapter of his life: fatherhood.
A soft guitar ballad meant to welcome his then-unborn son, the beat to ‘Querido Río’ is none other than the heartbeat of Balvin’s son, which was recorded during an ultrasound.
The song begins with Balvin saying hello to his son, crooning in Spanish, “Querido, Río, llegaste en el momento debido/Aún no estás en mis brazos, pero ya te siento mío,” which translates to, “Dear Rio, you came at the right time.
You’re not in my arms yet, but I can already feel you.”
Songs like ‘Bebé Que Bien Te Ves’ and ‘Fantasia’ hinge on Balvin’s comfort for the typical pop-reggaeton rhythm, whereas songs like ‘Lo Que Dios Quiera’ and ‘Querido Rio’ speak more to Balvin’s personal experiences. His faith and his devotion to his son are two topics covered with grace, love and humility.
‘La Familia’ is another personal song, emphasizing humility and looking after your own people in a rap-style fashion. Similarly, ‘Billetes de 100’ over-indulges on his own financial success.
Other topics grazed through in his album are love, sex, and romance. “Ganas De Verte” bears a soft, majestic-y beat, whereas “Perra” celebrates the dembow beat with a canine love story of sorts.
While the album gives us more of what we’ve come to expect from the pop reggaeton star, “Jose” still managed to capture Balvin’s fourth No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.
It also crosses over to the stateside with “In Da Getto” featuring Skrillex peaking at No. 90 on the Hot 100 chart, and the full album seizing No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart, proving there might just be a little something for everyone.
Cover art for “Jose.”