Real (Ivy Queen album)

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Real
A woman looking to the ground in a cleavage showing outfit in front of a purple background.
Studio album by Ivy Queen
Released November 16, 2004 (2004-11-16)
Recorded March–September 2004
Genre Reggaetón, Hip Hop
Length 58:03
Label Universal Music Latino, Perfect Image
Producer Goguito "Willy" Guadalupe (exec.), Gran Omar (exec.), Ivy Queen (co-exec.), Swizz Beatz, DJ Blass, Ecko, Hyde, Rafi Mercenario, Monserrate, DJ David Montañez, DJ Nelson, Dennis Nieves, Noriega
Ivy Queen chronology
Diva
(2003)
Real
(2004)
Flashback
(2005)
Singles from Real
  1. "Chika Ideal"
    Released: May 2004 (2004-05)
  2. "Rociarlos"
    Released: September 2004 (2004-09)
  3. "Dile"
    Released: November 2004 (2004-11)

Real is the fourth studio album by Puerto Rican reggaetón recording artist Ivy Queen, released on November 16, 2004, by Universal Music Latino. Initially to be Queen's debut full-length English-language studio album, it featured collaborations with hip hop and fellow reggaetón artists Hector El Father, Fat Joe, Getto & Gastam, La India, Gran Omar and Mickey Perfecto. The album was primarily produced by Rafi Mercenario, and included guest production by American producer Swizz Beatz, Puerto Rican producers Ecko, Noriega, Monserrate and DJ Nelson. The executive producers were Goguito "Willy" Guadalupe, Gran Omar and Queen.

Real is Queen's only record with a Parental Advisory label. The album departs from the lyrical content characterizing Queen's musical style, detailing hood life in Puerto Rico and love. It alternates musically between reggaetón and hip hop, experimenting with electronica, funk, dancehall, pop, R&B, and acoustic ballads. The wide range of styles and musical exploration earned Real mainly-positive reviews from critics. Many praised Queen's raspy vocals and production quality, whilst others criticized the lack of instrumentation.

Spawning three singles ("Chika Ideal", "Rociarlos" and "Dile"), Real peaked at number twenty-five on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, number four on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart and number six on the Billboard Tropical Albums chart. "Chika Ideal" and "Rociarlos" failed to attain chart success, although the former reached the top ten of Terra Networks' music-video countdown. "Dile" peaked at number eight on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart, earning Queen three Billboard Latin Music Award nominations (including one for Tropical Airplay Track of the Year, Female). Several other tracks, including "Tócame" and "Baila Así", received airplay on Anglophone and Hispanophone radio stations in the United States.

Real is regarded as a factor in 2004's reggaetón exposure to mainstream English-speaking markets, along with Queen's previous album (her 2003 studio recording, Diva) and albums by Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón. It became one of the best-selling albums of 2005 (along with her fifth studio album, Flashback), with sales of both going "through the roof".[1] Queen then embarked on concert tours of Latin America and the United States; she also promoted the album with a network television-news segment detailing her career and struggle for respect in reggaetón, performing "Chika Ideal" on Don Francisco Presenta. The album was re-released on September 25, 2007 by Machete Music, but failed to impact the charts.

Background[edit]

After the failure of Ivy Queen's first two studio albums, En Mi Imperio (1997) and The Original Rude Girl (1998), Sony Music Latin released Queen from her musical contract and she took a hiatus from her musical career in 1999.[2] The 1999 hip-hop single "In The Zone", a duet with Haitian singer Wyclef Jean,[3] was moderately successful in the United States. However, the album "fizzled".[2] Over the next few years, Queen appeared on reggaetón compilation albums, spawning hits (including "Quiero Bailar")[4] and collaborations with artists on Tommy Boy and Columbia Records.[5] In 2003, Queen released her third studio recording, Diva, which was highly anticipated and acclaimed.[6] It was a factor in reggaetón's mainstream exposure in 2004 (with Daddy Yankee's Barrio Fino and Tego Calderon's El Enemy de los Guasíbiri), and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[7][8] In early 2004, after a string of compilation appearances, Queen appeared on the compilation album 12 Discípulos by Eddie Dee on the number-one singles "Los 12 Discípulos", "Quítate Tu Pa' Ponerme" and "Que Es La Que Hay".[9][10]

That year, Queen released a platinum edition of the album which included new songs, such as "Papi Te Quiero" and "Tu No Puedes",[11] and began recording her next album. Queen's fourth studio album was planned to be her debut full-length English-language album after she received record-contract offers from a number of labels, including Sony.[12] She said it was a good opportunity to reach the competitive Anglo hip hop music market after her success in Latin American countries.[12] Queen received an offer to record an English-language album after Sony notified her that her Sony albums from six years earlier were being played in cities such as London because of Diva's success. Despite her concerns about her English pronunciation, she continued with the project.[12] Queen recorded songs with some of hip hop's most popular MCs, including American rapper Fat Joe (who appeared on her debut English album).[12][13][14] His song later became "Quítate Two", and was included on Real; American hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz produced "Soldados", showcasing her crossover appeal.[15]

Recording and production[edit]

A large man on stage with a microphone in his right hand and blue lights behind him.
Fat Joe is featured on "Quítate Two" which he co-wrote.[16]
A man pointing to the right on stage.
Swizz Beatz handled production and received co-writing credits for "Soldados".[17]

After the success of Diva: Platinum Edition, Ivy Queen began recording her fourth studio album in March 2004; it wrapped up in September at Marroneo Studios in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. The album was mastered and arranged by Esteban Piñero; Dennis Nieves did the mixing and served as engineer.

Production was divided among several hip-hop and reggaetón producers.[18] Swizz Beatz produced "Soldados"; longtime collaborator DJ Nelson reappeared with "Dile" (the lead single) and "Acércate".[18] Grammy-Award winning Latin music producers Echo and Diesel,[19][20] Hyde,[21] Gran Omar, Noriega, Monserrate, Dennis Nieves, DJ Blass and DJ David Montañez also aided in production and Rafi Mercenario produced seven of the album's nineteen tracks.[18] Queen and Omar were executive producers.

Collaborations include "Matando", "Rociarlos" (also featuring Hector El Father) and "Baila Así" with Queen's then-husband, Gran Omar; a hip-hop track, "Quítate Two", with Fat Joe; "Acércate" with Mikey Perfecto, "Tócame" with salsa singer La India and "Vas A Morir" with Puerto Rican duo Getto & Gastam.[18] "Soldados" and "Dee Jay" were co-written with Kasseem Dean and Omar Navarro, respectively. "People thought we were going to make a salsa track", Queen said about the collaboration with La India,[18] noting that the song was a dancehall track (not salsa or reggaetón).[18] She added that India was "original" and she worked well with people who are genuine, explaining the other collaborations.[18] According to Navarro and Queen in an 2004 interview on mun2 The Roof, the album was expected to feature a duet with Puerto Rican singer Don Omar.[22] Spin saw Queen's collaboration with Fat Joe as a trend in reggaetón to have American rappers "team up with its stars".[23]

Music and lyrics[edit]

A 20–second sample of the electronically-infused "Soldados", produced by Swizz Beatz.

An 18–second sample of "Rebulera", featuring a repetitive chorus with the line "Vamo a toa" by an uncredited female voice.

A 12–second sample of the additional version of "Ángel Caído", an acoustic-guitar ballad

Problems playing these files? See media help.

According to Rolling Stone, the album contains "raspy braggadocio and sexy rhymes" which complement Queen's raspy vocals.[24] It alternates between reggaetón and hip hop as Queen experiments with Caribbean music,[25] R&B, pop, electronica, funk, dancehall and acoustic ballads: "I really think this album is for people to really just sit down and listen to it". She explained that "there are times that the songs will make you want to dance", but their lyrics are more meaningful. Although Queen said the album has its share of "battles against men", she wants it to demonstrate that she is a well–rounded artist.[18] Describing the songs, she said "[they] are always going to be real because they are feelings that people have...The hits that I have now, the girls love them because they are real. If I am feeling hurt and need to curse to express that, then I will. I am going to be real all the way because that's what made Ivy Queen".[4]

The introduction to the album features Queen lyrically blessing and thanking her audience for the support.[25] "Chika Ideal" ("Ideal Girl") assures the protagonist's lover that she wants to be with him and fulfill his dreams.[26] "Soldados" ("Soldiers"), a hip-hop track influenced by electronic music, was produced by Swizz Beatz.[26] "Matando" ("Killing"), a duet with Gran Omar, explores dancing in a club.[26] The song, in a minor key, features the synthetic instrumentation of techno music.[27] "Dale Volumen" ("Add Volume"), in a minor key, is characterized by simple harmonic progressions, synthesizers and stick-drum percussion and influenced by reggae and Afro-Latin music.[28] "Dile" ("Tell Her") features lilting rhythms from Colombia (including cumbia),[29] combining Latin vallenato with reggaetón.[30] Queen noted that she sang the song without rapping to prove she is a complete musician and not just a rapper.[30] "Mi Barrio" ("My Hood") criticizes "the problems present in Añasco, Puerto Rico".[30] Queen compared the song to "Corazones" by Daddy Yankee from his album, Barrio Fino.[30] "Dee Jay" is a reggaetón number which "recognizes the DJs" of reggaetón. In it, Queen mentions DJ Nelson, Noriega, DJ Adam, DJ Negro, DJ Baby, Rafi Mercenario, Luny Tunes, Monserrate & DJ Urba and others.[26] "Quítate Two" ("Remove Yourself"), with Fat Joe, combines hip-hop and funk music. The acoustic guitar ballad "Ángel Caído" ("Fallen Angel") and its acoustic version are the fourteenth and nineteenth tracks on the album, respectively. "Tócame" "("Touch Me"), a dancehall track, features La India.[18] In a minor key, "Rebulera", another minor-key song, has Queen asserting that she is "queen" in the genre of reggaetón. The track features synthesizers and strings, and is influenced by reggae and Afro-Latin music.[31] "Baila Así" ("Dance Like That"), produced by Gran Omar, has a Punjabi–influenced hip-hop beat.[29]

Release and promotion[edit]

An 18-second sample of the lead single from Real, "Chika Ideal", which Ivy Queen performed on Don Francisco Presenta to promote the album

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Real was released on November 16, 2004,[32] after originally being scheduled for release in September and on November 26.[18] The album was also released in a censored version.[33] It was later re-issued on September 25, 2007 by Machete Music,[34] after having been announced in July 2007 as a fourth-quarter release.[35] This was a result of Ivy Queen's success with her seventh studio album, Sentimiento, which sold 9,000 copies in its first week and was certified platinum within two months of release.[36][37] Ivy Queen appeared on Don Francisco Presenta, where she performed "Chika Ideal" (the first single from Real) to promote the album.[38] "Rociarlos" was released as the second single,[39][40] and "Dile" was released as the third (and final) single later in 2004 after the album's release. Music videos for both singles were also released, along with music videos for "Dale Volumen" and "Matando". Queen performed on the Reggaeton Tour 2004, also featuring Aldo Ranks and La Factoria, in a number of South American countries (including Ecuador); she sang "Papi Te Quiero" and "Tu No Puedes", promoting Diva and Real.[41]

Album cover, featuring dark-skinned woman with light hair
The inside front cover of the album included graffiti, earning "street cred" in the U.S.-centered hip-hop world.

This was her first tour in South America,[41] following shows in Atlanta and New York City (where she was "designated as the Puerto Rico Youth God Mother of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade" in June 2004).[42] At the end of June 2004 Queen appeared on a network-television-news segment, detailing her career and struggle for respect in reggaetón,[43] during recording sessions for the album.[43] In February 2005 Queen appeared at the Festival of Puerto Rican Stars—an historic achievement for reggaetón, since no other performer from the genre was invited.[44] In June 2005 Queen appeared on the Invasion Del Reggaetón Tour with Daddy Yankee, which grossed $817,220 for the week of June 18.[45] She also attended (and performed at) the Billboard Bash the night before the 2005 Billboard Latin Music Awards.[46]

Unlike Queen's previous albums, the artwork for Real features provocative photography; her middle and thighs are emphasized to create a sexy image.[18][47] Queen said her breasts were enlarged from a B to a C cup, adding that the packaging described the style of music on the album.[18] The album cover also features Queen's signature long nails, which she sports in a variety of colors.[48] Incorporating graffiti, the album has "street cred" in the U.S.-centered hip-hop world. The change in image for Queen is attributed to Universal Latino's feeling that Real had crossover potential for U.S. mainstream audiences. The album's title suggests this; it means "real" in English and Spanish and "royal" in Spanish, hinting at Queen's status as the Queen of Reggaetón.[47] It is also Queen's response to Puerto Rican criticism for looking like a tomboy, wearing baggy pants and large shirts[47] (which she addresses in her autobiography, Detrás Del Glamour [Behind the Glamour]).[49][50] She accepted responsibility for her change in image, attributing it to a "new growth in person"[47] and admitting that the makeover stemmed from a "crisis" and "female vanity".[51] To change her figure, Queen used a Colombian plastic surgeon.[51][52]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Los Angeles Times[53] (negative)
Miami New Times[29] (positive)
Rolling Stone[54] 3/5 stars
Reggaetonline[55] 4/5 stars

The album was moderately commercially successful. On the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, Real debuted at number twenty-nine[56] and peaked at number twenty-five, one position higher than Diva's peak at twenty-four.[57] It ended its chart run at number sixty-nine on February 26, 2005.[58] On the Reggae Albums chart the album debuted at number four,[59] sharing its peak with Diva and spending seventeen consecutive weeks on the chart.[60] On the Billboard Tropical Albums chart, the album debuted (and peaked) at number six, not matching Diva's peak position at the top.[61][62] It fell off the chart after being number eighteen for the week of April 9, 2005.[63] At the time Diva was still on the countdown at number twenty,[63] to be displaced two weeks later by Marc Anthony's 2004 Valio La Pena.[64] Sales were boosted by "distribution by Universal Music & Video Distribution, coupled with strong airplay at English- and Spanish-language stations".[65] Queen did not enter the Billboard 200 until 2007, when her sixth studio album (Sentimiento) reached number 105 on the chart.[66] "Dile" was the only commercially successful of the three singles, reaching number eight on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart.[67][68] After the reggaetón "explosion" on the west coast of the United States, Real helped Ivy Queen enter "Bay Area mainstream hip hop dials" with "Dile", "Tócame" and "Baila Así" "staples" on Hispanic radio stations.[69] "Dile" received a Billboard Latin Music Award nomination for Tropical Airplay Track of the Year, Female at the 2005 Billboard Latin Music Awards, where Queen was also nominated for Reggaeton Album of the Year and Tropical Airplay Track of the Year, New Artist.[70] Echo and Diesel received a Latin Grammy Award for their production work on Real.[71][72]

Rolling Stone gave Real three out of five stars, complimenting the "combo of raspy braggadocio and sexy rhymes" and noting the "pop-savvy" nature of the LP.[73] According to Patricia Meschino of Miami New Times, the album features a "wide range of styles, including the lilting Colombian compas rhythms of 'Dile' ('Tell Her'), the bhangra–flavored 'Baila Asi' ('Dance Like This'), the acoustic guitar ballad 'Ángel Caído' ('Fallen Angel') and 'Tocame' ('Caress Me'), all of which are adapted to Ivy Queen's 'confident, raspy vocals'". The latter track was labeled "spicy". Meschino also noted the exploration of hip-hop and dancehall rhythms set to "rough and rugged fast-paced raps". She ended her review by saying that it was "the audacious musical explorations that make Real a surprisingly nuanced and ultimately satisfying release".[29] Music journalist Rafer Guzman of Newsday complimented the "electro-crunch of 'Soldados'" and "snaky funk of 'Quítate Tu'".[26] Leila Cobo of Billboard said the album was "highly anticipated" after the release of Diva: Platinum Edition several months earlier, with over 100,000 copies sold.[74] The album was considered a factor in reggaetón's mainstream exposure to American and global audiences.[7] Agustin Gurza of the Los Angeles Times criticized the album, saying "[it] lacks real instruments"[53] and was bawdy and indecent.[53] An editor for Bulb Magazine selected the album as one of reggaetón's most classic albums in 2007.[75] While reviewing the reggaetón compilation album Jamz TV Hits, Vol. 3, an editor for Allmusic listed "Chika Ideal" as an "Allmusic Pick".[76] The song was selected as a hit from "The Golden Era of Reggaetón" (2003–2007) by Jesus Trivino of Latina magazine.[77] Terra Networks called the music video for "Chika Ideal" one of the hottest of the summer, saying the song showed "why she is the queen of reggaetón".[78] The video reached the Top 10 for four consecutive weeks on Terra Networks' Top Music Video countdown.[79]

Track listing[edit]

Standard edition[80]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   Martha Ivelisse Pesante, Armando Rosario, Paul Irizarry Diesel 1:42
2. "Chika Ideal"   Pesante Rafi Mercenario 3:01
3. "Soldados"   Pesante, Kasseem Dean Swizz Beatz 3:13
4. "Matando" (featuring Gran Omar) Pesante, Omar Navarro Rafi Mercenario, Monserrate & DJ Urba 2:41
5. "Dale Volumen"   Pesante, Rosario, Irizarry Ecko 2:25
6. "Rociarlos" (featuring Héctor "El Father" and Gran Omar) Pesante, Navarro, Héctor Delgado Rafi Mercenario 3:31
7. "Dile"   Pesante DJ Nelson, Noriega 3:46
8. "Mi Barrio"   Pesante Ecko 3:08
9. "Entiende"   Pesante DJ Blass 3:13
10. "Dee Jay"   Pesante, Navarro Rafi Mercenario 3:30
11. "Quítate Two" (featuring Fat Joe) Pesante, Rosario, Irizarry, Joseph Cartagena Ecko 2:52
12. "Mi Situación"   Pesante Rafi Mercenario 3:14
13. "Acércate" (featuring Mikey Perfecto) Pesante, Mikey Perfecto DJ Nelson 3:01
14. "Ángel Caído"   Pesante Swizz Beatz 2:21
15. "Tócame" (featuring La India) Pesante, Linda Caballero Diesel 3:38
16. "Baila Así" (featuring Gran Omar) Pesante, Navarro, Rosario, Irizarry Gran Omar 2:48
17. "Vas A Morir" (featuring Getto & Gastam) Pesante, Rosario, Irizarry, Vicente Gaztambide, Raul Lozada Ecko, Diesel 4:13
18. "Rebulera"   Pesante Rafi Mercenario, Noriega 3:00
19. "Ángel Caído" (Acoustic Version) Pesante Swizz Beatz 2:26
Total length:
57:43

Notes[edit]

  • "Acércate" is twenty-five seconds longer on the 2007 reissue of the album.[81]
  • "Quítate Two" samples "In Da Club" by 50 Cent.[82]

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from liner notes:[82]

Track credits[edit]

Guest credits[edit]

  • Gran Omar is featured courtesy of Perfect Image Records.
  • Swizz Beatz is courtesy of Atlantic Records.
  • Hector "El Bambino" is featured courtesy of Gold Star Music.
  • Fat Joe is featured courtesy of Atlantic Records.
  • Mickey Perfecto is featured courtesy of Sony BMG.
  • La India is featured courtesy of Univision Records.
  • Getto & Gastam are featured courtesy of Sony BMG.

Technical credits[edit]

  • Executive Production – Goguito "Willy" Guadalupe, Omar Navarro
  • Co-Executive Production – "La Diva" Ivy Queen
  • Audio Production – Rafi Mercenario, Swizz Beatz, Noriega, DJ Nelson
  • Musical Production – Rafi Mercenario, Ecko, DJ Nelson, Noriega, Swizz Beatz, Santana, Dennis Nieves, Diesel, DJ Blass, DJ David Montañez, Gran Omar
  • Mastering – Esteban Piñero
  • Mixing – Dennis Nieves
  • Engineer – Dennis Nieves
  • Arranging – Dennis Nieves
  • Scratching – DJ David Montañez
  • Guest Artist – Hector "El Father", Gran Omar, Fat Joe, Mikey Perfecto, La India, Getto & Gastam
  • Vocals – Ivy Queen (all tracks), Noriega (tracks 7, 18)
  • Recording – Marroneo Studios in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
  • Record Label – Universal Music Latino
  • Representation – Goguito "Willy" Guadalupe
  • Publishing – Perfect Image Music Publishing/EMI 2004
  • Photography – Dr. Mannix Guillaera
  • Footwear – Steve Madden, Ltd. from Plaza Las Américas in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Graphic Art – MusicDesign

Charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
Position
US Top Latin Albums (Billboard)[83] 25
US Tropical Albums (Billboard)[84] 6
US Reggae Albums (Billboard)[85] 4

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Canada[86] November 16, 2004 Import Universal Latino, Perfect Image Records
Mexico[87] CD, Digital download
United States[88]
Spain[89]
Argentina[90]
Chile[91]
United Kingdom[92]
Brazil[93]
Israel[94]
Ireland[95]

References[edit]

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