Yng Lvcas knew he wanted to become an artist the very first time he performed at a musical in school. In fact, his creative tick took him from acting to dancing, DJ’ing, vlogging and ultimately songwriting and singing.
He started exploring the music industry, especially the reggaetón and Latin trap realms, in 2015. He was inspired by acts such as Arcángel, Bad Bunny, Anuel AA and Snoop Dogg, and from the ages of 14 to 21, he “took advantage to polish his sound, see what style [he] liked or didn’t, prepared songs, saved money and invested in equipment,” he tells Billboard.
“This was my plan: release music, get known, and once I had a following, release a hit,” he says. But fate had other plans.
In 2021, the Guanatos-born artist unleashed the eight-track EP Wup? Mixtape1 that was all corridos, and included a preview of a reggaetón track called “La Bebe.” He quickly realized that fans were intrigued by the catchy beat and saucy hooks of that song, and decided to drop the all-reggaetón set LPM that same year.
“I love corridos,” he explains. “But doing corridos in Mexico is like putting the best taco spot when there are 20,000 taco spots. So, what was key? Everyone is doing corridos [in Mexico], let me try doing reggaetón in Mexico. What my heart says and wants at that moment, I’ll do. My heart said: ‘Guey, people are liking ‘La Bebe,’ you know you have good reggaetón, so drop it.’”
“La Bebe,” a track about a pretty girl who likes to dance reggaetón, quickly gained virality across TikTok and social media in 2021-2022. A remix, accompanied by another then-newcomer from Mexico named Peso Pluma, officially dropped in March 2023.
On the Billboard charts, the remix has already peaked at No. 2 on Hot Latin Songs (dated April 15, 2023) and No. 12 on the Hot 100 (dated April 29, 2023), in addition to making the top 10 of both the Global 200 and the Global Excl. U.S. charts.
But despite his rapid success, the 23-year-old chart-breaker admits that in the beginning, very few people believed in him. “Today I have a team but I’m not going to lie. I started alone. Nobody believed in me, nobody supported me,” he recalls. “I was looking to make good videos and I had no budget, I only had like 12,000 pesos to invest in videos and no one gave me a hand. Since no one wanted to join my project, I went to YouTube to investigate how to edit. That’s why I don’t appear in any of my early videos — because I was behind the camera. I had one friend who taught me how to use the programs and my mom bought me equipment.”
But thanks to “La Bebe,” he can now put the new wave of Mexican reggaetón in the spotlight. “The song is giving me success and all, but the best thing is that people are liking the project and the music,” he says. “People actually thought I was Ecuadorean, Chilean or Colombian. Why didn’t they think I was Mexican? I’ve very patriotic, and it makes me feel that in Mexico, there’s still a lot to be done to be heard. I am excited, because there is a lot of talent behind me and much higher than me too — and we hope that little by little, people will turn to see reggaetón music in Mexico.”
Below, learn more about this month’s Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise:
Name: Daniel Oswaldo Donlucas Martinez
Recommended Song: “La Bebe (Remix)”
Major Accomplishment: “What I’ve achieved in such little time is positioning myself. Thanks to the song [‘La Bebe’], I’m meeting people who I admire and respect, and at some point, in my life, I thought meeting them was far-fetched. I’m telling you, my plan was designed to make trap music for two years, and do corridos for another year or so, but imagine, everything happened as a boom. So, I feel thankful to my family who has supported me, and those who surround me, and who add to my life.”
What’s Next: “Reggaetón and full collabs. Right now I’m working on corridos, trap, and drill music but I want to focus on making more reggaetón and collaborations. I don’t want to say with whom yet, because then the plans can be ruined — but I can assure you that they are collabs with strong artists I listen to.”