Don Omar's "Back to Reggaeton" US Tour Shows How Far the Genre Has Come

Jonathan Melendez
Jonathan Melendez

As reggaetón continues to dominate the music charts, the genre's legends, including Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderón, Ivy Queen, and Don Omar remain more relevant than ever for their roles in shaping a movement that originated in Puerto Rico and eventually went global. But Don Omar's comeback has been a long-awaited one. The leyenda known for his early 2000s hits like "Dale Don," "Sácala," and "Salió el Sol," has officially returned to the scene with his "Back to Reggateon" US Tour, produced by CMN. The tour not only marks his highly anticipated return to the stage but also beautifully celebrates his two-decade-long career and its impactful contributions to the genre.

On Saturday, March 9, Don Omar took to the Barclays Center stage to perform a sold-out show that left the audience filled with joy and nostalgia. Most importantly, it proved that 20 years later, his music still hits. The Puerto Rican reggaetónero has been slowly making his way back in the game since 2021, dropping singles that led to his 2023 LP "Forever King." His new music has been an impressive blend of his signature early 2000s reggaetón with the modern sounds that have been taking over the genre. But his current tour, which kicked off in Reading, PA, on March 7, speaks to the way the community has continued to honor and celebrate the OGs who pioneered the movement.

It's so easy to forget the originators behind a trend or a movement and focus on the big stars of today, like Bad Bunny, Karol G, Young Miko, or J Balvin. But today's reggaetón and Latin trap fans know to pay their respects — that much was clear at Barclays, which was filled with fans who uttered all the lyrics to the majority of Don Omar's two-hour set list (especially when he rapped his greatest hits, like "Pobre Diabla" and "Mayor Que Yo 3").

The show also made it clear that both reggaetón's OGs and its current stars are crediting others and their contributions to the genre's popularity. Don Omar did a few tributes throughout the night, including performing "Gata Gangster" and "Desafío," during which he shouted-out Daddy Yankee as a legend.

"[Daddy Yankee] dedicated 35 years of his life to reggaetón. I don't have anyone to argue with anymore," he said jokingly, alluding to their previous feud.

During his performance of "Entre Tú y Yo," Don Omar shouted-out Luny Tunes and other Dominicans' contributions to reggaetón, which often get overlooked.

While the show and the tour celebrate Don Omar's two-decade-long career, in many ways it also pays homage to the genre, its beginnings, and the evolution of what it's become today. Seeing Don Omar's rise — an Afro-Boricua artist from Puerto Rico who kicked off his career when reggaetón was banned by the Puerto Rican government — also speaks to how far the genre has come.

"Thank you for making my dream come true. I was a high school dropout, a church pastor, and in the best moment of my life, you allowed me to be Don Omar," he said while closing the show. "I have made so many mistakes in my life, and at my age, it is clear to me that having made mistakes is what has me where I am today because, from each one of them, I learned. I learned that on this planet, no one has the key to heaven. The only key to heaven is your direct relationship with what is in heaven."

Johanna Ferreira is the content director for POPSUGAR Juntos. With more than 10 years of experience, Johanna focuses on how intersectional identities are a central part of Latine culture. Previously, she spent close to three years as the deputy editor at HipLatina, and she has freelanced for numerous outlets including Refinery29, Oprah magazine, Allure, InStyle, and Well+Good. She has also moderated and spoken on numerous panels on Latine identity. .