Fans of Daddy Yankee knew that Sunday night’s concert in his native Puerto Rico was intended to be the last of the Latin music superstar’s roughly 30-year career. However, the final show of his La Meta (The Finish Line) tour came with a surprise ending that left fans stunned and Spanish-language media abuzz.
Beyond the planned farewell at the fifth concert he’d held on the island since Thursday night at Coliseo de Puerto Rico, there was a powerful statement from the creator of hits such as “Gasolina” and “Despacito.” Raymond Ayala, the 46-year-old artist known as Daddy Yankee, announced that his retirement was wholly motivated by his conversion to Christ.
Ayala became the most recent star of the urban music scene—and especially reggaetón—who testified to having an encounter with Jesus as his Savior.
A similar announcement was previously made by fellow Puerto Rican artist Farruko, who announced his conversion at a February 2022 concert in Miami and refused to sing the lyrics to his hit song “Pepas,” asking fans to forgive him for them. With seven tour stops left, he announced that he would return the money of anyone who did not agree to listen to him talk about Jesus.
Héctor Delgado, who previously performed as the artist El Father and who now leads a ministry on the island, also left the Puerto Rican reggaetón scene in 2008 due to his conversion.
All three artists left the musical world behind at the height of their careers and world fame, with the 2022 leg of Daddy Yankee’s farewell tour generating $125 million.
“My people, this day for me is the most important day of my life and I want to share it with you, because to live a life of success is not the same as living a life with purpose,” said Daddy Yankee before a stadium full of delirious fans who had come to applaud their idol.
“For a long time I tried to fill a void in my life that no one could fill. I tried to fill and find meaning in my life. Sometimes I appeared to be very happy, but something was missing to make me complete,” he said, "and I have to confess that those days are over.
“Someone was able to fill that void that I felt for a long time. I was able to realize that for everyone I was someone, but I was nothing without him,” Daddy Yankee continued, before offering his most direct allusion to Christ.
“Now anyone who knows me as Daddy Yankee should say, 'Daddy Yankee in Christ, Raymond Ayala in Puerto Rico.’ A story is over and a new story is going to begin, a new beginning,” he said. “All the tools that I have in my possession—like music, social networks, platforms, a microphone, everything that Jesus gave me—is now for the kingdom.”
“Thank you very much, Puerto Rico, and I hope that you walk with me in this new beginning and I hope that something very important is recorded in you: Do not follow any man. I am a human. All the people who followed me: Follow Jesus Christ, for he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
As he left the stage, Daddy Yankee declared, “Christ loves you and Christ is coming.”
That final phrase resonates deeply in Puerto Rico because for decades it was the central message of the preaching of one of the best-known evangelists from the island: Yiye Ávila, a former bodybuilder who drew comparisons to Billy Graham and passed away in 2013.
Ayala does not come to the gospel as a complete outsider. In his past, there had been a solid Christian foundation, and he has a brother who currently is an evangelical pastor.
In fact, he thanked God’s mercy for allowing him to travel the world and achieve wealth and still be alive. He also said that he hopes that same mercy will allow him to evangelize the world from Puerto Rico.
“Finally, I reached the goal. I am free. Amen!” declared Ayala before leaving the stage.
A drone show at the concert’s conclusion depicted a giant pink cross and a message: Cristo viene (“Christ is coming”).
Delgado, who went on to lead Maranatha Iglesia in Rio Grande, reacted enthusiastically to the news of another former colleague finding the gospel, noting that Daddy Yankee was the one who originally sowed in Delgado a seed about Christ.
“I will never forget that you were the first to tell me about the gospel of Jesus. I only ask God to give you strength and wisdom so that you can execute everything precious that God has for you and your family,” Delgado wrote.
Farruko celebrated the news but told his followers not to “trip up” Daddy Yankee, like both non-Christians and Christians did to him after his own conversion. “Glory to the Father, there is a celebration in the kingdom,” he wrote on Instagram.
High profile conversions of Puerto Rican musicians are not necessarily surprising. Beyond these stars, Vico C, a pioneer of Puerto Rican rap and hip-hop, confessed Christ as his Savior and later recorded a Christian album.
Likewise, singers of the salsa music genre—such as Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Ismael Miranda, and Domingo Quiñones—also announced conversions during their careers.
"Welcome home Brother Raymond,” wrote Redimi2, a Christian Dominican reggaetón artist. “Although I already heard the news, I became emotional, almost to the point of tears, to see you confessing this publicly.”
Keropi Sanchez, one of Puerto Rico’s most famous comedians, expressed his joy at the news as well.
“With the same posture with which we rejoiced upon hearing this conversion, we should also feel happy at whomever comes to the feet of Christ, famous or not.”
With additional reporting by Jhonny A. Neito Ossa