Tegui Calderón Rosario (born February 2 1972) is a Puerto Rican rapper. He is best known as Tego Calderón, or by the nickname "El Abayarde", which refers to a tiny, slow-moving species of fire ant found in Puerto Rico. The name is in reference to his behavior as a child; mischievous and troublesome. He not only records hip hop music but also mambo, salsa (e.g. "Planté bandera" on his debut album, and "Llora, Llora" and "Llámame" with Oscar D'León) in 2006, blues ("Mardi Gras", on the 2006 album) and reggaetón. In addition, he has also made songs that are pure reggae, (e.g. "Chillin'" from the 2006 album The Underdog/El Subestimado).He also believes that Jamaican dancehall reggae and hip hop along with Salsa are the roots of Reggaeton. His album El Abayarde made him a major Latin star. Calderón has received awards for his work, including a Source Award for "International Artist of the Year" and a Tu Música award. He has also received nomination in several ceremonies, including the Latin Grammy, Billboard Award, Premios Lo Nuestro and Premios La Gente.
In August 2003, Calderón performed at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. Based on his presentation The New York Times noted that he "made the best case for Reggaetón as music with room to grow" being a "forward-looking performer." His second appearance at the venue was in October 2004, when he served as the main artist of an event titled Megatón 2004. The concert sold out its entrances, with 20,000 in attendance, compossing a crowd that included several non Latino fans. The Village Voice noted that the crowd was enthusiastic and danced while he performed.
Calderón subsecuently traveled to Miami, which influenced him to include dancehall elements into his music style. In 2004, he produced a new album titled El Enemy de los Guasíbiri, the production focused on several urban genres. Calderón noted that he preferred these styles due to a perception that Salsa had "become too corporate and too safe". Years after its release, Calderón stated that he never approved the release of the Guasibiri album, that it was a collection of his old songs and shouldn't be considered one of his productions. Following the release of this album, reggaeton gained more influence with several hip-hop producers in New York. Calderón continued working on several mixtapes, being featured in remixes of Usher's "Yeah," Fat Joe's "Lean Back," N.O.R.E.'s "Oye Mi Canto" and Akon's "I Wanna Love You".
In the summer of 2005, Calderón signed a deal between Atlantic Records and his own independent label, Jiggiri Records, making him the first reggaeton artist to have a deal with a major record company.
In 2006, Calderón and both companies published The Underdog/El Subestimado. He noted that the production includes influence from several Afro-Caribbean rhythms including Reggae, Salsa, Bomba and Rumba. This production featured the guests appearances of Buju Banton, Voltio, Bataklán, Eddie Dee, Luis Cabán, Yandel, Zion, Chyno Nyno, Don Omar and Oscar D'León. Several producers were involved in the album, including Cookee, Major League, Salaam Remi, Eric Figueroa, Luny Tunes, DJ Nelson, Danny Fornaris, DJ Nesty, Naldo, DJ Joe, DJ Fat and Echo & Diesel. At the presentation party for the album, Calderón explained that he no longer considers himself as a reggaeton artist because this subgenre of music has become too commercial. Noting that reggaeton is becoming too simmilar to pop music and that he does not let his children listen to it at home unless it is on the radio. In October 2008, Calderón released a single titled“Pegadito a la pared”, in the internet.
Although Calderón is a reggaeton artist, he claims to like "all types of music". Evidence of this is seen both in his biography (he began his career in music in a metal band and attended a school for music as a drummer) as well as in his music, which incorporates "'several musical tendencies'", including sounds and rhythms from places like Africa, Colombia, and the Caribbean. He obtains the sound for his popular reggaeton music through "fusing an experimental reggaeton style strongly rooted in the working-class Caribbean aesthetics of classic salsa with a strong dose of hip-hop". On The Underdog/El Subestimado, he collaborated with rap duo Anónimo consejo to create a song entitled "Son Dos Alas" which eventually was shortened to an interdule without Calderon.
Calderón has also been praised for his lyrics, which are much more substantive and uplifting than the misogynist materialistic words that have come to define reggaeton as well as the majority of hip-hop music. Calderón has been described as "the reggaeton champion of an Afro-Caribbean working-class aesthetic" and is known for lyrics that are equal parts poetry and politics. A consistent link between all of his albums "are the social themes and the untouchable bravado that he usually transmits through his artistic outlook." According to Tony Touch, "Tego is someone who represents struggle, an underdog... He's more of an MC, a product of late-'80s hip-hop."
Calderón turned down roles in both "Feel the Noise" and "El Cantante" and instead chose to appear in Illegal Tender out of respect for its producer. After convincing John Singleton that he wanted to appear in a comedy, Calderón is slated to appear in an upcoming Singleton film which casts him as the coach of a baseball team.
Calderón traveled to Sierra Leone along with artists Raekwon and Paul Wall to film a VH1 documentary about diamond mining entitled "Bling'd: Blood, Diamonds, and Hip-Hop." The documentary focused on the role of Hip Hop in the blood diamond trade, after the filming concluded Calderón publicly announced that he would no longer wear jewelry. His experience in Africa also changed his outlook on life, which influenced the recording of the track "Alegria", encouraging fans to not complain about life and recognize that there are other people with bigger problems in their lives.
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