Billboard unveiled their cover star for the April 20 issue, and it’s none other than our favorite urbano artist Ozuna. His chest and abs visible underneath his Alexander McQueen jacket, the Dominican-Puerto Rican singer sports Moschino pants held up by a Louis Vuitton belt as his gaze jumps off the page. In conversation with journalist Eduardo Cepeda, Ozuna opens up about the release of his third studio album, Latinx culture breaking into the U.S. market and recent accusations, among other topics.
Born Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, he was raised by his grandmother beginning at the age of 3 after his father, a backup dancer for Vico C, was killed. In his late teens, the artist connected with family in New York’s Washington Heights, where he discovered first-hand how to publish and promote his videos on YouTube. It surely paid off. In February 2019, news broke that Ozuna holds the record for the artist with the most YouTube videos with more than 1 billion views as a lead artist, featured artist or collaborator.
The cover story drives home the point that the 26-year-old is in a lane of his own. But it’s also clear that he’s had the support of other artists like Farruko and Arcangel, who collaborated with him on the 2016 hit “Si No Te Quiere.” Ozuna wants to do the same for rising artists, particularly women.
“Elevating Latinos is my responsibility,” he says in the interview. “No one believed in collaborating with women, and I did songs with Karol G, Natti Natasha — it was unheard of, it didn’t exist.”
With crossover hits like “La Modelo,” featuring Cardi B, and most recently his lead feature on DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki,” Ozuna acknowledges how they both raised his profile within the U.S. Despite the more visibility, he plans to stay true to his style.
“I want Latino culture to truly break into the United States, because it really hasn’t yet,” he says to Cepeda. “There isn’t enough mainstream art that centers on Latino identity. All the time it’s ‘English, English, English.’ If I have the opportunity of having so many followers, and helping to take Latino artists and culture to the mainstream, I’m not going to selfishly throw it away because I learned English and can ‘cross over.’ ”
The interview also touched upon the pornographic tape that surfaced showing Ozuna performing a solo sex act, and accusations he was involved in the murder of openly-gay Latin trap pioneer Kevin Fret. He apologized to fans about the tape. As for the accusations, he replied, “Out of respect for him [Kevin Fret] and his family, I have nothing more to say.”
You can see more from the cover shoot here: