Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Nicky Jam recently went on the El Hormiguero show where he opened up about death threats he and Daddy Yankee received in Puerto Rico that forced them to flee back to New York.
“We helped a guy from the neighborhood and he had some problems and they killed him. And since we helped him they wanted to harm us too for helping someone who had problems like he had,” Nicky Jam revealed on the Spanish show. “We fled to New York and it didn’t go well because we stayed with someone who was doing things they shouldn’t be doing so one day I told him let’s go back and confront the guy who wants to kill us and let’s make music because that’s what we do.”
The person making the threat died in a street fight and so the duo — known as Los Cangris — were able to return to the island and continue making music. “That was God helping us as if saying we shouldn’t be out on the streets but making music,” Nicky Jam continued.
The 38-year-old Grammy winner then joked that not all Puerto Ricans are like him, naming artists like Luis Fonsi, Marc Anthony, and Puerto Ricans as more of the high society. “Luis Fonsi no habla como yo,” Nicky Jam joked.
He also wanted to ensure the audience that his experience isn’t representative of Puerto Rico, just certain barrios and that they should still visit and experience the beautiful island.
Nicky Jam and Daddy Yankee went on to releases successful tracks including “Sabanas Blancas,” “Guayando,” and “Sentirte” before their falling out and reunited in 2012 to release “El Party Me Llama.”
Nicky Jam, whose real name is Nick Rivera Caminero, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father, who moved to Barrio Obrero in Puerto Rico when he was 10. On the show, he also explained that he was the one who helped get his parents clean after years of addiction and that he’s now been clean for a decade.
The artist was on the show to promote his new album Intimo and the El Ganador, a Spanish-language limited series detailing his life. It’s available on Netflix in Latin America and Spain and on Telemundo in the U.S. The 13-episode series features three different eras in his life: 9-year-old Nicky played by Avery Rodríguez and teenage Nicky played by Puerto Rican singer/rapper Darkiel, and present-day Nicky is played by the artist himself and José Arroyo plays Daddy Yankee.
When the host asks him about how candid the series is, Nicky Jam explained that he’s intentionally real about his experiences so those that are watching can see the effects of the choices you make. “I wanted them to see that there are two roads,” he said. “If you take the negative, all the bad things that happened to me will happen to you.”