Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez (born February 3, 1977), known by his stage name Daddy Yankee, is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, rapper, actor and record producer. Ayala was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, and was raised in the neighborhood of Villa Kennedy Housing Projects. According to the New York Times, he is known as the "King of Reggaetón" by music critics and fans alike.
Ayala aspired to be a professional baseball player, and tried out for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball. Before he could be officially signed, he was hit by a stray round from an AK-47 rifle while taking a break from a studio recording session with reggaeton mix tape icon DJ Playero. Ayala spent roughly one and a half years recovering from the wound; the bullet was never removed from his hip, and he credits the shooting incident with allowing him to focus entirely on a music career. In 2004, Daddy Yankee released his internationally acclaimed single "Gasolina", which is credited with introducing reggaeton to audiences worldwide, and making the music genre a global phenomenon. Since then, he has sold over 18 million albums. Daddy Yankee's album Barrio Fino made history when it became the top-selling Latin music album of the decade between 2000–2009.
Daddy Yankee has received various awards and nominations throughout his career. As of April 2017, he has won 82 awards from 270 nominations since his raise to international fame in 2004. He has won a Latin Grammy Award, 2 Billboard Music Awards, 14 Billboard Latin Music Awards, 2 Latin American Music Awards, 8 Lo Nuestro Awards, an MTV Video Music Award and 6 ASCAP Awards. He also received a Puerto Rican Walk of Fame Star, special awards by People en Español magazine, and the Presencia Latina at Harvard University. He was named by CNN as the Most Influential Hispanic Artist of 2009, and by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential in the World in 2006.