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Tego Calderon "Underdog" Atlantic Records Album Listening Party
6/29/06 - Reporting by Charlie "Ski" Mena, words by Dante
photos by Charlie "Ski" Mena for

On June 22, Atlantic Records artist Tego Calderon hosted the listening party for his upcoming album "The Underdog" aka Subestimado, and was there to get the 411 from el Abayarde himself.


Tego Calderon listening party picture

Tego introduced himself has having been born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1972, growing up listening to Jazz and especially Salsa by the greats like Ismael Rivera.


"I grew up and identified myself with Ismael Rivera's distinctive style," Tego explained, "and soon I was old enough to understand what course I wanted to follow in music. El Abayarde discussed how this album was one of his best, that he put a great deal of work into it and keep it street by not using too many well-known producers.

Most of the production, done in Puerto Rico, still included production powerhouse Luny Tunes. Tego explained each song played one by one, the first track was the intro with a sample from Papoluka, entitled "What's My Name", with a hot beat and Calderon singing the chorus live. He followed up by playing "Lo Mate", explaining that he came back to kill them all with this album.

The album slows down by the third cut, "Mardi Gras", the track has a bluesy sound which reflects Tego's interest in blues music. He expressed how much of a blues fan he was, and that he wanted to do something similar to the collaboration that Nas did with his father.


After a brief skit, the fourth song cuts to a blazing beat with Voltio making a guest appearance. Afterwards he began playing tracks in no particular order, including "Llorara" with Oscar de Leon. Don Omar makes a guest appearance on the track "Chillin'", a track that is more reggae than reggaeton. Tego breaks into "Feo Veo", his favorite song in which he gets at people that he dislikes, before tracks speaking on his baby mama drama. After the "Dos Alas" interlude, he speaks on the relationship between Cubans and Puerto Ricans while playing his salsa track featuring Chang Blanco.

Tego Calderon at Atlantic Records office

Tego then played a track dedicated to his father, stating that he believes that his father would have loved the album and would have been very proud. Calderon explained to Ski of that things were difficult without his father and that he missed him, and that he's going to continue struggling just like his father had advised him to. Tego's motto in life is to keep struggling no matter how hard things get.

Changing pace, Tego played a rock and roll style track before talking about who he'd like to collaborate with. He mentioned a few artists such as Juan Luis Guerra, Lauryn Hill, and expounded on how Celia Cruz was a true pioneer in Salsa. Others that Tego has enjoyed working with include his friend Oscar de Leon, DJ Nelson, Luny Tunes, Voltio, Don Omar, Zion y Yandel and many others.


Charlie Mena AKA Ski and Tego Calderon

When asked about his genre of music, Tego explained that he doesn't consider himself a reggaeton artist, but simply an artist. He doesn't consider himself a lyricist either, but points out that he doesn't like the reggaeton movement too much because its getting too commercial, as though its getting too pop. 


Calderon finally mentioned that he generally doesn't let his children listen to reggaeton at home unless it happens to be on the radio.

In the spring of 2005, Tego signed with Atlantic Records via a deal with his own Jiggiri Records label -- becoming the first reggaeton artist to ink a global pact with a major label. His second proper album, "THE UNDERDOG / “EL SUBESTIMADO,” is due out from Jiggiri/Atlantic Records on August of 2006.



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