Arcángel is a reggaetón vocalist from Puerto Rico who began his career as a member of the duo Arcángel y De la Ghetto in the mid-2000s before embarking on a solo career. Born Austin Santos on December 23, 1986, in New York City, Arcángel first established himself in tandem with De la Ghetto with the song "Ven y Pegate" on the popular Hector el Father-hosted compilation album Sangre Nueva. Throughout 2005 and 2006, Arcángel y De la Ghetto were featured on a variety of reggaetón albums, including Luny Tunes' Mas Flow: Los Benjamins, and were associated with Baby Records, the label of Zion (of the duo Zion & Lennox).
Arcángel announced in December 2006 that he was embarking on a solo career and founding a label of his own. In the wake of Arcángel's announcement, De la Ghetto also embarked on a solo career and made his major-label full-length album debut with Masacre Musical (2008).
Meanwhile, Arcángel's career began more sporadically. While his guest feature on the DJ Nelson album Flow la Discoteka, Vol. 2 (2007), "Chica Virtual," was a minor hit, his planned full-length solo album debut, La Maravilla, went unreleased after being leaked on the Internet in spring 2008. At the end of the year Arcángel finally made his solo album debut with El Fenómeno (2008), a full-length album produced by some of reggaetón's top beatmakers, including Luny Tunes, Mambo Kingz, Tainy, and Noriega, among others. The album featured mostly new material, though a handful of songs originally planned for release on La Maravilla, including the hit single "Paque la Pases Bien," were included. The lead single for El Fenómeno, "Por Amar a Ciegas," became another hit for Arcángel and helped the album break into the Top 20 of Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart. He also founded Flow Factory Inc. his own production company, and enlisted his mother as his manager.
Despite the chart success, he didn't rush another recording. Instead, he toured Europe. In advance of these shows he issued the mixtape The Problem Child in April of 2010. Upon returning, he released another entitled Optimus A.R.C.A, and then began assembling music for a followup album. While he was working, he took time to contribute to a pair of the popular El Imperio Nazza compilations.
It took until 2013 for Sentimiento, Elegancia y Maldad to appear. Its pre-release single, "Hace Mucho Tiempo" feat. Daddy Yankee and Baby Johnny did well on airplay and download charts, and the album topped Billboard's Top Latin albums chart. For the next year-and-a-half Arcangel spent his time collaborating and contributing to other artists recordings, including Maluma's smash hit Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy.
The notion of collaboration, so important in reggaeton, became the movtivating factor behind 2015's Los Favoritos. Enlisting DJ Luian as a co-billed conspirator, Arcangel setabout recording tracks with his favorite genre artists of two generations including J Balvin, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Ñejo Flow, Farruko, J Alvarez, and Wisin. There were 20 in all. The single "Tu Cuerpo Me Hace Bien" landed inside the top 10 of the Latin Rhythm Chart, while the album spent 13 weeks riding the Latin top 40. ~ Jason Birchmeier