Although they’ve embarked on solo careers, Arcangel’s and De La Ghetto’s names are rarely seen unhooked by a conjunction. The MCs met in the underground reggaeton circuit in San Juan, and had too many similarities not to link up: They were both born in New York yet were raised in Puerto Rico, and they both knew how to blend highly charged hip-hop sensibilities with the reggae-inspired booms taking over the island.
Cue the reggaeton explosion of the mid-2000s. Arcangel and De La Ghetto became among the perennial favorites on the radio with singles like “Pégate” and “Aparentemente.” The two later split amicably as De La Ghetto went off to showcase his more bristling, street-savvy style and Arcangel refined his mellower aesthetic. About three years ago, presumably unimpressed with the direction of reggaeton, they announced they’d reunite for an album, grandiosely titled “Juntos por Necesidad del Genero” (“Together for the Good of the Genre.”)
Despite the name of their studio reunion, the two seem to be signaling that they are still separate entities. Saturday’s show was split down the middle, with De La Ghetto emerging first at about 1 a.m. He came out clad in sunglasses and a long-sleeve sweater, never mind a blistering club filled with thousands of sweaty reggaeton fans who had waited in line, in some cases, for hours. De La Ghetto spat out his verses over a nonstop collection of exploding beats and a screaming crowd, who didn’t mind his quavering voice, which cracked and faded as the set wore on.Then came the slighter Arcangel, in all his braided glory. The more romantic of the partnership, he’s quick to drop Shakespeare quotes in interviews and draw out a surprisingly gossamer singing voice when he needs it. But, just as quickly, he can spew rhymes with demonic speed.