In the early 2000s, Luny Tunes had the future of reggaeton in the palm of their hands. Mas Flow 2, the Dominican American production duo’s 2005 compilation album, spawned a series of classics. The scandalizing drama of Daddy Yankee and Wisin y Yandel’s “Mayor Que Yo” became a bachatón standard; the latter’s massive hit “Rakata” later received the Arca experimental treatment. A reference to Alexis & Fido’s “El Tiburón” (“The Shark”) on Bad Bunny’s “Safaera” would lead concertgoers to don shark costumes, anticipating the precise moment to answer the original song’s refrain (“Que me lleve el tiburón”) with a hip-thrusting new response: “¡Aqui llego tu tiburón!” Mas Flow 2 cleaved through the weeds of a rising genre, forging a path for future Latin artists and offering an eager fledgling producer the opportunity to get his feet wet.
After a year of tinkering with production software, Marcos Efraín Masís Fernández, a rock-, rap-, and anime-obsessed 15-year-old from Puerto Rico, was introduced to Luny Tunes through Nely el Arma Secreta, another foundational beatmaker on the island. Trembling in the presence of his idols, the teenage Fernández previewed a smidgen of the colossal original production that would become the intro to Mas Flow 2. Those audacious 58 seconds, jam-packed with dramatic synthesizers, battle-ready drum rolls, and bombastic strings, crowned Fernández as Luny Tunes’ official protégé: Tainy Tunes. They signed him to their legendary in-house production team immediately.
Over the past two decades, Tainy’s ability to synthesize old-school nostalgia into modern-day bangers has been a secret ingredient in the resurgence of urbano Latino. Today he is the premiere perreo vibe dealer, pushing beyond cookie-cutter Anglo pop crossovers and staying true to the genre’s defiant DNA. He’s produced for contemporary Latin megastars like Ozuna, J Balvin, Don Omar, Cardi B, Kali Uchis, and Selena Gomez. Without Tainy, Bad Bunny classics like “Safaera,” “Callaíta,” and “Yo Perreo Sola” would not exist. But because he is quite literally the best in the business, Tainy’s studio debut, Data, struggles to distinguish itself in his trailblazing discography. Over 19 tracks, Tainy shows off his wide-ranging taste and appetite for experimentation but struggles to balance the search for the next step in urbano’s evolution within the conceptual framework of an album.
The best reggaeton is magnetic, demanding that you surrender to the careful emotional interplay between production and lyrics, the playful addition of a Jaws sound effect, or clever onomatopoeia that riffs on the intrinsic melodic quality of Spanish. But from the moment Myke Towers concludes his verse on opener “Obstáculo” with a brag about Bitcoin, the tone of Data feels tacky and forced. Cinematic production flourishes—a robot voice, ceremonial drums, hymnal humming—all come as left turns. The contrived energy dulls many songs on the album, which Tainy describes as a “series of uploads that ultimately bring a cyborg named Sena to life.” With or without context, that narrative isn’t apparent until the final 10 seconds of closer “Sacrificio,” a cheesy, Rebelde-ready no-hook rap track that concludes with the sound of a woman gasping like she’s just been resuscitated. It feels as if Tainy decided to tape on a concept after the album was already complete.
Futuristic themes and sounds pepper the tracklist, but without correspondingly consistent musical innovation, Data’s claims of changing the game weigh down its true stabs at evolution. “Sci-Fi,” featuring Rauw Alejandro, sounds exactly like what you’d expect from his chrome-plated Saturno aesthetic. The ’80s influences on “Paranormal” are lukewarm despite Álvaro Díaz’s “siempre main character nunca NPC” jab. On “Volver,” the album’s biggest trust fall, Tainy brings in Four Tet and Skrillex, fusing their meandering electronics and subdued drum’n’bass with a reggaeton beat that doesn’t entirely mesh with Rauw’s verse. Even bringing Daddy Yankee out of retirement for a Feid and Sech-assisted single doesn’t hit like it should. With incessant mentions of a girl who hits the gym and takes hella selfies, “La Baby” evokes the soundtrack to a “day in the life” from Latina Corporate Baddie TikTok.
On many songs, Tainy attempts to add nuance to basic pop reggaeton by tacking on string and piano-led outros. “Buenos Aires” is a radio-ready track about partying and baecation, capped by a string section like a superfluous sprig of parsley. “En Visto” slaps some mandolins at the end of an average Ozuna cut. Tainy finally remedies this offense on “Me Jodi...” Arcángel’s sunset melodies about getting his girl back keep the song light and frothy, and when the last 40 seconds switch to an orchestral outro, Tainy sets up a moment to be transported by the song’s emotions. When the next track starts, the electronic pulse and steel drum of “Volver” echo the breezy essence that’s just been cooked up. When Tainy strings together disparate tastes with finesse, his compositional compass feels decipherable.
Thanks to its sheer volume, Data does contain a handful of gems. The six-minute posse cut “Pasiempre” nods to Tainy’s foundational work on X 100PRE, coaxing out a reluctant Trap Bunny for a surprise verse. Co-producer Arca’s glitchy contributions bend Tainy’s beat into an elastic band for Jhayco, Myke Towers, and Omar Courtz to bounce off, and her siren song on the bridge is a splash of cold water that prefaces the truest line Bunny’s spit in a while: “Soy ma’ grande que el trap” (“I’m much bigger than trap”). With three prominent Conejo Malo features, Data revives the classic sound of an artist whose legacy is now fused with Tainy’s own. Bunny imagines them as the reggaeton Kobe and Shaq, as if the two players ditched their feud to dominate urbano airwaves. The ’80s synth pop of “Mobaji Ghost” feels like wind through your hair, and “Lo Siento BB :/” could’ve easily worked on Un Verano Sin Ti. On other standouts like Wisin y Yandel’s ode to old-school perreo “Todavía,” the Marias and Young Miko’s sugary “Mañana,” and Chencho Corleone’s slow-wining interlude, nothing feels forced.
Data is the work of a producer with nothing to prove playing with every toy he owns at once. Instead of aiming for the charts, Tainy pushes each featured artist to explore uncharted perreo territory, presenting urbano music for the emo fans (“11 y Once”), the TikTok girlies (“La Baby”), and the old heads (“Todavía”) all in one place. Despite Data’s unnecessary embellishments and absent android, Tainy remains one of reggaeton’s most imaginative producers, anticipating trends and attempting kickflips within a genre that other producers would rather dilute for crossovers’ sake. On his debut, Tainy’s reggaeton isn’t merely aimed at turning up the party: It’s an ambitious attempt at rewiring reggaeton from the roots.