Juan Carlos “Ozuna” Rosado is inspired by the new age of hip-hop in more ways than the world knows. Much like the pioneers of America’s trap movement (T.I., Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy), Ozuna’s role in uplifting Latin trap to new heights over the past few years with songs like "Si No Te Quiere” and “Te Vas,” has been pivotal to its global popularity.

After releasing last year's critically acclaimed Odisea (which means “Odyssey” in English), the singer of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent has topped the charts with his Cardi B-assisted single “La Modelo” and his remix to Nio Garcia’s “Te Boté.” He even upped the ante by hopping on mega remixes to Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and Post Malone’s “Rockstar.”

At this point in his career, Ozuna doesn’t need to sing or rap in English for more American crossovers to happen. After concluding his first European tour this summer, the 26-year-old released his sophomore album Aura, which features rappers Cardi B and Akon as well as other Latin artists like J. Balvin, Natti Natasha and Anuel AA. Ozuna aka “El Negrito de Ojos Claros” has also been working with Tory Lanez to wrap up their upcoming joint album, El Agua.

“Tory Lanez and I have a great relationship,” Ozuna tells XXL. “He told me he wanted to make an album in Spanish and I was all for it. We’ve been working closely to curate the project. We recently dropped the first track 'Pa Mi' and it’s been a hit worldwide.”

That’s not the only American rap star Ozuna is working with. The day before he dropped his Aura album, XXL caught up with Ozuna to talk about the rap artists he’s got in his playlist, his upcoming joint album with Tory Lanez, and his new friend, Tekashi 6ix9ine.

XXL: Describe the moment when you first started rapping.

Ozuna: I started rapping at the age of 12. That’s when I wrote my first song. but I was more intrigued on learning how the recording process works, how do you create music and what materials I needed. So I educated myself musically so that I could focus on creating my own.

What hip-hop artists are in your playlist right now?

I listen to Migos. I listen to Drake a lot. Also 21 Savage, Kodak Black, XXXTentacion. All those new school cats. I like their music a lot.

You’re one of the reasons why trap in English and Spanish are fusing. Where do you see the future of trap in both languages?

I see it going really far. It’s all music within the urban genre so I see it going far like reggaeton. It’s music that people identify and the rhythms are really contagious. I know the people will enjoy it for a long time.

Are there any American rappers that have influenced your music thus far?

I don’t have one in particular but overall, yeah, they influence me a lot. Not so much their lyrics, but their rhythms, melodies and style have influenced me greatly.

You’re finishing up a joint album with Tory Lanez called El Agua. How did you both meet?

We met through my producer Yampi, who mentioned he had an English-speaking artist he wanted to introduce me to. I didn’t know who he was but the fact that he was an artist like me [and] that he has that hunger to work intrigued me. So we met up and made a few songs together. He’s just a great dude.

Did Tory know Spanish beforehand or did you help him out?

Ha! No, he knows Spanish.

Anuel AA recently spoke with XXL and he said he’s got a remix to “Te Boté” with Jennifer Lopez coming soon. Have you heard it?

Yes, I’ve heard it. It’s amazing. I really hope you guys like it.

Anuel has also been spotted in the studio with Tekashi 6ix9ine. Do you think you will be working with 6ix9ine, too?

Yeah, we already made that connection. He’s a great artist. He has a huge movement. I like him a lot. We have a couple tracks that are on the way, so be ready. We have something strong coming with 6ix9ine. —Tony Centeno

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