Puerto Rican singer, rapper and songwriter Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, better known by his stage name Bad Bunny, has made a name for himself for a variety of reasons ranging from his surreal vocal style and fashion sense to his blend of Latin trap and reggaeton with rock, bachata, and soul, to his ability to crossover into mainstream popularity without any of his songs being in English.
Born and raised in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, Bad Bunny began his career on SoundCloud while working as a bagger in a supermarket alongside attending university. His music began to gain recognition, and he was soon signed, releasing his breakout single ‘Soy Peor’ in 2016. His fame continued to grow with the release of his singles ‘I Like It’ and ‘Mia’ with Cardi B and Drake respectively, and his debut album ‘X 100pre’ (pronounced ‘Por Siempre’ and meaning ‘Forever’) followed in 2018 and earned the artiste a Latin Grammy for Best Urban Music Album.
2019 saw the release of Bad Bunny’s collaborative album with J Balvin titled ‘Oasis’, and after a pitstop to preform alongside Shakira and Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl LIV halftime show early in 2020, the artist dropped his second studio album, ‘YHLQMDLG’ (an abbreviation of ‘Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana’ which translates to ‘I Do Whatever I Want’), the highest-charting all-Spanish album ever on the US Billboard 200 at number two. And two months later, with no warning or promotion, Bad Bunny released ‘Las Que No Iban a Salir’ (‘The Ones That Weren’t Going to Come Out’), a collection of tracks that, as the name implies, were never meant to come out.
Bad Bunny started out with a sound that seemingly offered a way forward for Latin music and reggaeton in particular, and branched out into a genre-blended sound that invoked a sense of nostalgia for the backyard parties of the ’90s. And in his latest surprise release, the artist delivered more lyrical depth. Through his few years on the scene, Bad Bunny has demonstrated he’s a versatile artist. And his New York City live stream Uforia concert proves that he’s as good on a stage as he is in a studio. In case you missed that party, here are five tracks from Bad Bunny to get your week started.
‘Las Que No Iban a Salir’ featured several gems, including ‘En Casita’ or ‘In a Small House’, which saw Bad Bunny and his girlfriend lament how difficult staying at home during quarantine is. But ‘Bendiciones’ sees the artist thank god for his blessings as he asks that the same be bestowed on everyone, from young to old. He also references the category 5 hurricane Maria that devastated several regions including Puerto Rico, something he did with his other song ‘Estamos Bien’ (We’re Good) in which he praised the resilience of his people, who, despite not receiving aid, have continued to rely on one another and rebuild their lives. In ‘Bendiciones’, Bad Bunny shares his hope for better days ahead as he extends these prayers to the frontline workers who continue to battle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Yo Perreo Sola’ (‘I Twerk Alone)
With close to 400 million views, it’s safe to say this song is a massive hit. The song was co-written by Genesis Rios, better known as Nesi, who also performs in the video. This era saw Bad Bunny make his allyship abundantly clear as he answered the hate his drag looks for this song’s video got by declaring his support for the LGBTQIA++ community. The song itself highlights the plight of women who deal with sexual harassment and is thought to draw inspiration from the murder of Alexa, a transgender woman who was murdered and left on a side of the road following relentless harassment, both online and in real life. Bad Bunny has brought further attention to Alexa’s story via his performances of the track.
‘La Romana’ (featuring El Alfa)
There’s a lot to love about this track, from it’s uplifting of La Romana as a region more ‘lit’ than Dubai to its stunning blend of Latin trap and dembow, the two styles that shot the song’s performing artists to fame. Thematically, this song bounces around a lot, pointing to an overall lifestyle that reflects the Caribbean. The song’s refrain, ‘pásame la hookah!’ or ‘pass me the hookah’, is super catchy and it’s hard not to chant along. And when the song’s beat kicks in, it’s near impossible to stay seated. The fact that this standout track was on Bad Bunny’s debut album just adds to its excellence.
‘MIA’ (featuring Drake)
While 2020 forced the music industry into a lockdown of its own, one of the exciting things that have happened this year is a host of collaborative projects that moved past geographical boundaries and ushered in a new rea of music, one that isn’t limited by distance. But long before the pandemic, Bad Bunny was already pushing these boundaries, collaborating with artists who hopped on his track and sang in Spanish instead of having Bad Bunny sing in English to accommodate them. ‘Mia’ with Drake went on to be one of the best songs to come out of 2018, and it holds up years later.
‘Caro’ (‘Expensive’, featuring Ricky Martin)
As with most rappers, Bad Bunny delivers a song about riches and living the good life. But on this track, what he defines as being rich is having a rich character and staying true to one’s self. The song’s interlude, a gorgeously melodic bit, features vocals from Martin who co-wrote the track. The duo also worked together alongside rapper Residente on ‘Cántalo’ (‘Sing It’), a track that celebrated the ousting of Puerto Rican governor Ricardo ‘Ricky’ Antonio Rosselló, all three artists having participated in the protests that forced Rosselló out of office. But where ‘Cántalo’ was a trap-reggaeton-sala blend of perfection that pointed to a better future ahead, ‘Caro’ is a more self-reflective track that looks for the light within.
Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!