How did Bad Bunny become the greatest pop star in the world? | Bad bunny


EIn December, Spotify announced who was the world’s most listened to artist that year, and that usually matches who was popular in the UK. Drake, the Canadian rapper who has had six No.1 UK singles, has finished first in three of the previous five years, with fellow UK colleagues Ed Sheeran and Post Malone leading the rest.

But in 2020, someone who has never had a UK Top 100 solo album or single is the world’s most popular artist: Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny, 26, has released over 8, 3 billion times this year on Spotify alone. Granted, he was on a UK Top 10 hit, but that was in 2018, appearing there for less than a minute: Cardi B.’s I Like It. It doesn’t appear anywhere in the 50 Most Played Songs on Spotify in the UK today, with Brits preferring Christmas classics and Gen Z pop stars like Billie Eilish, Internet Money and 24kGoldn. Meanwhile, Bad Bunny’s current (and stunning) single Dakiti is the most played in the world at the time of writing, earning over 7million coins per day, 3m more than Ariana’s Positions. Great in second place.

On an unbiased, lab-coated level, this success is simply due to the fact that there is a metric for it. Before Spotify came along, there was no way to count the world’s listening habits in a single graph – and Latin America, Bad Bunny’s biggest market, is becoming increasingly influential in this global workforce. It now has the third highest number of Spotify users behind Europe and North America, and their number has grown by 30% year over year. Spanish-speaking stars, including Bad Bunny, may draw listeners to pop-loving countries like Argentina and Colombia – as well as the huge Latin population of the United States, where he is nominated for two Grammys – and so dominate the world rankings.

Bad Bunny himself blows up those dry data points – after all, there’s a reason the rapper and singer has edged out many other Latin streaming stars like J Balvin, Karol G, Maluma and Ozuna. “His music IQ is just astronomical,” says his manager and label manager Noah Assad, who has worked with him since 2016. “I like the way he sees the music field,” he says, as at tennis: “He sees things in music that I don’t understand, and six months or a year before everyone else. He loves the arts – he loves opera! My guy is really unique.

“It has a bit of everything,” says Jose Luis Seijas, editor-in-chief of British magazine Latino Life. “His punchlines are fantastic – he’s a really good writer. It can be pretty deep, but it’s also the guy you want to hear in the middle of the night at a club, getting dirty. And he does a lot of love songs, and the girls love it.

Born Benito Ocasio to working-class parents, he once packed supermarket bags for a living, and his words are just as apt: “It’s not just about cars and girls, it’s about everything, ”Assad says. “How you come out of the sadness and how there is a light at the end of the tunnel. “

Even if you don’t understand the Spanish lyrics, the very sound of her voice is appealing. He has a wonderfully haughty and derogatory air, like he’s gazing at you with disdain for a pair of exotic sunglasses that invariably rest on his nose, and singing he delivers his baritone from the bottom of his lungs with the slightly skimmed notes. . her teeth and lips on leaving: a magnificent vocal texture. But he’s also good at spit-speckled raps right above the mic, and a melodious flow somewhere in between.

Bad Bunny aux Latin American Music Awards en 2017.
Karl Lagerfeld meets Joe Exotic… Bad Bunny at the Latin American Music Awards in 2017. Photographie: Christine Chew / UPI / Alamy Stock Photo

New album El Último Tour Del Mundo shows off its musical range, using the asymmetrical snap of the Latin trap and rolling syncope of reggaeton (its two main styles) alongside ska-punk, alternative rock and even some sort of ballad. Britpop in Trellas. This is his third album this year. “Many of his great ideas come close to [release] date, because everything revolves around the moment, ”says Assad. “You can’t make a good decision six months before an album, because you don’t know what the world will be like at that point. “

He also looks like a pop star, with a touch of genuine Dionysian chaos in his style that can’t be taught – and has surely influenced the rest of his Latin peers, who now often share his very colorful streetwear and couture mashup ( think Karl Lagerfeld is meeting Joe Exotic). ” And who will talk about us, if we don’t let each other see, “He sings on Dakiti:” And who will speak about us, if we do not let ourselves be seen. This fabulous peacock shakes up the downright macho or romantic images used by previous generations of male Latin pop stars (believing he is maintaining certain elements of the status quo, like the women in bikinis dancing in the Dakiti video).

He has also spoken out against homophobia and transphobia – performing on US television in February, he wore a t-shirt condemning the murder of Puerto Rican transgender Alexa Negrón Luciano. “He talks like a regular guy, someone in the pub,” says Seijas, who says Bad Bunny’s frank approach to wearing skirts, for example, changes the culture: “Rather than trying to ‘intellectualize the whole thing as the’ fluidity of the sexes ‘, it was like:’ Mate, overcome yourself. We are in the 21st century, relax. People were like, ‘hey, he’s probably right.’ “

The British are therefore missing out on a really lively and talented pop star; Now it seems the success of another Puerto Rican hit, Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, which spent 11 weeks at No.1 in 2017, was an aberration, and we’re struggling to connect with tongue-in-cheek pop. Spanish. For Seijas, this is due to a lack of marketing and support at the top of the UK music industry, blaming “the white middle-class middlemen who run it: for them Latin music is still Buena Vista Social Club and Ricky Martin. They think reggaeton will go out of fashion next week. I wouldn’t call them racists, but ignorant and lazy.

But, he says, “the new generation of executives has a much broader view of the world. I don’t think Latin music will become number one music in UK, but there will be more chances to listen to our music on radio stations, on TV, on Spotify playlists. ”

What about the language barrier? Seijas responds with the example of the British garage, which he discovered when moving to the UK from Venezuela 20 years ago: “I still don’t understand half of what they say, and I love it. always. Music is an atmosphere, a feeling. “

Assad says that British collaborations, including a recent one with Dua Lipa, could help, and that it is as much his responsibility as his responsibility to convince us: “We really believe in human warmth: go ahead, learn the culture , tell us what they need. We may look different, speak different, but we all have blood inside.

He checked the UK chart data this week and saw that a Bad Bunny song had finally slipped into the Top 200 on Apple Music. “We’re great where we are, but we still have a lot to do. We are on the introduction page. The world, obviously, is not enough.

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