Bad Bunny at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA on Aug. 25, 2018. (Credit: Alan Hess)
Of the Latin artists that have crossed over into mainstream popularity, none have done it quite like Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican native has taken a progressive, often controversial path to become one of music’s biggest stars. And he’s done it while singing only in Spanish.
In a new feature story in Billboard, writer Eduardo Cepeda describes how “el conejo malo” managed to take over pop music by taking “risks few young male Latin stars would.” Bad Bunny chimes in with insights into his mindset and discusses why he’s not afraid to paint his nails or call out social issues.
Bad Bunny released his critically acclaimed debut album X 100PRE in December. The project peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and currently sits at No. 19. It features the hit singles “MIA” featuring Drake, “Estamos Bien,” and “Solo de Mi.” The latest single is “Si Estuviesemos Juntos,” which the 24-year-old dropped on Thursday along with a music video.
Read Bad Bunny’s best quotes from the story and watch the video for “Si Estuviesemos Juntos” below.
Why he takes risks:
“When I came into this industry, I was never afraid to be myself … There were others who would advise me to tone down a bit, but I just always thought, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?'”
How calling out social issues comes easy to him:
“At the end of the day, these are basic messages .. Ultimately, I’m not doing that much. I’m only doing what a human being who feels wants to do — in my way, without stepping out of my flow, while staying in my lane. Without, I guess, boring people.”
Why he lets fans approach him in the street:
“That’s the whole point — that’s how it should be … Like, fucking trying to connect with people.”
Why he keeps his friends close:
“[It] makes you feel like you’re with family, makes you feel at home, makes you feel normal. It gives me that grounding I need to always stay within orbit and not forget Earth.”
Why he used the same two producers on X 100PRE:
“It influences not just the quality of the album, but also the sentimentality of it … That energy translates. You feel like you’re listening to an artist, not just music meant for radio play.”
Related: Watch Bad Bunny’s ‘Caro’ Video
Ozuna (Source: Instagram)
The Puerto Rican artist discussed many topics, including revealing that the project contains a Spanish-language track with Akon. He also confirmed that his Cardi B-assisted hit single “La Modelo” will appear on Aura.
Other topics covered include why he likes to collaborate often, his relationship with J Balvin, and the pressure of topping his record-breaking debut album, Odisea. Released in August 2017, Odisea is currently in its 45th week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.
Working with Akon:
“Working with someone who shares your vision, your work ethic, and who likes to create as you do makes it easy. When we got together, we made four songs in one day. There’s one song for his album and two for a future release. Yes, he sang in Spanish, and I even sang in English. He doesn’t speak perfect Spanish, and I don’t speak perfect English, but we understand each other.”
His relationship with J Balvin:
“He’s an extremely important person to me. I value his opinion and his presence in my projects. He has an impressive aura about him, he’s brilliant and intelligent, and he puts his heart into his work. He’s someone who always gives it his all. I can ask him for advice even when it’s not his song, and he’ll tell me what to fix.”
Why he likes to collaborate often:
“I like it because it’s like being in a group. Working with people like Reik, Anuel AA, Wisin & Yandel, and J Balvin, you get to do things like film videos. So we enjoy it because that’s where we can be free to be ourselves, talk, and create. I can’t walk down the streets of Miami without getting mobbed, for example. But I can be on set with Balvin and Arcangel and feel comfortable.”
Topping his debut album:
“It wasn’t about doing something bigger or better. I don’t like to proclaim things like saying it will be better because it might or it might not. It’s just that nowadays, people demand a lot more music. It’s not how it used to be when you didn’t need to put out so much music. But I’ve learned that each week, there are new sounds, new rhythms, new technology, new artists, and you have to evolve. Odisea made an impact, but the people want more music.”
Watch the interview, which was conducted in Spanish, below.
Maluma at Billboard’s Latin Music Conference at The Venetian in Las Vegas on April 25, 2018. (Credit: Nicole Pereira)
Latin music’s popularity is at an all-time high thanks in part to artists like Bad Bunny, Maluma, and Pitbull. They, along with other Latin stars, have topped charts and sold out shows in record numbers all over the world over the past year.
Now, they’ve all gathered together in Las Vegas for the 29th annual Billboard Latin Music Week. The event, which ends Thursday night with the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards, began Monday with a three-day conference.
Among the festivities at the conference was a series of individual Q&A and panel interviews with the top artists, producers, and executives in the game. Topics included a look back at the past year, how collaborations came together, and future projects.
We put together some of the best Q&As below, most of which were conducted in Spanish. The list includes interviews by the aforementioned Bad Bunny, Maluma, and Pitbull as well as Ozuna, Maná, and songwriter Descemer Bueno.
Watch them below.
Iconic Songwriter Descemer Bueno
Nicky discusses how he knew the track was going to be a hit as soon as Balvin played it for him and that he quickly realized he needed to be a part of it. He goes on to talk about how he kept Balvin from changing the original beat then describes the meaning of his lyrics.
Watch How It Went Down above and download “X” on DJcity.
As part of their A Brief History Of series, Billboard spoke with some of the biggest names in Latin trap music to discuss the history of the genre.
Puerto Rican rapper De La Ghetto agrees, saying in the video that Bunny is “the most important trap artist right now.” Bunny was recently featured on the remix of Major Lazer‘s hit single “Know No Better.” On Friday, rising New York rapper Cardi B enlisted Messiah for a remix of her breakout hit “Bodak Yellow.”
“[Trap is] the closest expression to the streets and to the way the new generation is living,” Farruko says in the clip.
“What people were doing was a small imitation of what American artists were doing,” Bad Bunny says. “They took American hits and turned them into their songs.”
Watch A Brief History Of below.
Shakira performs live. (Flickr)
Billboard recently put together a list of the 50 greatest Latin songs of all time, taking into consideration factors like sales, innovation, and longevity. Their picks include tracks from a wide range of Latin countries and time periods, from classic Mexican ballads to recent top 40 hits. All the songs have one thing in common, though: they’re relevant.
Check out Billboard’s list below and read their article for a breakdown of each track.
50. Los del Rio, Bayside Boys – Macarena
49. Celia Cruz, Pete Seeger and more – Guantanamera
48. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Matador
47. Mocedades – Eres tu
46. Silvio Rodríguez, Luis Eduardo Aute, Mercedes Sosa, Shakira – La Maza
45. Luis Fonsi – No Me Doy Por Vencido
44. Ritchie Valens – La Bamba
43. Multiple artists – El Manisero
42. Don Omar ft. Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro
41. Selena – Amor Prohibido
40. Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo – Manteca
39. Ricardo Arjona – Mujeres
38. Various Artists – Historia de un Amor
37. Marco Antonio Solís – Si No Te Hubieras Ido
36. Carlos Vives – La Gota Fria
35. Son by Four – A Puro Dolor
34. Joe Arroyo – La Rebelion
33. Alejandro Sanz – Corazon Partió
32. Joan Manuel Serrat – Mediterráneo
31. Marc Anthony – Ahora Quien
30. Various artists – Piel Canela
29. José José – La Nave del Olvido
28. Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – Conga
27. Grupo Niche – Cali Pachanguero
26. Maná – Mariposa Traicionera
25. Shakira – Ciega, Sordomuda
24. Franco De Vita – El Buen Perdedor
23. Willie Colón – El Gran Varón
22. Héctor Lavoe – El Cantante
21. José Luis Perales – Y Cómo es el
20. Juan Gabriel – Querida
19. Joan Sebastían – Secreto de Amor
18. Juan Luis Guerra – Burbujas de Amor
17. Carlos Gardel – Volver
16. Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, others – Oye Como Va
15. José Alfredo Jiménez, Vicente Fernández – El Rey
14. Juanes – A Dios le Pido
13. Soda Stereo – Música Ligera
12. Various Artists – Granada
11. Roberto Carlos – Amigo
10. Romeo Santos – Obsesion (Aventura)
9. Daddy Yankee – Gasolina
8. Armando Manzanero – Somos Novios
7. Rubén Blades – Pedro Navaja
6. Enrique Iglesias ft. Gente de Zona & Descemer Bueno – Bailando
5. Various artists – El Dia Que Me Quieras
4. Ricky Martin – Livin la Vida Loca
3. Various artists – Besame Mucho
2. Dámaso Perez Prado and others – Mambo No. 5
1. Various artists – Esta tarde vi llover
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Related: Justin Bieber and J Balvin Team for Latino Remix of ‘Sorry’
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