Bad Bunny folk artist first and a pop artist second

ask any young Puerto Ricans where they were and who they were with when Bad Bunny dropped their debut album back in 2018. It was Christmas Eve, and for many, it was a gift to their island.

I was in a car in Puerto Rico when I first heard “X 100PRE,” trembling with excitement like a child. Within seconds, my friend who was driving stopped at a parking spot so we could fully enjoy the rhythm of each song, diving into the lyrics that appear to be coded specifically for the island people. .

Since then, listening to their albums on the night of their release has become a ritual. I heard “Un Verano Sin Ti” alone in bed. “YHLQMDLG” was a community event; I hosted a listening party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so my Puerto Rican friends and I could eat the album together and evaluate all the tracks in detail. Despite Bad Bunny’s rise to the mainstream, these memories resonate because his work has always represented something different for our community.

“For those of us who are expatriates, his music is a way to connect with home. “When I was living on the island, I mention the places I used to visit,” said Aurora Santiago Ortiz, assistant professor of Latinx studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Scholars and teen TikTokers alike express a sense of intimacy with music, which speaks to us only as a local can.

One of his early hits, “Tu no met’s cabra,” in particular, serves as a kind of prophecy: “La nueva dharma, yo soy la nueva era” (New religion, I am the new age). For Puerto Ricans, Bad Bunny has served as a cultural touchstone, but for the world now, he’s a ubiquitous pop icon. Man Everywhere You Look: Billboards, Awards Ceremony, Magazine Covers and hollywood, Hundreds of fans of all races signed his heart on their body To celebrate a new album.

Bad Bunny performs at RingCentral Coliseum on September 14, 2022 in Oakland, California.  is a rapper "Writing a historical account of what we are feeling and seeing today," The author writes.
Bad Bunny performs at RingCentral Coliseum on September 14, 2022 in Oakland, California. The rapper is “a historical account of what we are feeling and seeing today,” the authors write.

Steve Jennings/Getty Images

During the past year, while the whole world has been mesmerized by Bad Bunny, he has been streaming unbelievable numbers — all especially when speaking P speakinguerto Rican Spanish, retaining a significant part of its identity.

“I always knew I could be a huge artist without changing my culture, my dialect, and my language. I’m Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, from Puerto Rico to the world,” Bad Bunny told MTV’s Video Music Awards After being named Artist of the Year.

Growing up, I was made to realize that Puerto Rican Spanish – notable for its combination of Taino (Indigenous) and Spanish Sounds Afrikaans pronunciation—such as “Ru”—often pronounced as “Ls”—was inferior compared to other Spanish-speaking countries. To see a Caribbean dialect once stigmatized by both Latinos and non-Latinos is huge to be part of the mainstream cultural fabric. It’s a signal to the younger generation that you don’t really need to change who you want to fit in, as other artists have done in the past.

For us, Bad Bunny would never pop. He is a cultural storyteller, a modern-day folk artist who describes the complexity of La Puerto Ricanidad. See, Boricua culture is considered too American for the rest of Latin America and Latinos are considered part of American society, a dualism that makes it challenging. To navigate life in and out of the island. Mixed identities are often viewed as too much and not enough at the same time, which takes a toll on our self-worth. Bad Bunny’s words and swagger make us feel at our most powerful and weak. aAlthough his music resonates globally, htalking about e la bregaWhich only Borichuas can really understand because we have experienced it.

To me, the lyrics to the songs “Como Antes” and “Estamos bien” are unmistakably boricua and evoke a certain nostalgia for people who grew up in the ’90s. The latter’s lyrics – “La mercedes en pr cogiendo Boquet” – describe the countless potholes the streets of Puerto Rico are notorious for. The line is reminiscent of the island’s substandard infrastructure, a sign of neglect by the larger US system.

Also in “Estamos bien”, he raps “Pa’ casa no ha lega’o la luz”, describing the everyday reality of incredible lightning, which is perceived by the powers as a luxury rather than a basic necessity. considered higher. The song sounds particularly poignant this week, as the island, currently without power, is off the reels. Hurricane Fiona outbreak,

In the same song – a track that sparks fury and joy – Bad Bunny raps about “Las peles de boxio, to’ los party de pereo”. Growing up in Puerto Rico, three events were regarded as a national celebration and a cause for unity regardless of one’s circumstances: any sporting event where our own representation is La Isla – in this case, boxer Tito. Trinidad; Miss Universe contest; and of course, party de marquesina, For us, partying is a revolutionary act of resistance, regardless of the circumstances.

For us, Bad Bunny would never pop. He is a cultural storyteller, a modern-day folk artist who describes the complexity of La Puerto Ricanidad.

While Bad Bunny tells the world of our struggles and successes, we are the only Puerto Ricans who can process the nuances of his stories.

David Hernandez, a music industry executive in Miami, said, “He is one of the few artists who speaks unapologetically about their culture and identity in their music, even when others may understand him or his references. ” “The world may not understand most of it butE don’t care. On top of that, people really learn them to understand him.”

In this way, Bad Bunny is our ambassador to the world.

Written in the midst of frequent blackouts in Puerto Rico, Bad Bunny’s recent addition to the island, “El Apagon”, follows a generation fed up with the difficulties of dealing with a crumbling infrastructure and an incompetent government while living in a tropical paradise. Works as an anthem. this is duality “Puerto Rico Esta Bien Cabrón,” One The prime example of this balance between enjoying life’s simplest pleasures—love, sex, going to the beach, partying—and teetering on the edge of social decadence.

The lyrics of this song are not just a cry for the defense of the country; It is folk music. In addition to being the voice of a generation, Bad Bunny elevates the conversation of a particular community within Latin America, which has lived through an economic collapse, survived Hurricane Maria, earthquakes and political corruption. This is a generation that has been denied opportunities and, often, a unified voice.

“Often when we think of folk music, we think of ‘El Topo’ or ‘La Canción Protesta.’ Melendez-Badillo, assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history, said. “Bad Bunny is a Puerto Rican music from 2006, when the current economic crisis began. [He’s a] A reflection of the reality of Puerto Ricans, and their music today is a sonic collection about Puerto Ricans – even when he’s ‘talking’door tabla,

The artists themselves clearly agree. “I never made a song thinking, ‘Man, this is for the world. It’s meant to capture the gringo audience.’ Never. On the contrary, I make up songs like only Puerto Ricans are going to listen to them,” Bad Bunny recently told writer Carina Chocano gq interview, “I still feel like I’m making music there, and that’s for Puerto Ricans. I forget that the whole world listens to me.”

Throughout the island’s history, Puerto Ricans have used various musical styles to express their frustration with the systems that repress them. Salsa drew attention to discrimination and poverty within the Nuyorican community, Bombay has historically played a role in the island’s protest movements, as has Plena, which originated as a way to read the daily news and often satirize local politicians. Has happened. It later became an important part of the expression of the community, known today as the “newspaper of our people”. Reggaeton, many might argue, has been a political tool since its inception.

The bad bunny may not be using the traditional instruments of gyro and cuatro or reciting the decima. But he is writing a historical account of what we are feeling and seeing today. when I was growing up en la islaMy parents took me to festivals at the local plaza to see our Trovadores, With that intention, I know I’ll be playing Bad Bunny’s “Andrea” for my future kids.

Like Planeros, Bad Bunny, the eldest son of a truck driver father and a schoolteacher mother, is a gibbero from Vega Baja. and that chamaquito Now getting old – and exporting – our culture around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *