Bad Bunny isn’t any stranger to success. His debut album, “X 100PRE,” cracked the top 50 of the Billboard 200 when it came out in 2018 — a time earlier than his recognition demanded his music movies comprise English subtitles. His follow-up album, “YHLQMDLG,” has been certified 24x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (cue the subtitles) and nonetheless stands as perhaps his most unadulteratedly heavy-hitting album. But along with his newest launch, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” the gender-fluid Puerto Rican iconoclast has cemented himself not simply as the largest artist in reggaeton, however as one of many largest stars on the planet. And that star exhibits no indicators of dimming.
To say Bad dropped “Un Verano Sin Ti” on a Friday in May does not do the discharge justice. Even earlier than the album’s launch date was formally introduced, music heads all over the place have been salivating on the prospect of a handful of recent warm-weather anthems to bump to. Bad had been teasing the disc throughout social media as “one thing to play on the seashore.” So, with the prospect of what felt like the primary actual post-pandemic summer season on the horizon, followers already had their antennae up, ready for any phrase.
That phrase got here through a short Instagram reel on May 2. Four days later, on May 6, “Un Verano Sin Ti” was formally launched and promptly broke all the things—information, the web, and the collective hearts of titís world wide. On the day of its launch, the album was streamed virtually 146 million instances. Within a month, it could set the record for single-month streams with two billion. It would then go on to turn out to be the fastest album to hit six billion streams on Spotify. And it is nonetheless going sturdy. As of October, “Un Verano Sin Ti” has spent 18 weeks at either No. 1 or No. 2 on the Billboard 200 — probably the most for any report since Billboard began its chart rating system in 1956.
So, how does Bad do it? How does a child from a tiny island within the Caribbean — the place the electrical grid is about as reliable as a bucket with the underside reduce out (¡Pa’ fuera, LUMA!) — crack the success code and high the charts in nations just like the Netherlands and Switzerland along with the US and Canada? Well, a part of it’s timing. “He did this purposely,” says Jesus Trivino, the senior director of Global Latin at TIDAL. Trevino is accountable for something that has to do with the Latin style on the platform, from playlisting to liaising with artists and all the things in between. Since the launch of “Un Verano Sin Ti,” he is seen Bad hovering among the many high artists throughout TIDAL and different digital service suppliers, and he expects Bad will end out the yr within the high spot. And whereas Bad’s recognition is just about a year-round form of factor, like summer season in Puerto Rico, Trevino attributes a lot of the unprecedented success of the artist’s newest album to the timeliness of its launch.
“With ‘Un Verano Sin Ti,’ [Bad] was saying, ‘I would like you to have this.’ We have been popping out of quarantine, popping out of this international disaster. ‘I would like you to recollect the nice instances, to create your personal good instances with this album.’ I believe that is actually what it’s,” Trevino provides.
Indeed, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown sucked the air out of the world. In cities across the globe, quarantine and social-distancing protocols had us all functioning in an existential vacuum. But after two years of vaccines, boosters, and false begins, the prospect of the primary actual summer season since 2019 had individuals from Puerto Rico to Poland able to let free. And “Un Verano Sin Ti” was the right album for it. Over 23 tracks, Bad navigates a variety of genres from merengue (“Después de la Playa”) to Bossa Nova (“Yo No Soy Celoso”) to basic reggaeton (“Efecto”) to Soca (“Enseñame a Bailar”) and extra. It’s an album made for the seashore, for the barbecue, for these velvet summer season nights, and the magic of three a.m. But greater than something, it is an album made for the Caribbean and for Caribbean individuals, which makes its worldwide success much more astonishing.
“I see this album as a love letter to Caribbean Latinos.”
“I see this album as a love letter to Caribbean Latinos,” Trevino says. “Everything it offers with, it is undoubtedly an album for Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, and anybody that has tropical blood.” But it wasn’t simply post-pandemic fever that put such a region-specific album on the trail to turning into the largest album of the yr. Trevino thinks the larger issue is Bad Bunny himself and the way he represents the evolution of each reggaeton and Latin tradition. “I noticed a tweet that stated the distinction between Harry Styles and Bad Bunny is that Bad Bunny can do ‘Watermelon Sugar’ however Harry Styles cannot do ‘Tití Me Preguntó,'” says Trevino. “And it is spot on. And the fantastic thing about it’s that reggaeton is such part of the popular culture cloth now, like the worldwide popular culture cloth, that you do not see [Bad] as reggaetonero or a rapper anymore. You see him as a pop star.”
It’s true. Bad is a pop star. But he is the uncommon breed of pop star that manages to transcend his style whereas nonetheless staying true to its roots. This yr, he is nominated for 10 Latin Grammys throughout seven classes, certainly one of which is “album of the yr.” If he wins, he would be the first reggaeton/urbano act to take residence the highest prize since Calle 13 in 2011. But the socially aware, hyperexperimental, sound that Calle 13 had cultivated all the time leaned closely into various. If Bad Bunny wins, he’ll do it as a pure reggaetonero, with an album that has individuals world wide singing in Spanish and getting just a bit style of what it feels wish to be Caribbean. But greater than that, he can be kicking down a door for a brand new technology of artists.
“He can carry the style for so long as he needs to,” says Trevino. “And the fantastic thing about that’s that he is so open to working with new artists that he’ll discover the ‘subsequent’ Bad Bunny. For him to cosign somebody like Villano Antillano, who’s a tremendous artist in her personal proper, it is game-changing,” he continues.
“Un Verano Sin Ti” is greater than only a profitable album — it solidifies Bad Bunny because the ambassador for the style of reggaeton, carrying it on his shoulders whereas on the similar time pushing the boundaries of what has been accepted inside it. And on the finish of the day, that is one thing each artists and followers alike can all profit from.