Art Credits: Osmany Morales
Written by: Andrea Terrero
Apple Music’s Artist of the Year.
Spotify’s most streamed artist.
How the hell did a grocery bagger from Puerto Rico turn into a global icon?
Love him or hate him, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, also known as Bad Bunny, has taken over the world. He has globalized reggaeton, establishing his throne in the music industry. Whether it’s his experimentation with femininity, his flow, his physical appearance, or a combination of all three, he had just the right elements to become a global superstar.
In a genre filled with repetitive lyrics and trajectories, Bad Bunny feels like a breath of fresh air. While maintaining his essence as a reggaetonero, he stepped out of his comfort zone and experimented with other genres. From his first album, x100pre, to his latest, Un Verano Sin Ti, his discography is varied, including merengue, rock, electronic music, and indie. He can no longer be classified as just a reggaeton artist. Whether he is singing about heartbreak to a slow piano, rapping to a trap beat, or singing in Japanese, Bad Bunny can successfully bring any genre, topic, or language to the stage and make it a hit.
Yet, his stardom extends beyond music. He has cemented himself as a fashion icon by
breaking gender norms and playing around with all sorts of different styles. Rather than accepting reggaeton’s toxic masculinity, he has defied it and has gained international fame because of it. From rocking a plaid skirt for a concert in Puerto Rico to heels and a dress for a Jacquemus fashion campaign, Bad Bunny has ignored the machista comments of his critics and has continued to dress unlike any reggaetonero before him. Opening the doors for more artists and Latin men to feel comfortable exploring their feminine side, Bad Bunny was exactly what reggaeton and Hispanic culture needed. He had the courage to step into a genre defined by its machismo and shatter its “rules.”
Furthermore, he has not been afraid to advocate for the rights of women, LGBTQ+ folks, and his people (Puerto Ricans). “Andrea,” for instance, is a song about a victim of domestic abuse who was killed by her boyfriend, who she tried to sue in Puerto Rico to no avail; it has resonated with those women who are victims of misogyny and harassment. Another such song is “Yo Perreo Sola,” a feminist classic that empowers women by emphasizing that they don’t need a man to dance with. Furthermore, he has brought attention to the crisis occurring in Puerto Rico through his music video for “El Apagón,” demonstrating the rampant gentrification Puerto Ricans are experiencing. Not to mention, in a performance on “The Tonight Show,” Bad Bunny paid tribute to a trans woman who was brutally murdered in his home country. In a genre that is so homophobic and misogynistic, he has made sure people hear about the many injustices occurring in the capital of perreo.
Time and time again, Benito has shown that he wants to be more than just a singer or a rapper. He does not wish to be stuck in a box without freedom to explore or experiment. And for those that don’t like it, remember, el hace lo que le da la gana.