Puerto Rican trap rapper Bad Bunny is an undeniable phenomenon. He’s already hit the Billboard Top 100 with his collaboration with Cardi B and J Balvin on the summer banger “I Like It,” and he’s basically creating a whole new style, of music and fashion with his unique style. Top it all off with a rabid social media following who hang on every tweet and Instagram post, waiting for the latest pearl of woke wisdom or cool, gender-bending outfit and you have the makings of a Gen X superstar.
The Latin waves in music have come and gone, but what’s happening now feels different because artists like Bad Bunny and J. Balvin are making it huge on mainstream music channels and still singing in Spanish. They are also bringing their culture to the forefront, you rarely see Bad Bunny not repping his native island HARD. That’s why it was super exciting to see his new cover feature in The Fader‘s fashion issue for September. And it makes sense why so many young people find his music so relatable. “My songs are always a mix of things I feel and think, things that I know are happening, things that have happened to friends, things that I know personally, he says. “When it comes down to it, when I talk about me I’m not talking about a huge difference [from the general public], because I know what it is to be a normal kid, I know what life is like for young people.”
And this is just the beginning for el conejo malo, he’s met monster levels of success and embarked on a sold out world tour this past summer… all without releasing a full album! “In two years I’ve turned into a star, and that tells me that I can do a lot, he admits. “My only goal here is that the people will always remember my music and that they enjoy my music 10 years, 20 years from now. That people have great memories of these songs, and that they won’t die. For real. I’m ready to make songs that don’t die.”
His ambitions to make timeless music are just a part of what makes him who he is. He feels a deep responsibility to his hometown to represent, but he’s never going to stop being who he is, even if that makes other people uncomfortable and it comes across in everything from the thoughts he shares on relationship dynamics on Twitter, to his insistence on rocking girl’s sunglasses.
“When I land [in Vega Baja], it feels super dope, but it’s also a responsibility — people expect the best from you, Bad Bunny says of his hometown in Puerto Rico. “That’s why, every time, I try to be like, I am just me. I’m being me, and if what I am [is what] you like, well, good. If not, there will be someone else who will come and do that for y’all.”
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