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To say Bad Bunny has had a meteoric rise in the music scene over the last few years doesn’t quite do justice to what the Puerto Rican reggaetonero has accomplished.
A nimble performer, an eclectic style icon, and an all-around accomplished musical artist, the 26-year-old singer and songwriter has had an enviable 2020. He’s landed the cover of Rolling Stone, won a Latin GRAMMY and two Billboard Music Awards. Earlier this year he released two critically acclaimed albums (YHLQMDLG and Las que no iban a salir), and even found time to record a third album, proving why he’s one of the biggest global music stars right now.
Bad Bunny’s last album of 2020 was also his most successful. El Último Tour del Mundo (The Last Tour of the World) hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart, making it the first all-Spanish language album to do so. In an interview with ET, Bad Bunny described his latest album as “dark,” but admitted that working on it was a “relief” amid quarantine.
"This album [has] more feeling. It's more sadness and heartbroken," he explained, contrasting it with YHLQMDLG, which was released in February, and Las que no iban a salir, which dropped in May.
"I love it. It's like, a part of me," he added. "100% [this album helped my mental health]. This is like, a relief for me because I was quarantined ... the only thing that I had was the music, and so eso me mantuvo vivo como digo yo."
Here are nine essential Bad Bunny songs that should make any playlist.
Bad Bunny's latest finds him reteaming with Jhay Cortez for a decidedly relaxed if still thumping vibe in "Dakiti." The kind of song that would have had us all dancing and singing along at a club, “Dakiti” has an electronic sound that blends all too well with its reggaeton sensibility. Released on Oct. 30, the song debuted at number nine on the U.S. Billboard 100 as well as number one on the Hot Latin Songs Chart, a first in the charts' history.
"Yo Perreo Sola"
Dreamed up by Benito as an anthem for those who wish to dance (or, rather, “twerk”) alone, the YHLQMDLG single found him taking his message even further with the video, where he donned a tight red vinyl miniskirt and matching thigh-high boots -- as well as a fully beaten mug. The song gained further exposure with a remix featuring Nesi and Ivy Queen.
Featuring vocals by Ricky Martin, this 2018 single playfully offers an inspiring message about the inherent value we all have. Already playing around with gender performance, the video for "Caro" had him getting a manicure before being replaced by model Jazmyne, who sported Benito’s shaved head and mimicked his every move during the video.
The second single from Bad Bunny's first album, 2018's X 100pre, was a collaboration with Canadian rapper Drake. It was also the very first of Benito's songs to enter the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The hit single finds the two artists singing about a woman that all may adore but who promised them was all theirs: “Dile que tú eres mía, mía. Tú sabe' que eres mía, mía.”
The first single Bad Bunny released following X 100pre was a collaboration with fellow Puerto Rican producer Tainy. Like many other Benito songs, “Callaíta” found the Boricua singers dreaming up a woman with their lyrics who, as the song’s title suggests, may be (or may well have been) the quiet type but who now is nothing short of the life of the party.
Bad Bunny's ability to use his vulnerability as inspiration for his lyrics is perhaps best displayed in "Estamos Bien." A response to his meteoric rise to fame as well as a way to honor those affected by Hurricane María, as he did during his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the uptempo Latin trap beat was a chance for Bad Bunny to reassure everyone that he's good and that everyone else will be as well.
In many ways, "Amorfoda" is an outlier among Benito's discography. Away from the Latin trap and reggaeton beats that characterize his most successful hits, this 2018 single is instead a sweeping piano ballad about heartbreak, aptly released following Valentine’s Day. Raw and rightly focused on Bad Bunny’s tender vocals, the song is a peek into a different side of the singer.
As the entirety of this list attests, Bad Bunny’s artistry has nurtured many fruitful collaborations. Case in point: this single off of the collaborative Oasis album, where Bunny and fellow reggaetonero superstar J Balvin sing about that nostalgic feeling you get when you hear a song that captures an entire relationship. The crooning beat is visually echoed in its video which find Balvin and Bunny singing at an old-school dance club.
“I Like It”
No list of Bad Bunny hits would be complete without this Cardi B banger. Sampling the 1960s classic "I Like It Like That", which had been revived in the 1990s, this Cardi hit (also featuring J Balvin) was the perfect blend of old and new, ushering in with aplomb the arrival of three powerhouse performers in full command of their artistic powers.