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Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny does not quite live up to the hype

By Carolina Valdez

Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny is a megastar in the music industry whose success relies heavily on the efforts of others. Bad Bunny is also a fashion icon and, according to Ricky Martin, a “queer icon” for the Latin community. It is his image, his connections, and public persona that sells his bland music.

Bad Bunny is a perfectly crafted machine with a team of producers and PR personnel that keep him squeaky clean. Of course, he is not the only artist that is guilty of this as all. A-list celebrities have large teams, but Bad Bunny’s art this past year has been lacking the shine he started out with.

Bad Bunny made the ambitious feat of releasing three albums in 2020. This move marks where his stardom began to fade. Much of his music’s success relies on the production of the beats and instrumentals of his music. In “Afterglow,” a publication for the University of Texas in Austin, Alany Rodriguez explained the success of Bad Bunny’s latest album, “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo,” that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 albums ranking.

“Whether the meaning behind Spanish lyrics is understood by English-speaking audiences or not, it is evident that sound stands at the heart of these multi-cultural alliances,” Rodriguez said.

People love the overall sound of his music, something that cannot be entirely credited to the rapper’s talents. Another crutch for his success is his use of featured artists. Bad Bunny told Apple Music that he made a conscious choice to limit his featured artists on “El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo” because he wanted to “demonstrate versatility and bring something fresh to the fans.” Despite this, “Dákiti” and “La Noche de Anoche,” two of the only three songs on the album that feature an artist, are also the most popular.

“‘Dákiti’ is a cool song but when I listen to it, I find myself ignoring most of the words and waiting for the chorus. I really only like the beat,” fellow UHD Gator Yesenia Luviano said.

The appearance of Spanish singer Rosalia in “La Noche de Anoche” is the only reason I like that song. Collaborations are a staple in Latin hip-hop and pop music, especially in recent years as more crossovers are happening, but both artists should carry the song. It may be Bad Bunny’s song, but Rosalia does the heavy lifting.

Overall, Bad Bunny is a very likeable celebrity and perhaps that is why he is so beloved by music fans. His Instagram account documents his fashion evolution over the years as he became a force to be reckoned with. His use of eccentric sunglasses and painted nails set him apart from other male rappers as he stepped outside of gender-normative fashion.

He has also been a vocal LGBTQ+ ally since the murder of Alexa Negrón Luciano, a homeless transgender woman in Puerto Rico last year. He wore a shirt that translates​ to: “They killed Alexa, not a man in a skirt” for his performance on “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” and he dressed in drag for his “Yo Perreo Sola” music video.

These choices brought him much praise from his fans but not without backlash about his allyship being performative. André Wheeler wrote in the Guardian about the issues with a straight man being labeled as a “gay icon.” Wheeler stated that audiences should be more skeptical about praising celebrities that make certain moves that, “lead to higher record sales and Twitter trending topics.”

“If Bad Bunny really wanted to dispel homophobia within reggaeton music, he would use his large platform to feature the queer and trans artists that are frequently silenced and ignored within the genre,” Wheeler stated in his article.

Bad Bunny is a façade of all things cool. His career is carefully calculated, and he has put on such a performance of likeability that his music does not have to be good anymore. His lackluster music, his reliance on superior artists, and his performative LGBTQ+ allyship is why I think he is overrated.

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Last updated 11/5/2021 7:06 AM