Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1VR1sJMtl8e9ph14hET7EA
[“¿Quien Tu Eres?,” by Bad Bunny]
Natalia & Maria: Hello!
Maria: Welcome to Guatever! I’m Maria Caamaño.
Natalia: And I’m Natalia Camino.
Maria: And today we're finally getting around to doing a podcast episode on Bad Bunny!
Natalia: Unless you've been living under a rock, you are probably aware that Bad Bunny released his second album called…
Natalia & Maria: Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana.
Maria: Which translates to: I do what I want.
Natalia: Whatever I want. Which is iconic because no one can release an album on that date for another four years because it was a leap day.
Maria: Yeah, but that's like the type of stuff he does.
Natalia: I love him.
Maria: I love him so much!
Natalia: So the release of his album was the biggest debut of 2020 so far. And as of right now, Bad Bunny is in the Top 25 Most Listened To Artists on Spotify worldwide, which is very impressive…
Maria: And just proves his power.
Natalia: I love him. So we're going to break up this episode into like two parts. First, we're going to talk about who he is and the impact he has had on Latin America.
Maria: And the next is just talking about his album.
Natalia: Obviously, we won't get through his entire album because…
Maria: There are 20 songs.
Natalia: So we will pick and choose some of our favorites. So to fully understand why we love Bad Bunny, you need to understand that Maria and I are roommates because of him.
Maria: Literally. So, *clears throat* let me get started.
Maria: So basically, when I was looking for a roommate at Northwestern, there is always a Facebook group for the incoming class. And I posted in the girls’ group looking for roommates that I was looking for one and I put like, “Oh, one of my favorite artists is Bad Bunny.” And then I got a message from someone…
Natalia: I commented, “OMG! I like Bad Bunny too!”
Maria: And then, literally because of this, we started DM-ing and became roommates.
Natalia: We will not read that conversation. It is a very awkward conversation. It has words...
Maria: It was very cringey.
Natalia: It was super cringey. There are words like proposal. And we talked about chairs a lot.
Maria: We did talk a lot about chairs. But that’s kind of like our energy, so it makes sense.
Natalia: So we're just gonna take a quick moment and appreciate…
Maria: What Bad Bunny has done for us. Benito…
Natalia: This is for you.
Maria: This friendship is because of you.
Natalia: Look at what you've created. So who is he? His full name is Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio.
Maria: He was born in Vega Baja in Puerto Rico. And he rose to fame really, or at least I remember, that he rose to fame mostly because of his song “Diles” and “Soy Peor.”
Natalia: Over the past few years he's risen to fame, mostly due to the support of Puerto Rican and Dominican audiences. And he kind of touches on this on the last track on his new album, where he says…
Maria: Gracia' a to' mis domi y a mi gente en Puerto Rico. Cada cosa que logro a ustede' se la' dedico. Which translates to “Thank you to my Dominicans and my people in Puerto Rico, everything I do, I dedicate to you.”
Natalia: But he has shown his gratitude to the people of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in various ways. So on his last album X100PRE, which was his first solo album, he has a song called “La Romana”. Which I'm … So Maria is laughing because for spring break I am going to la República Dominicana, and we are going to La Romana. Because it is a place.
Maria: So La Romana is in the coast of the DR, and it’s literally known for just being a place to go to the beach…
Natalia: I’m going there for spring break. And I've been practicing my Dominican accent. Utede no tan listo. ¡He estado practicando mi acento dominicano! (Translation: Y’all are not ready. I’ve been practicing my Dominican accent!)
Maria: Oh my God. It's like, it's so funny to me. This is so funny to me. She's made a list of what I say in Spanish to try and imitate it. And I find it hilarious.
Natalia: I'm trying my best. I'm dropping the S’s like it's nobody's business but in reality, it takes a lot of mental effort.
Maria: The entire point of dropping the S’s is so that you don't have to make any effort…
Natalia: Utede no tan listo para cuando yo vaya a la República Dominicana. (Translation: Y’all are not ready for when I go to the Dominican Republic.)
Maria: But yes, basically … I appreciate him so much. He recently tweeted in support of Dominicans because right now there's a lot of political tension going on due to the suspension of municipal elections in DR. I won't really get into that right now.
Natalia: Maria wrote an article about it.
Maria: We have to acknowledge that he's very supportive. But then he's also amazing. He uses his platform so well, to advocate and like to show support for Puerto Rico.
Natalia: Yeah, so in his new album there's a song called “P FKN R,” in which he kind of talks about how – it's not clear if he's talking about the U.S. government or the Puerto Rican more local government. But essentially in the song, he's like, “Hey, why do you talk all this talk and then not act on it?” The people in Puerto Rico are suffering. And so in 2018, when he went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he called out the Trump administration and said after one year of the hurricane, there are still people without electricity in their homes. This was after Hurricane Maria. And he said that more than 3,000 people died and Trump is still in denial. And this was a very personal issue for him because his family home – like where his parents live – was still running on three generators one year after Hurricane Maria. And so this kind of just shows how he really uses his platform.
Maria: Also, on July 22 of 2019, he headed the protests against Ricardo Roselló and he advocated like for his resignation. So, he, Ricky Martin and Residente.. were the ones who took to the streets and were actually protesting with people. And he posted so much about it. And I think that because of that, he got so much attention from other people who did not know what was going on.
Natalia: Bad Bunny definitely uses his album to raise awareness of issues in Puerto Rico because Puerto Rico's mostly forgotten by the American public because it's not considered a state – it’s essentially a colony. And so many times, it's forgotten and neglected by the US government. And so he raises awareness of some of the issues.
Maria: And also he is an advocate for just people raising their voices and fighting for what they believe in and fighting for democracy, which I think is something that's so great about him.
Natalia: Also, on his first album X100PRE, he had a song called “Solo de Mi”, which – if you listen to the first half – it's very melancholy and then picks up to be more upbeat. But the first half – also the first half of the music video for that song – is very obviously about domestic violence, which is not talked about in Latin America or even American society in general. It's not something that is talked about, and for a male Latin artist to talk about this is unheard of. It is a very taboo subject. And for him to bring it up because it does happen.
Maria: Oh, for sure.
Natalia: It happens everywhere. And for an artist to do this is truly powerful.
Maria: Yeah. Also recently, he had his Late Night debut with Jimmy Fallon in the US and he wore a shirt that said: “They killed Alexa, not a man with a skirt.” Alexa was a transgender woman in Puerto Rico who was ridiculed and killed, and when people in the media were talking about it, they would refer to Alexa as a man in a skirt. And so his shirt says, “They killed Alexa, not a man with a skirt” to kind of say like call her by her name, first of all, and then…
Natalia & Maria: He wore a skirt!
Natalia: Because HE is a man in a skirt!
Maria: This man. Yes because … UGH I love him so much! Also, he's the only man who can pull off Crocs. Unpopular opinion.
Natalia: Not even man just ... human … who can pull off crocs.
Natalia: Yeah. And so, after all this and him going so much against social norms and social constructs, you’d think that Bad Bunny wouldn't be a popular artist – especially in Latin America where most of his audience is Latin males.
Maria: Yeah. And machismo is so prevalent in like Latin America that you would think that they wouldn't be like...
Natalia: They wouldn’t support his music. But that's not the case at all. If not, he's just gained more and more popularity.
Maria: And he's breaking those boundaries because personally, I've seen it myself. I have a friend who, after Bad Bunny started painting his nails, he started painting his nails. Which is something that is unheard of in the Dominican Republic. Literally unheard of for a guy to be proud of wearing nail polish. That is something that is unheard of, and I really saw … He was like “Oh, I want to paint my nails like Bad Bunny!” And I really saw firsthand his power.
Natalia: Yeah, he is an influencer in both contemporary Latin music, but also in fashion and gender norms and all these things.
Maria: Literally he does so much we can't really get into everything he does. I totally recommend to read an article in which he talks about sexual orientation. Y’all should read it. Yep, that's it.
Natalia: So, yes. We love Bad Bunny.
Maria: We love Benito.
Maria: This has been Maria Caamaño and Natalia Camino for NBN Audio.
[“¿Quien Tu Eres?,” by Bad Bunny]