Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio[a] (born March 10, 1994), known professionally as Bad Bunny, is a Puerto Rican rapper and singer.[5] He is known as the "King of Latin Trap".[3][6] Bad Bunny is the first non-English language act to be Spotify's most streamed artist of the year, and led the list from 2020 to 2022.[7] He holds the second biggest streaming year of any artist in Spotify history, generating over 18.5 billion streams in 2022.[8][9] As of December 2023, his album Un Verano Sin Ti is the most streamed album on Spotify with over 14 billion streams.

Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny in October 2019
Born
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio

(1994-03-10) March 10, 1994 (age 29)
Occupations
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
  • professional wrestler
Years active2013–present[4][5]
WorksDiscography
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
Instrument(s)Vocals
Labels
Websitenadiesabeloquevaapasarmanana.com

Born and raised in Vega Baja, his 2016 song "Diles", led to a recording contract with Hear This Music. He went on to release songs such as "Soy Peor" and collaborate with Farruko, Karol G, Ozuna, and J Balvin.[3] His 2018 single "Mia" featuring Drake and appearing on Cardi B's single "I Like It" alongside J Balvin, topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[10] Bad Bunny's debut studio album, X 100pre (2018), peaked at number 11 on the U.S. Billboard 200,[11] while his collaborative album with J Balvin, Oasis (2019), reached the top-ten.[12] His second solo album, YHLQMDLG (2020), became the highest-charting all-Spanish album to appear on the Billboard 200 at the time.[13] It was followed up with the compilation album Las que no iban a salir (2020).[14]

El Último Tour Del Mundo (2020), Bad Bunny's third solo album, became the first all-Spanish language album to top the Billboard 200.[15] Its lead single, "Dákiti", reached the top-ten of the Hot 100. His fourth solo album, Un Verano Sin Ti (2022), spent 13 weeks atop the Billboard 200 and spawned various commercially successful singles.[16] It is the first Spanish-language album to be nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.[17] Throughout his career, Bad Bunny has earned three Grammy Awards, four Latin Grammy Awards, eight Billboard Music Awards, and thirteen Lo Nuestro Awards. He was crowned Artist of the Year by Apple Music in 2022.[18]

Outside of music, Bad Bunny performs in professional wrestling. He began making appearances on WWE programming in 2021 and made his in-ring debut at WrestleMania 37. He is a one-time WWE 24/7 Champion and has wrestled at the 2022 Royal Rumble and the 2023 Backlash pay-per-view events.

Early life

Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio was born on March 10, 1994, and raised in the Almirante Sur barrio of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, United States.[1][2][3] His father, Tito Martínez, was a truck driver, and his mother, Lysaurie Ocasio, is a retired schoolteacher.[19][20] His parents had often listened to genres such as salsa, merengue, and pop ballads.[1][21][22][3] He has two younger brothers, Bernie and Bysael.[20] He has said, "I wasn't the kid who got involved in the streets. I liked to be at home with my family."[23]

As a child, he attended church weekly with his devoutly Catholic mother and sang in the church choir until age 13. After leaving the choir, he developed an interest in the artists he heard on the radio, particularly Daddy Yankee and Héctor Lavoe.[20] His stage name originally came from a time in which he was forced to wear a bunny costume and was angry about it.[21]

Speaking about the Puerto Rican music industry, he stated, "I'm from Vega Baja, a small area that's not a metropolis like San Juan where the majority of the genre's artists have come from."[24]

Music career

2013–2017: Early career beginnings

He started to write and create his own interpretations at the age of 14,[25] until, in 2013, he began to publish his songs through SoundCloud, including "Get" in 2013, "Tentación" in 2014, "Just let me know" in 2015, among others.[26] In 2016, his song "Diles" caught the attention of DJ Luian from SoundCloud who signed him to his record label, Hear this Music.[5][27][28][29][30] His single "Soy Peor" reached number 19 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.[31] Bad Bunny's May 2017 collaboration with Karol G, "Ahora Me Llama", reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.[32][33] It was listed on "Alt.Latino's Favorites: The Songs Of 2017" as one of the best Latin songs of 2017.[33]

In the summer of 2017, Bad Bunny signed a booking deal with Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN) for several Latin American countries.[34] Starting in November 2017, Bad Bunny hosted Beats 1's first Spanish-language show, Trap Kingz.[35][36] The remix of "Te Boté" with Ozuna and Nicky Jam reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs chart.[37]

2018–2019: Major breakthrough, X 100pre, and Oasis

 
Bad Bunny performing in Ecuador in September 2018

In May 2018, American rapper Cardi B released a collaboration with Bad Bunny and J Balvin, "I Like It".[36][38] On October 11, 2018, Bad Bunny released "Mia" with Drake,[39][40] which reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.[41]

Bad Bunny released his debut album X 100pre on December 24, 2018, on Christmas Eve 2018 on Rimas Entertainment.[42] At Metacritic, X 100pre received an average score of 84 based on five reviews.[43][44] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian praised Bad Bunny's "off-kilter creativity".[44]

In 2020, X 100pre was voted 447th in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[45]

On June 28, 2019, Bad Bunny released Oasis, an eight-song collaborative album with J Balvin.[46] It peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100[47] and topped the Billboard US Latin Albums chart.[48] In July 2019, he joined protests against governor Ricardo Rosselló.[49] Bad Bunny and Residente released "Afilando Los Cuchillos" ("Sharpening the knives") during the demonstrations.[50]

2020–2021: YHLQMDLG, Las que no iban a salir, and El Último Tour Del Mundo

In February 2020, Bad Bunny was a guest performer at the Super Bowl LIV halftime show, headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.[51] Bad Bunny announced the album YHLQMDLG on February 27, 2020, during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and stated that it would be released on Leap Day 2020, namely February 29.[52][53] The album's title stands for "Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana" (Spanish for "I Do What I Want") and features collaborations with Daddy Yankee, Yaviah, Jowell & Randy, Ñengo Flow, among other artist.[53][54]

YHLQMDLG debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, becoming the highest-charting all-Spanish album ever on the chart at the time.[55] The album was met with critical acclaim, with the album's musical diversity being praised.[56] "Vete" was released as the lead single of the album on November 22, 2019.[57] The second single, "Ignorantes", with Panamanian singer Sech came out on February 14, 2020.[58][52] In March 2020, Bad Bunny released the music video for "Yo Perreo Sola", in which the artist performs in drag.[59] "Yo Perreo Sola" landed number one on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart, earning Bad Bunny his ninth No.1 on the chart in just over two years.[60]

On April 4, 2020, he released the song "En Casita" on SoundCloud, which expressed solidarity towards others in quarantine due to COVID-19 and featured vocals from his girlfriend, Gabriela Berlingeri.[61] On May 10, 2020, Bad Bunny released his first compilation Las que no iban a salir, without previous announcements.[62] The compilation's title translates to "The Ones that Were Not Going to Come Out" and it contains previously unreleased or unfinished songs.[63] The album features collaborations with Don Omar, Yandel, Zion & Lennox, Nicky Jam, and Jhay Cortez.[62] Discussing the album's surprise release, Bad Bunny explained, "There was no real meaning behind it. I just thought, 'Damn. What people need is entertainment'".[23] Bad Bunny had been filming his supporting role in Narcos: Mexico before filming was postponed due to the pandemic.[23] It premiered in November 2021.[64]

In July 2020, he appeared on the first digital cover of Playboy magazine as the first man to appear on the cover other than the magazine's founder, Hugh Hefner. The cover was shot by photographer Stillz in Miami, Florida, and the magazine includes a feature article entitled "Bad Bunny is Not Playing God."[65] He also received the ASCAP Latin award for Songwriter of the Year.[66] The following month, his song "Pero Ya No" appeared in an advertisement for politician Joe Biden's 2020 United States presidential election campaign.[67] On September 20, 2020, Bad Bunny performed a surprise, live (via his YouTube channel and Uforia), free concert from atop a flatbed truck that looked like a subway car going through the streets of New York and ended at Harlem Hospital.[68][69][70] In October 2020, Bad Bunny released the single "Dakiti", with Jhay Cortez, which topped the Billboard Global 200 and reached number five on the US Hot 100. The song is included on his third studio album, El Último Tour Del Mundo, which was released on November 27, 2020, and was described as a personal and ambitious record.[71][72] It became the first all-Spanish language album to reach number one on the Billboard 200.[72]

Bad Bunny and YHLQMDLG respectively became Spotify's most-streamed artist and album globally in 2020.[73] It marked the first time a non-English language music artist topped the year-end list,[74] with a The Guardian article considering him "the world's biggest pop star" for his streaming numbers.[75] The album received the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop or Urban Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.[76] On February 20, 2021, Bad Bunny performed "La Noche de Anoche" with Rosalía and "Te Deseo Lo Mejor" on Saturday Night Live, hosted by Regé-Jean Page, as well as appearing in the pre-recorded musical sketches "Loco" and "Sea Shanty".[77][78] On the US Billboard Hot 100, Bad Bunny's next single "Yonaguni" became his fourth top 10 entry and first with no accompanying acts.[79] Bad Bunny was cast in an upcoming David Leitch-directed film starring Brad Pitt.[80]

In July 2021, it was announced that Bad Bunny co-wrote and co-produced the fifth album of Puerto Rican Latin pop artist Tommy Torres titled El Playlist de Anoche.[81] Bad Bunny won the most awards at the 2021 Billboard Latin Music Awards with ten, including the category Artist of the Year.[82] In the following months, he was featured on Aventura's single "Volví",[83] and released "Lo Siento BB:/" with Tainy and Julieta Venegas.[84] In September 2021, he appeared on the Time 100, Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.[85] Bad Bunny's 2022 concert tour, El Último Tour del Mundo, has visited the US and Canada indoor arenas.[86] He won Best Urban Music Album and Best Rap/Hip Hop Song at the 22nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards.[87] El Último Tour Del Mundo won Best Música Urbana Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.[88] In December 2021, it was announced that Bad Bunny became Spotify's most-streamed artist of the year globally, for a second year in a row.[89]

On 24 December 2021, a short film and music video titled Te Deseo Lo Mejor was released in collaboration with the creators of The Simpsons.[90] The film was directed by David Silverman[91] and stars Humberto Vélez, Claudia Motta and Bad Bunny.[92]

2022–present: Un Verano Sin Ti and Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana

In January 2022, Bad Bunny was featured in Vogue Magazine for the second time modeling the current season's best bags.[93] In April 2022, Sony Pictures announced Bad Bunny as the lead for El Muerto, a film set in Sony's Spider-Man Universe. The film was originally set to be released on January 12, 2024,[94] prior to being removed from the release schedule.[95] On May 6, 2022, Bad Bunny released his fourth (fifth overall) studio album Un Verano Sin Ti which it became commercially successful as it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and stood there for thirteen non-consecutive weeks.[96][97]

Bad Bunny began his fourth concert tour World's Hottest Tour on August 5, 2022, set to visit fourteen countries of the American continent.[98] On October 4, 2022, the tour became the highest-grossing tour by a Latin artist in history, earning US$232.5 million at the time.[99] Bad Bunny received the most nominations (eight) for the 2022 American Music Awards, including his first for artist of the year.[100]

On May 19, 2023, Bad Bunny released his first solo single of the year titled "Where She Goes", in which he ventured into jersey club music. The music video had cameos from Frank Ocean, Lil Uzi Vert, Ronaldinho, and others.[101]

In an interview with Vanity Fair on September 12, 2023, Bad Bunny revealed that he is no longer involved in the upcoming El Muerto film after its schedule removal. He has also confirmed that he is working on a new album that is planned to come out sometime during the fall, Bad Bunny hinted at the possibility of the upcoming project's sound, confirming that he is “playing around and enjoying myself, letting go. I’m being inspired a lot by the music of the ’70s, —across genres, in both Spanish and English, but I’m not sure if this is going to shape my music, generally or just one song,”[102] After weeks of unconfirmed teasers and rumors, Bad Bunny revealed the album's title Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, which has 22 tracks and was released on October 13, 2023.[103] In May 2024, Bad Bunny will co-host the annual Met Gala in Manhattan.[104]

Artistry

Musical style and influences

Bad Bunny is considered to be primarily a Latin trap and reggaeton artist.[5][106][6][23] As described in a Rolling Stone article, Bad Bunny sings and raps with a "conversational tone", employing "a low, slurry tone, viscous melodies, and a rapper's cadence."[24] Throughout the years, Bad Bunny has listed his influences with a wide variety of artists from multiple genres such as Héctor Lavoe, Vico C, Romeo Santos, Juan Luis Guerra, Elvis Crespo, Ricky Martin, Juan Gabriel, Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, Ivy Queen, Tego Calderón, Wisin & Yandel, Calle 13, Víctor Manuelle, and Marc Anthony, amongst many others. He considers himself to be a "music fanatic" which is the reason why he's inspired by so many people.[1][6][3][107][108][109][110] During an episode of Behind the Music, he talked about Ricky Martin's legacy for Latin music and Latin artists, and how Martin changed the music landscape for future Latin artists.[108][111][112] In the music video for Neverita, Bad Bunny paid homage to the Suavemente music video by Puerto Rican artist Elvis Crespo, leaving a message in the end translated from Spanish as "In honor of the best video of all time". Elvis Crespo later felt honored by his tribute and ended up doing a merengue version of the song himself in which he performed at the 2022 Latin Billboard Music Awards.[113][109][114]

Although primarily considered to be a Latin trap and reggaeton artist, his music also incorporates various other elements from other genres such as pop, hip-hop, rock, electronic, reggae, dancehall, Latin, soul, and R&B.[5][106][6][23][3] Some publications have credited him for bringing Latin trap into the mainstream in the English-language music market.[115][116][3]

According to Timothy Monger of AllMusic, his lyrics "range from humor and pathos to heartbreak and anger (sometimes in the same song)."[5] According to Paper, other themes explored in Bad Bunny's music include "self-love, inclusivity, and LGBTQ acceptance".[117]

Public image

Vanessa Rosales of CNN has opined that "in pink, florals and short shorts, Bad Bunny champions a new masculinity".[118]

He has appeared at award shows with manicured, polished, and long fingernails.[6][119] Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian opined in 2020 that Bunny's style influenced fellow Latin artists, who "often now share his highly colorful mashup of streetwear and tailoring."[75]

Personal life

Relationships

In 2017, while eating at a restaurant with his family after performing at a Zion and Lennox concert, Bad Bunny met jewelry designer Gabriela Berlingeri.[23][120] They soon began collaborating professionally before being public about their relationship. This was seen when Berlingeri provided the reference vocals for Jennifer Lopez who featured on Bad Bunny's track ‘Te Guste’. The two were spotted in public for the first time in 2020 at a Dallas Mavericks versus Miami Heat game in Miami. Bad Bunny would declare in an interview with Entertainment Tonight less than a month later that he was “in love.”[121] The two posted pictures with each other on social media for the first time on March 7, 2020, with a post on Bad Bunny's Instagram. The two would continue to collaborate professionally as well. Berlingeri would feature on tracks like 2020's “En Casita” and 2022's “El Apagon,” and she also would be the photographer for his May 2020 Rolling Stone cover, making her the first-ever Latina to shoot the cover for the magazine.[122][19] The two however would go their separate ways in late 2022.[123]

Rumors of Bad Bunny being with model and media star Kendall Jenner first began to circulate in February 2023, after TMZ spotted the pair leaving a restaurant together.[124] Photos and videos of the two together on dates spread throughout the internet for months, with their first official public outing being at a Lakers-Warriors NBA playoff game on May 12, 2023.[125] In September 2023, the two featured together in a shoot for Gucci's Valigeria campaign, one that “explores the intimacy of traveling together.”[126]

Sexuality

In July 2018, Bad Bunny had criticized a nail salon in Asturias, Spain, for refusing to give him service since he was a man; the post angered many fans, leading them to leave homophobic comments and question Bad Bunny's sexuality. Bad Bunny responded to the hateful comments by offering to impregnate the wives of his critics. The post was deleted and Bad Bunny later ended up apologizing and deleting his own Twitter account.[127][110]

In support of LGBT rights, Bad Bunny criticized a tweet by reggaeton artist Don Omar considered to be homophobic in January 2019.[128] During a performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in February 2020, he called attention to the murder of transgender woman Alexa Negrón Luciano in Puerto Rico by wearing a shirt with the words "They Killed Alexa. Not a Man in a Skirt", referencing news reports that had misgendered the victim.[129][23] Ricky Martin has stated that Bad Bunny "has become an icon for the Latin queer community" due to his support of gay and transgender Latinos as well as his embrace of drag culture.[23] Bad Bunny was recognized for his allyship in 2023 by queer advocacy organization GLAAD when Ricky Martin presented him with the Vanguard Award for allyship at the 34th GLAAD Media Awards.[130]

Bad Bunny has also expressed publicly that he views his own sexuality as fluid. In a 2020 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he stated “At the end of the day, I don’t know if in 20 years I will like a man. One never knows in life. But at the moment I am heterosexual and I like women.”[131] This fluidity was on display at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, when he kissed a male dancer during his performance of “Tití Me Preguntó.”[132]

Activism

Bad Bunny criticized the lack of humanitarian aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island of Puerto Rico.[133] He established the Good Bunny Foundation, which distributes toys to children living in poverty in Puerto Rico.[23]

In 2019, he was nominated for Telemundo's inaugural Premios Tu Música Urbano, in the category of "Humanitarian Award of the Year."[134]

On July 22, 2019, Bad Bunny joined artists such as Residente, Ricky Martin, and more than half a million Puerto Ricans in taking the streets and shutting down the Expreso Las Américas, a major highway also known as the Autopista Luis A. Ferré, in protests against government corruption and demanding Ricardo Rosselló's resignation from the office of Governor of Puerto Rico.[135] In May 2020, he had not taken a position regarding the Puerto Rican statehood movement and had stated that he would prefer to answer at a later time with more clarification.[23] He later concluded his answer in January 2021 stating that he would never "want to see Puerto Rico become a State". It was widely understood that he was not necessarily advocating for Puerto Rican independence, only that he opposed the territory ever becoming the 51st state.[136]

Legal issues

In March 2023, a woman who had been in a relationship with Bad Bunny from 2011 to 2016 filed a US$40 million lawsuit against the rapper and his manager for unauthorized usage of a recording of her voice. According to the lawsuit, a 2015 recording of the woman saying "Bad Bunny, baby" was used without her permission in the songs "Pa Ti" and "Dos Mil 16".[137]

Professional wrestling career

Bad Bunny
Professional wrestling career
Billed height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Billed weight165 lb (75 kg)
Billed fromVega Baja, Puerto Rico
Trained byWWE Performance Center
Drew Gulak
Adam Pearce
Brian Kendrick
DebutApril 10, 2021

A self-professed lifelong fan of professional wrestling, Bad Bunny began making appearances in the American promotion WWE in 2021. During WWE's annual Royal Rumble event held on January 31, 2021,[138] Bad Bunny performed his song "Booker T" live, which also had an appearance by the former wrestler of the same name.[139] He then began appearing on WWE's weekly television show, Monday Night Raw.[140]

Wrestler Damian Priest, a fellow Puerto Rican, allied with Bad Bunny and helped him win the WWE 24/7 Championship from Akira Tozawa on the February 15 episode of Raw.[141] On the March 15 episode, he relinquished the 24/7 Championship to R-Truth in exchange for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin memorabilia, ending his reign at 28 days.[142][143] At WrestleMania 37, Bad Bunny teamed with Damian Priest in a tag team match to defeat The Miz and John Morrison in his in-ring wrestling debut.[144]

At the 2022 Royal Rumble on January 29, Bad Bunny returned to WWE, competing in the men's Royal Rumble match. He eliminated Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler and lasted until the final five, when he was eliminated by the eventual winner, Brock Lesnar.[145] On January 23, 2023, it was announced that Bad Bunny would be a playable wrestler in the WWE 2K23 video game as a pre-order bonus.[146]

On March 8, 2023, it was announced that Bad Bunny would serve as the host for WWE's upcoming event, Backlash, taking place in his native Puerto Rico.[147] On April 1, 2023, Bad Bunny joined the Spanish announce team to commentate during the match between Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio on Night 1 of WrestleMania 39. Bunny would intervene during the match, preventing Dominik from attacking Rey with a chain.[148] Two nights later on Raw, Bunny—who was seated front row as a fan—was attacked and chokeslammed through the announcers table by former partner Damian Priest, who was now a teammate of Dominik Mysterio in The Judgment Day.[149] On the April 24 episode, Bunny returned and attacked Priest with a kendo stick, subsequently announcing that instead of hosting Backlash, he would be wrestling Priest in a San Juan Street Fight at the event.[150] On the May 5 episode of SmackDown, Bunny helped the Latino World Order (LWO) save Rey Mysterio from an attack from The Judgment Day, leading to Mysterio giving Bunny an LWO t-shirt, signifying his addition to the group.[151][152] At Backlash on May 6, Bunny defeated Damian Priest in a San Juan Street Fight, to the admiration of his home fans.[153]

Championships and accomplishments

Awards

Throughout his career Bad Bunny has received nine nominations at the Grammy Awards, winning three times for Best Latin Pop or Urban Album with YHLQMDLG (2021), Best Música Urbana Album for El Último Tour Del Mundo (2022) and Un Verano Sin Ti (2023), and he earned eleven Latin Grammy Awards out of twenty-seven nominations. ASCAP Latin Awards recognized him as the Songwriter of the Year in 2020. Within the MTV award shows, Bad Bunny became the first non-English language artist to win the MTV Video Music Award for Artist of the Year in 2022.[156]

Discography

Solo studio albums

Collaborative studio albums

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2021 F9 Lookout [157][158]
2021 Te Deseo Lo Mejor Himself Animated short film based on The Simpsons, not credited [159][160]
2022 Bullet Train The Wolf Credited as his birth name [161][162][163]
2023 Cassandro Felipe [164][165][166]
Television
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2018 Sugar Himself Episode: "Bad Bunny pays it back to a deaf fan who loves to dance" [167]
2021 Royal Rumble WWE pay-per-view event
Performed his song "Booker T"
[168][139]
WWE Raw Several guest appearances[142] [169]
Saturday Night Live Season 46, Episode 13
Performed "La Noche de Anoche" with Rosalía and "Te Deseo Lo Mejor"
[170]
Elimination Chamber WWE pay-per-view event
Appeared in a brief backstage segment with wrestlers The Miz and Damian Priest
[171]
WrestleMania 37 WWE's flagship pay-per-view event
Teamed with Damian Priest in a tag team match to defeat The Miz and John Morrison
[172]
Narcos: Mexico Everardo Arturo "Kitty" Paez[173] Recurring [174]
2022 Royal Rumble Himself WWE pay-per-view event
Competed in the Men's Royal Rumble match
[175]
2023 WWE SmackDown Guest appearance [152]
2023 Backlash WWE pay-per-view event
Host of the event
Defeated Damian Priest in a San Juan Street Fight
[176]
Video games
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2023 WWE 2K23 Himself Included as a pre-order bonus [177]

Tours

Notes

  1. ^ In this Spanish name, the first or paternal surname is Martínez and the second or maternal family name is Ocasio.

References

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