Un Verano Con Ti: Bad Bunny’s worldwide influence


Amanda Riha

Illustration by

Aidan Sheedy, Copy Editor

I don’t follow celebrities or pop culture very much. I have no idea what Kanye West tweeted or how Trisha Paytas’ pregnancy is going. However, there’s one guy that got me. Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, better known as Bad Bunny, has sucked me into his musical world of international superstardom.

Bad Bunny was bagging groceries at an Econo supermarket just 7 years ago, now he is at the peak of an illustrious career. He was Spotify’s most streamed artist in 2021 and is coming off the release of his fifth studio album “Un Verano Sin Ti,” which spent an egregious 17 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200, he is selling out the biggest venues in the world, and doing it with ease.

He has sold out his first seven concerts of his “World’s Hottest Tour” that included iconic venues like Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Soldier Field. The show at Yankee Stadium made waves across the internet after the field was swarmed by fans, amassing 100,000 people, according to Vulture.

The Puerto Rican reggatón artist also played DJ at the “party of the year” in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in early August with a record-breaking 18,700 people in attendance according to Vox. That number may not sound that impressive, but the scenes outside of the Coliseo de Puerto Rico were identical, if not bigger, to a New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Massive block parties and celebrations surfaced all over Puerto Rico. 

The 28-year-old demonstrates time and time again that he is making music for his fellow Puerto Ricans and no one else.

“I make songs as if only Puerto Ricans were going to listen to them,” he said in the June cover story of GQ Magazine. “I still think I’m there making music, and it’s for Puerto Ricans. I forget the entire world listens to me.”

While he is shattering records in the music industry left and right, Bad Bunny remains grounded and humble. During that show in San Juan, he made sure that there was time to talk about some serious topics.

Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and at the same time, Vox reported that the island is facing a massive uptick in gentrification from white Americans receiving significant tax breaks. Many Puerto Ricans are seeing their beaches invaded, their water supply polluted and their electricity becoming more and more unstable. As a result, Vox reported that blackouts have multiplied sevenfold, which was a subject touched on by Bad Bunny with his performance of “El Apagón,” which means “blackout.”

What had me wrapped into “Un Verano Sin Ti” in particular, was the diversity in his music. He didn’t only record reggatón, but also included tracks of mambo, bomba, bachata, merengue and Dominican dembow.

Probably the most recognizable track on the album, “Tití Me Preguntó”, which never fails to make me move my hips and smile. It’s a wholesome song about awkward situations involving family members asking you about your significant other or romantic relationships.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Después de la Playa,” which begins as a signature Bad Bunny beat with a slow first verse and a quiet tropical sound in the back. But after one minute in, the song transitions into a traditional merengue/mambo tune; complete with trumpets, saxophones and tamboras.

It’s hard to come by now, but Bad Bunny is making music for everyone, and I mean everyone. A friend told me that every living generation of their extended family is listening to a different track from the album, each based on sounds from their childhoods in Puerto Rico. It’s truly a musical feat to cater to all audiences and do it successfully.

But Bad Bunny doesn’t just transcend musical sanctions, he annihilates social ones too. He is prideful of his Puerto Rican heritage, is politically outspoken and defies traditional sexuality and gender-conforming normatives.

During his performance for the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, in which he became the first Latin artist to win the coveted “Artist of the Year” award, Bad Bunny performed the aforementioned hit “Tití Me Preguntó.” During a break in the song, he had a group of dancers around him and proceeded to kiss one female dancer and one male dancer.

The clip of him kissing a male backup dancer went viral with insensitive claims of social media users claiming he’s gay or “at least bi” (Out). Others went to farther lengths of saying that he was “queerbaiting,” but to me this was his effort to break down and change what it means to be machismo, an expectation of manliness in traditional Latino households.

Bad Bunny has yet to directly address these claims on social media, but he has said numerous times over the years that his sexuality is fluid. Nonetheless, this surge of conversation about his sexuality has sparked conversation. Having a fluid sexuality allows him to not have to label himself for the convenience of other people, an important step in normalizing dynamic sexualities in society.

Bad Bunny is the biggest name in music right now and rightfully so. With the latest sold-out shows and the success of “Un Verano Sin Ti,” Celebrity Net Worth reported that he is now worth over $18 million. Yet, Bad Bunny remains grounded and continues to not sell out.

“He was the same when I met him as he is today,” his manager, Noah Assad told GQ. “He’s definitely an introvert in many ways. Most people would think he’s the other way around—but very humble to this day.”

Of course, the Latin music star is always making an effort to stay true to himself.

“Some things change because it’s impossible for them not to when you get a lot of success and a bunch of money you didn’t have before,” he said. “But my inner self, my person is intact.”

His music is also intact. El Conejo Malo has certainly seen his music evolve, but he does it on his own terms, especially when the Latino voice lacks in the American music industry.

In an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Bad Bunny was asked if he would change for greater success in the United States. Without haste he replied with, “Why would I have to change? Nobody asks a gringo artist to change.”

Even if you are not Puerto Rican, there is something so empowering about Bad Bunny that is almost mythical. Any connection in the world that you can make to listen to his music and understand his platform, it’s the perfect reason to start right now.