Rolling Stone

BAD BUNNY’S TRIUMPHANT YEAR

- E.B.

WHEN BAD BUNNY released his second solo album, YHLQMDLG, toward the beginning of 2020, he shed many of the crossover pop sounds of his starmaking 2018 debut. Where X 100pre had featured the likes of Drake and Diplo, his follow-up was closer to the undergroun­d reggaeton of Puerto Rico in the Nineties. As Suzy Exposito wrote in her four-anda-half-star Rolling Stone review, this time the Puerto Rican star — born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio — was “asking the world to cross over to him.”

Which is to say, 2020’s Latin-music charts takeover looks a lot different from that of 2017, when “Despacito” sent the U.S. into a frenzy. Speaking to RS of the “wholesome reggaetonc­ito” that took hold in the U.S. circa “Despacito,” Bad Bunny noted: “That’s fine, I am not criticizin­g that style of song. But street reggaeton, O.G. reggaeton, perreo . . . it deserves a space in the pop world.”

YHLQMDLG pulled in 1.5 billion streams in 2020 and took third place on Rolling Stone’s list of the Best Albums of 2020. In November, his alt-rocktinged LP, El Último Tour Del Mundo,

became the first all-Spanish-language album to hit Number One on the RS 200, and finally took him to Number One on the Artists 500. Now, Bad Bunny finishes 2020 at Number 13 on our year-end Artists 500 chart. From January 3rd through December 31st, 2020, he pulled in close to 3 billion on-demand audio streams in the U.S., outpacing his 2019 sum by more than a billion. As Ricky Martin told RS, “Benito has reconfirme­d the fact that music has no barriers.”

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