Bad Bunny helps bring more fluidity to reggaeton

Photo courtesy of Kevin9625Ja, via Wikimedia Commons

By Arlene Sanchez

 Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, and rapper Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, otherwise known as Bad Bunny specializes in reggaeton and Latin hip-hop. He has gained popularity in his career for helping to expand these genres to a broader and more international audience.

Bad Bunny took to SoundCloud in 2016, rapping and singing in Spanish only. His song “Diles” sealed his fate in the Latin music industry and skyrocketed him to stardom. The record label Hear This Music signed him that same year.

Bad Bunny’s early music was traditionally masculine, as is much of the reggaeton genre.  He quickly transformed, however, to embrace femininity in both his lyrics and his personal style. In a genre which is often filled with machismo, Bad Bunny dominates the stage in hoop earrings, short shorts and manicured nails.

His interviews often challenge gender norms and the unrealistic expectations of women’s bodies, something that is definitely not the norm for male rappers. 

In his music video for “Yo Perreo Sola,” he wears three full sets of female clothing and raps about the significance of anti-harassment. This was just one song from his album “YHLQMDLG,” which means “Yo hago lo que me de la gana” (I do whatever I want). This album truly breaks the barrier of gender norms in the Latinx community. 

Bad Bunny advocates for a more fluid vision of gender, something less fragile than the masculinity seen in the traditional machismo of his Latinx community.

The Latinx culture, from which reggaeton comes, is very rooted in traditional Catholic values that are not often open to homosexuality and gender fluidity. That is why Bad Bunny is such an important musician in this culture and this genre. He presents in a way that associates with the LGBTQ community, but he identifies as straight. Bad Bunny speaks out against sexism and homophobia and is not afraid to sing about his feelings.

In one of his more popular songs, “Amorfada,” he sings of heartbreak. “Toas’ las barra’ y los trago’ han sido testigo del dolor que me causaste y to’ lo que hiciste conmigo. Un infeliz en el amor que aún no te supera” (All the bars and drinks have been witness of the pain you caused me and all you did to me. A wretch in this love thing who still isn’t over you).