Bad Bunny revisits Latin trap in his new album

Bad Bunny released “nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana,” translating to “nobody knows what will happen tomorrow,” on Oct. 13. The album illustrates his gratitude and disillusion for fame. // Photo courtesy of Rimas

Cheeky, playful, yet deeply reflective, Puerto Rican musician Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, professionally known as Bad Bunny, broke away from his streak of reggaetón albums with the release of his latest trap album, “nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana” on Oct. 13, 2023. Benito began his rise to fame as a trap artist with hit singles like “Soy Peor” (2016), “Tu No Vive Asi” with Arcángel (2016) and trap/reggaetón album “X 100PRE” (2018). He began to accumulate even more worldwide hits and notoriety for his unique artistic perspective, and from 2020 to 2022, Benito has been Spotify’s number one streamed artist worldwide.

In this new release, Benito expresses a love-hate relationship with his fame. The first track, “NADIE SABE,” lays it on thick. In an interview, Christian Cardona, second-year EE, said this song is one of his favorites. “[I was] very surprised right off the bat, with the six minute intro song… It was essentially just him venting, but some of the best Bad Bunny songs are just him talking about life,” Cardona said.

“NADIE SABE” is full of references to Benito’s previous works and pop culture events. For example, the lyric “Ya no estoy en mi peak / ahora estoy en mi prime” (“I am no longer in my peak / now I am in my prime”), is a play on a past lyric from his hit song “BOOKER T,” which has the refrain: “Estoy en mi peak” (“I am in my peak”).

This lyric is representative that Bad Bunny has reached record levels of worldwide popularity and is already in his highest point of fame (his “peak”), but now he is in his best moment (his “prime”),

where he is expressing more authenticity. In a later lyric, he says, “Este disco no es pa’ ser tocado, ni un billón de vista’ / Es pa’ que mis fans reales estén contento’/ Aunque yo por dentro no me sienta al 100% / Es pa’ que me cancelen y me odien” (This album does not exist to be played, not even a billion views / It is so my real fans are happy / Even though inside I do not feel 100% / It is so they cancel me and hate me). Overall, many lyrics from the album harken to a feeling of nostalgia expressed by Benito, which ties in well with his return to trap.

“He made it clear that he hated the overpopularization and the criticism, but he does love his fans,”Cardonasaid.

Another reference Bad Bunny makes in “NADIE SABE” is a response to a viral video from December 2022 of him throwing a fan’s phone into the water when she tries to take a selfie with him. In the song, he says, “Tú no ere’ mi fan real, por eso te tiré el celular” (“You’re not my real fan, that’s why I threw your phone”).

After he lays down his truths in “NADIE SABE,” Bad Bunny goes into more lighthearted songs that celebrate classic topics of trap music. Sampling the orchestral “Hier Encore” by Charles Aznavour, “MONACO” conveys a theme of pure opulence. The music video was filmed in Monte Carlo, Monaco, during the May 2023 Formula 1 Grand Prix, and it is full of fast cars, beautiful women, five-star food, casinos and designer clothes, truly embodying the subject of the song.

Another outstanding part of the album is the selection of features. Arcángel (featured in “ACHO PR”) and Eladio Carrión (featured in “THUNDER Y LIGHTNING”) are typical features for a trap album, because they are trap artists,” Cardona said. In the song “FINA,” Benito also features rising trap artist Young Miko, who just recently started making music in 2021 and won Billboard’s 2023 Latin Rookie of the Year award.

As an overall body of work, the album flows together well. “His feature with Mora [‘HIBIKI’] … and ‘GRACIAS POR NADA’ were more melodic songs that break up the trap sound, with that kind of smoother beat to it but still fitting with the trap album,” Cardona added.

Bad Bunny also seemed to be having a lot of fun throughout this project. There are several goofier lines he adds that break up the seriousness and the “flexing.” For example, in “BATICANO,” he says, “Las moña’ violeta / como

Tinky Winky / Una nalgá’ y la dejo / como Po ey / le doy por donde / hace pipí y por / donde hace popó” (/ “The purple buns / like Tinky Winky / A buttcheek and I / leave it like Po, hey / I give it to her where she / pees and where / she poops”). After all, Bad Bunny’s cavalier attitude is one of the many aspects that makes his work so unique.

The second to last song, “ACHO PR,” featuring Árcangel, Ñengo Flow and De La Ghetto could be described as an anthem. “The end song I felt brought it home for me because you got a taste of what was in the intro… That is what I love the album for — the beginning and the end,” said Cardona, in reference to “ACHO PR.”

The last song, “UN PREVIEW,” however, follows a different style from the rest of the album. Its separate release as a single, different style and placement at the end of the album has caused fans to speculate there will be another album adjoining this one.

In “nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana,” Bad Bunny is fed up with criticism and opens up to his fans about his personal experiences and opinions. The album is striking as a whole, and it is clear that it is a passion project above all else. It received mixed reviews, but that was exactly the intention of the release. This album will join Benito’s other hallmarks of creative genius as fans await his next work.